Congratulations on your engagement! Take a moment (or two) to pop some bubbly and CELEBRATE! Tell your friends and family, throw a party, and enjoy the moment; just don’t stress about planning right away.
Once you are ready to dip your toe into the planning phase of holy matrimony, here are the first 10 things to do:
1. Sit down with your partner and figure out your realistic target wedding budget. Decide where you really want to spend your money. Maybe the photographer and venue are the most important to the two of you; maybe it’s the food and flowers that win out - all of that is up to you.
2. Choose a wedding date. Have a couple optional dates in your back pocket, just in case your dream venue is booked on your first choice date.
3. Start searching for your dream venue. Do all the research and schedule all the tours and reserve your date!
4. Book your wedding planner! Don’t be afraid to be picky on this one - it’s so important to choose a planner who *gets* you. They need to grasp your style, your budget, and the vibe you want for your most important party ever.
5. Guest lodging reservations are next on the to-do list. Have your planner reach out to three or four hotels to figure out availability and gather the rate and contract. It’s always a good idea to have at least three different hotels as options for your guests - they will really appreciate it.
6. What food do you and your partner love? What do you want to offer your guests? Research the catering possibilities, schedule some tastings, and book your favorite. Don’t be afraid of nontraditional options like food trucks or food stations. Consider serving a late night snack towards the end of the night.
7. Begin your wedding photographer search. Instagram is the best platform for doing this. Find and follow photographers who have shot at your venue to figure out what style you like and book them! (That incredible photographer will book up quickly!) Be sure to schedule your engagement shoot to ensure your save-the-dates are sent out on time.
8. Have the first of many guest list chats with your partner. Ask parents to start on their lists as well and finalize your guest list before sending out your save-the-dates.
9. Create your wedding website (especially if you want to include it on your save-the-dates). It doesn’t have to be elaborate; just make sure to include the necessary logistical details of your day.
10. Choose your wedding party! Or don’t! If you decide to have a wedding party, select your nearest and dearest who are reliable, trustworthy, and thoughtful (don’t forget your siblings!). And don’t be afraid to break “the rules”. If the number of attendants on each side aren’t even, or there are women standing up for the groom or men standing up for the bride, or if there’s no “Maid of Honor” or “Best Man” in your wedding party, don’t sweat it! Don’t feel bound to traditions that don’t reflect you as a couple or your support system.
A final and *very important* point to keep in mind throughout this process: always remember that every vendor is an artist in their own craft. Choose vendors that fall within budget, yes, but, more importantly, choose vendors whose artistry will resonate your love
story. Happy planning!