Did you just get engaged? Once the initial shock of being engaged wears off you'll need to start making decisions for your upcoming nuptials. Here are the 9 important things you need to do to jump start your wedding planning.
Set a Timetable
The minute you get engaged, everyone will be asking for your wedding date. But in reality, you won't be able to set an exact date until other major decisions, like booking your venue are made. So first, focus on determining a range of dates that'll work for you. The average engagement lasts 15 months, but also think about what season you'd prefer, any major holidays or family events you'd like to avoid conflicting with, and how long you predict you'll need to plan.
Dream Up Your Style and Pick a Location
Before you try on a wedding dress, book a band or sample a bite of cake, look at the big picture and imagine what kind of style you want for your wedding. Where do you want to hold it and what do you see? You may envision a candlelit ceremony, walking barefoot on a beach, or a ceremony in a botanical garden. Also think about a big wedding with everyone you know or an intimate wedding with close family and friends. It's great to select a theme for your wedding. To get ideas, view magazines, books and real weddings online, but don't limit yourself to the obvious sources. Something as unlikely as a wallpaper pattern, a scene from a favorite movie, or a family heirloom can spark your creativity. There is inspiration all around you!
Set Your Budget
Sit down and figure out how much you can afford and what others can contribute. This number will affect every decision and purchase you make, so be sure to work out your budget before you start planning with your wedding. This will give you a realistic picture about what you can spend.
Draft a Guest List
As you begin to build your guest list, you'll need to consider a number of factors. If you have a particular ceremony or reception site in mind, for instance, you're going to be limited by how many people it can accommodate. Also, keep in mind that more guests means higher prices, as catering costs are generally calculated on a per-head basis. So, in addition to location, your budget will have a big influence on the size of your guest list.
Register (Prior to Your Engagement Party!)
Since you are now engaged, there will likely be engagement parties, bridal showers and well-wishing relatives in your future, If you register early, they will appreciate your foresight. And although gifts are optional for engagement parties, some of your guests may want to give you something to commemorate the occasion, so register for at least a few items beforehand so they don't have to ask what you'd like or need.
Choose Your Wedding Party
Now it's time to propose to your bridesmaids and groomsmen. Remember, the earlier you ask, the sooner you can enlist their help. And keep in mind that your wedding party is agreeing to spend their money and donate their time—be considerate and kind by informing everyone about all your plans (including costs for attire, bachelor and bachelorette parties and more), showing them a good time and making sure they know how much you appreciate them.
Consider a Consultant
If you're super-busy, have demanding jobs or want to plan a wedding weekend, then you should hire a full-time wedding planner to help you prepare your entire event, from the engagement party to the honeymoon. Another option is a day-of coordinator, who will make sure everything goes smoothly on your wedding day.
Book a Venue (and Set Your Date)
Your reception venue will become the backdrop for virtually all your photos and can influence everything from heavy hitters like your budget and guest list to smaller details. Ensure that you get the look, price and extras you want by scouring local listings, shopping around, scheduling visits and booking early. Once you sign your venue contract, you will officially have your wedding date...yeah!
Begin your search by browsing dress photos online. It's a good idea to take your favorites with you to your bridal boutique appointment. Then, learn the lingo before setting foot in a dress salon. Read up on silhouettes, necklines, trains and hues that might flatter you. The season will also affect your choice. Getting married in the sweltering summer? Go with lightweight fabrics such as chiffon, linen or organza. Having a winter wedding? Brocade, faux fur and velvet will keep you warm. Satin, shantung, silk and tulle are perfect year-round.
Have fun planning!
Top photo by Femina Photo Design
The Dress Matters Blog
Blog of the elegant bridal boutique located in Media, Pennsylvania (Suburban Philadelphia). The owner of the boutique was selected 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year by the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce. We carry bridal, bridesmaid and prom dresses. Special services include Girls Night Out, Bridal Assistant and On-Site Alterations.