After your man has popped the big question, you’ll have another question to ask yourself…”Where do I start?!” There is a lot of work involved in planning a wedding! Even if you want a small and simple wedding. You might not know where to begin. So here I am to help! I’ve compiled a list of 10 things you should put on your “to do” list, soon after that ring is placed on your finger.
1) Pick a Style
You might not have a theme, but every wedding has a style. Before going to Pinterest for wedding ideas, first close your eyes and imagine what your wedding day might look and feel like. Ask yourself these questions: In what season is your wedding? Is your wedding indoors or outdoors? What colors do you see? What type of ceremony? Religious, formal, casual, on the beach, in the mountains? What is your dress like? Is it a form fitted beaded dress, or a flowing bohemian gown? Do you imagine a small, average, or large wedding with all your friends & family? Also, jot down any descriptive words that come to mind as you imagine what your wedding might look and feel like. Use those words to help you find your wedding style. Your style might evolve as you go through your planning process, but it’s good to start with a general idea of what you want it to be like.
2) Your Wedding Date
The first question everyone is going to ask you after you get engaged is, “When’s the big day?” So you might want to plan a date soon, but don’t set the date in stone quite yet. Start with what season you want to wed during. The season might depend on the style of wedding you want. If you want an outdoor wedding, then winter obviously isn’t the best idea…unless you like being cold, or you live in Hawaii. Try to remember important holidays, birthdays, or important events when settling on a date. My brother got married on my birthday, and I’ve never forgiven him…just kidding…I just tease him about it. But others might not be so happy about it. Also, check with your “must have” wedding vendors to see if they’re available on the day you’re planning to have your wedding. If you have a vendor you can’t imagine your wedding without, you might be able to adjust your wedding day to accommodate them.
3) Wedding Venue
One of the very first things to book, is the venue where you want to get married. You may need to be a little flexible on your wedding date if they’re already booked. Unless you’re planning far enough in advance. This also applies if you have a different venue for your reception and luncheon. And remember to find a venue that matches the style of the wedding you’re planning.
A big thing to plan early on, is your budget. Figure out how much you can spend, and where that money is coming from. You can’t be shy talking about what everyone is expected to pay. Whether you & your fiance are paying for it all, or if your parents, his parents, uncle Bob, or Grandma & Grandpa are paying for the wedding. Be open and discuss the wedding expenses with everyone involved. When you know what your budget is, know where you want to splurge and where you want to save money. For example, you might want to spend more money on some of your “must have” vendors, and save money by cutting back somewhere else.
5) Hire Your “Must Have” Vendors
You might have a favorite florist, photographer, location, etc. Certain vendors that you love, that you can’t imagine your wedding without, and that you want to hire for your wedding no matter what. So be sure to book them early, so you don’t miss out on hiring them for you wedding day.
6) Book Your Photographer
Book your photographer early on to make sure they’re available on your wedding day. If you’re getting married in the spring or summer, book asap! That’s the busy season for us photographers. Also book with them early in your planning process so they can schedule, take, and deliver or print your engagement session photos in time for your invitations. Be sure to ask them what their turnaround time is for your engagement photos, and be clear with your photographer on what day you need your engagement photos done by.
If you want people to come to your wedding (which I’m pretty sure you do) then you DO NOT want to be late when ordering your invitations! Proper etiquette is to send invitations six to eight weeks in advance. So be sure to order them in time to get them printed, assembled, addressed and mailed to your guests. If you’re having a destination wedding, they need to be sent out 3 months in advance, so your guests have plenty of time to make arrangements, clear their schedules, and travel to attend your wedding. Remember, your invitations are your guests’ first glimpse into what your wedding will be like, so be sure you get them designed in the style or theme of your wedding. A great graphic designer will work with you to design the perfect invitation suite for your wedding.
8) Wedding Dress
Before you go out to shop for your wedding gown, look online and find out what style of dress you like and what will fit the style of your wedding. Simply Google “different wedding dress styles”. There’s a-line, ballgown, sheath, mermaid, and so much more. Becoming familiar with the terminology will help the employees at the bridal shop find what you’re looking for. You might also consider trying on something you wouldn’t normally pick, you never know till you try it on, it might look great! Be aware, you might visit several shops before you find THE wedding dress. So be patient. And when you do, there may be alterations that need to be made which could take weeks. And while we’re at it…if your groom is getting a new suit, alterations take time for him. So be sure to get that started early on too.
9) Choose Your Wedding Party
Your wedding party will need to find dresses & suits and possibly get alterations too. So give them plenty of time to do so. Plus the sooner you ask them to be your bridesmaids, the sooner they can help you with all this wedding planning you have to do!
10) Write It All Down
There’s A LOT to remember and keep straight when planning a wedding! So write it all down as you go along, instead of leaving all your ideas and plans floating around in your head. You’ll want to have all your information in one spot and you’ll need to refer to it often. So hey…maybe keep a binder like Monica from Friends. Juuust kidding! Maybe don’t be THAT obsessive. Haha! And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, (who wouldn’t!) go watch Friends on Netflix…best show ever! Anyway…I hope these tips help you out if you’re newly engaged, or soon to be engaged. Best of luck to you!