Updated: Nov 8, 2018
You are newly engaged, and you have posted the picture of the ring on Facebook. You are enjoying all the loves and shares, but you start to notice some common questions starting to pop up, in the mix. When is the Wedding? Where will the wedding be? Can I be a bridesmaid? Your head may be spinning now and all you want to do is enjoy the moment, but the excitement is slowly being replaced with anxiety. Personally, when things become overwhelming I start out by making lists. Your first instinct will be to create an ENTIRE list of items or tasks that need to be done before your wedding day. Starting in this manner will only add to the anxiety. Simply start with your first few steps OR start just by reading the rest of this article.
Start by answering some broad questions with your partner.
Local OR Destination Wedding?
Spring, Summer, Fall, OR Winter Wedding?
Big or Small Wedding?
Then slightly narrow your focus based on the decisions you made previously.
With a location in mind, start to think of a style or overall mood you want your wedding to have.
With the Season in mind, start to think of dates to avoid within that season (vacations, holidays, family events)
With the desired wedding size in mind, think about a general wedding guest list rules, such as: Stopping at 1st Cousins, No Plus Ones, children or no children, Close Friends and Families Only, etc.
Whether you, as a couple, will be solely responsible for your wedding funds or family members will be contributing. All parties should sit down and discuss an overall budget. Remember to keep in the mind the decisions you have already made and choose a budget that is appropriate. Check out our previous blog for budget planning.
As you begin looking into vendors, you will notice the common question is your guest count. Caterers, Rentals, Stationary, etc. need your guest count in order to provide you with an accurate quote. Not to mention, when looking for venues you will need a rough number in mind with looking at square footage. As you are adding guest to your list remember the rules you established before. Also, keep in mind that typically 90-80% of the invited guests will be able to attend. Creating the guest list after deciding on a budget is important because the more guests you invite, the higher your budget will need to be. Currently, in Pennsylvania and Maryland, the average wedding guest could cost $175-$300/person.
Book your Venue
This is when you will pick your specific date. Booking your Venue will most likely be the first thing your book for your wedding. Many venues may provide you with a list of vendors that you may use a jumping off point. Choosing from this list may increase your chances of that vendor being available for your date. Furthermore, if the venue offers in-house catering and bar then you can also check those vendors off your checklist as well!
Enjoy Your Engagement
Take a break from the planning and enjoy the fact that are you about to start a very exciting chapter with your partner.
Register for Wedding Gifts - Consider doing this before your engagement party
Get your ring re-sized AND make sure it is insured
Decide on your Wedding Party - To get your mind off Wedding Planning, think of creative ways to ask your friends/family to be a part of your wedding. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog on some examples.
Create Pinterest Boards: Dresses, Decor, Flowers, Cakes
Wedding Must Haves
There are exceptions for everything. If you have a date, location, vendor, etc. that is a must have, you can certainly center the beginning planning stages around that. For example, if you MUST have a June wedding at the Plaza, your budget will need to be at least $80,000 and your guest list will need to be a minimum of 200.
Decide on whether to hire a Planner
Based on how you and your family plan the beginning stages of your wedding this may determine if you should hire a Wedding Planner/Coordinator. If you were unable to find time to come together with your partner or family members for the first few steps, consider a Full-Service Wedding Package to assist you in planning the entire event. If you slightly struggled with the beginning steps, Partial-Service Wedding Package is also an option. This will allow you to use the planner in specific areas that you may struggle with. If along the way you find just one or two areas that seem difficult to plan on your own, there are also hourly consulting options. Click here for more information on our packages.