Getting engaged is so exciting! The ring, the proposal, the start of your beautiful new life together. Along with all the excitement comes the questions from well-meaning friends and family. Have you set a date? Where are you getting married? Have you chosen your colors? The list goes on and on. For many couples it is very easy to become overwhelmed almost immediately, there are so many decisions to be made and everything feels urgent.
In our opinion there are five things that we think should be done as soon as you are engaged. If you can do these five tasks you will feel more organized and you will have a much easier time with future decisions.
Draft a Guest List
This is the #1 most important thing to do before anything else. Your guest count will affect every decision you make. It will guide how big of a venue you need and that number will affect your costs when it comes to catering, beverages, favors, etc. We HIGHLY recommend having a pretty firm guest list from the beginning. Nothing causes more stress than a constantly changing guest count. If you think you will invite 150 people and book your venue but then find out that with your parent’s additions it is closer to 250 that can throw a huge wrench in your plans. So, figure out your guest list before you book anything and determine if it lines up with how much money you have in your budget.
Set Your Budget
Sit down with everyone who is planning to contribute to the wedding and figure out your budget. It can be an uncomfortable conversation, but once it is over you will have all the financial information to start planning. It is best to know exactly how much money you are working with from the beginning, that way there is no awkward conversation to be had later when invoices are due.
Meet With a Planner
Many couples assume that they either do not need a planner or that a planner does not fit into their budget. You will be pleasantly surprised to know that both assumptions are usually wrong! There are so many planners who work with a huge variety of budgets and who have a variety of planning packages. Whether you want someone to plan the event from start to finish or just show up and run your wedding day, a consultation with a planner will be very valuable in figuring out what your needs are.
A consultation is usually free of charge, and you should meet with planners until you find one who you feel truly comfortable with. They are a partner in planning your day, so make sure they are a good fit.
Set a Time Table
As soon as you are engaged everyone will be asking for your wedding date, in reality, you will not be able to determine that until you find and book a venue. I recommend narrowing down to your ideal season or range of a couple of months. From there choose a minimum of three dates that will work for you. That way when you find your dream venue you will have a few choices if your initial date is booked.
Dream up Style and Choose a Location
Before you book a venue or a single vendor spend some time thinking about the style of wedding you would like. Do you imagine your dream wedding to be in a candlelit mansion? How about a rustic barn? Are you surrounded by everyone you know or just close friends and family? By really determining what your dream wedding looks like you will be able to determine a general geographic location and the style of venue you are looking for. Trust us, it is a lot easier to spend the time to gather inspiration and find a venue that fits your dream than to try and mold a venue into something it is not.
We hope these five first steps after getting engaged helps you start your planning process feeling excited and organized! Wedding planning should be fun, so when you start to feel overwhelmed take a deep breath and remember what the day is all about.