You’re engaged! Congratulations! Now it’s on to the fun part: actually planning your wedding. Although there are many details to arrange, planning for your big day doesn’t need to increase your blood pressure. Whether you’ve dreamed about it your entire life, or you’ve never even given your wedding a second thought, we can help you out. So smile, relax, and take a deep breath with your new fiance, because if you stay organized, you can enjoy all that goes into the planning. Here are the first things you should do to kick-start the process:
1. Settle on a vision: First and foremost, you and your fiance need to be on the same page concerning what you want your day to look like. If your spouse is longing for a romantic winter wedding, but you’ve always envisioned saying your vows in the sand, then you’re clearly both reading completely different books. That’s okay though; reaching a happy medium and agreeing on a vision will give you great practice in compromising that will surely aid your marriage.
2. Create a wedding planning scrapbook and Pinterest page: You’ll likely get inspiration from both online and print sources, so having your ideas arranged into both a binder and online page will keep things organized. Seeing all the possibilities for your wedding in one spot will also make it (slightly) easier to weigh your options, and will simplify decision making.
3. Figure out your budget: Traditionally, the bride’s family pays for most of the components involved in actual wedding day, and the groom’s family pays for the rehearsal dinner. However, times are changing; couples are even renting drone cameras to take pictures at their weddings now. Seriously. Discuss who will pay for what, figure out how much you and your fiance are willing to contribute, and go from there.
4. Decide whom you’d like to invite: By focusing on the guest list, you’ll have an easier time deciding on your venue since the number of guests each one is able to accommodate may vary. You and your fiance should make a list, and possibly give your parents some input as well. Keep in mind that a great way to have a really nice wedding is to limit your guest list. Take a 150 person wedding and a 100 person wedding with the same total budget; the smaller wedding will be the nicer of the two because the cost will be divided amongst fewer people. Think about it: will you really miss having your fifth grade soccer coach at your wedding? Probably not. These great tips from The Knot will help you decide who gets an invite and who gets the boot.
5. Set a rough date: Deciding, approximately, when you’d like to get married will enable you to book your ceremony and reception sites, both of which need to be done far in advance. However, don’t get your heart set on one specific day; deciding on a month rather than one singular date allows you some flexibility, which makes it more likely that your chosen venues will be able to accommodate you.
6. Book your ceremony and reception site: It’s wise to do this about a year ahead of time to ensure you get what you want. When you reserve your venues, remember to check with them to see what services or elements they each contribute to your wedding; some locations provide on-site caterers, florists, and even wedding planners who will be able to handle just about every detail for you. Others will not even supply you with tables and chairs. Either end of the spectrum can work, just be sure you know exactly what you’re investing in before you write the check.
Take our advice, stay organized, and plan ahead; you’ll be well on your way to having the wedding of your dreams!