Congratulations! You’re engaged! Now what? Where do you start? With all of the wedding planning resources out there, you can start to feel overwhelmed fast. Not to worry, we are sharing a few of the first things to do once you get engaged.
Determine your Budget
Who is paying for what? This is the most important step. Do not go to number 2 without having this hard talk first. I know this is not the most glamorous part of wedding planning, but having a clear understanding of budget as you move forward will make all your planning decisions much easier. Don’t forget to consider all of the service charges, taxes, and tips into your budget.
Determine your Guest Count
Discuss a preliminary guest list with both sides of the family. On average, each guest will cost you $250-$500+, depending on the level of detail of your wedding. Keep this in mind as you start thinking about those people you don’t care to invite, but feel like you have to… You should always be prepared to have them show up.
200 guests x $250 = $50,000 budget* or 150 guests x $500 – $75,000*
* This does not consider your honeymoon, rehearsal dinner, brunch, or wedding planner
Select your Venues
Take your estimated guest count and start researching ceremony and reception venues that will hold your desired guest count. There are so many venues to choose from, so start with your desired look. One of the first questions I ask my clients is, “what do you envision when you think of your wedding day”? Are you thinking indoor, or outdoor? Church or no church? Downtown or suburbs? Ballroom or Industrial Loft? Once you have an idea of the look you want, you can start inquiring for availability. For a more traditional wedding, check out our post on Tips for the Traditional Bride.
As you start to look at venues, consider what all is included with each venue. Some places have packages that include decor items such as upgraded chairs, floor-length linens, and chargers for your table settings. Other places, this will be an added cost. Also, consider how much decor is needed to achieve the look you want. If you are going for rustic elegance – a well manicured barn would be ideal. Destination Bride? Check out our post on the Best Destination Wedding Locations.
Finally, based on availability of both venues and your desired season, you can pick your wedding date!!
Try On Wedding Dresses
Depending on the length of your engagement, you may think you have a lot of time to find a wedding dress. However, you should actually purchase the dress nine to 12 months before your wedding so you have about six months to spare for fittings and alterations. Unless you buy a ready-to-wear dress or a sample gown, most wedding dresses are custom-made and take 4-6 months to come in. Some more custom options may take longer than 6 months to come in. Once your dress arrives, it will need to be altered, usually several times. To avoid the stress of rushed alterations, we recommend you start looking for your dress as soon as you set the date.
Select your Photographer
And any other important vendors. Why? Because they book up fast! And once they are booked, they are booked. So as soon as you have the date, secure your favorite photographer and other vendors.
We hope you find these 5 tips helpful. Getting engaged is such an exciting moment in your life and it is one that is meant to be treasured. The last thing you need is to do is stress about the wedding plans, where to start, what to do and who to call. Having a wedding planner to guide you through all of these steps and more will prove to be one of the best investments you make!