Happy New Year first of all! Hope you all had a wonderful holidays spending time with your loved ones. Last year we did a post on the top 10 to-do list after you got engaged. This year, I want to revisit the topic to help you get through the planning with ease.
During the holiday season, it has the much higher chance that something exciting would happened, like…someone popped the question: “Will You Marry Me?” I’m sure it was the most happiest moment during the holiday, and by the second you said “Yes”, (and congratulations to you!!) you are now engaged and entering a new stage of your life. So what’s next? What should you do and where should you start your wedding planning? Who you should get advices from, and just where to start?
For sure, wedding planning is fun because you are planning the once in a lifetime event with your loved one! But, planning a wedding can be another full time job to take on for another year or so depending on when is your wedding. On the web, there are a lot of wedding planning websites, blogs, and tools that you can use. But really! Where should you start and what to do next? Here, I pinpointed 8 steps you should do in order to help ease your stress and start the game right! Ready? Here we go!!
#1: Set The Date! This for sure should be the number 1 thing you should do before any research or dive into the wedding planning. I’m sure you are all excited on looking at venues, shopping for dresses, and finding the vendors you want to hire. But wait, the first question that everyone will ask you would be… “When is your big day?” If you don’t know your date, the venues and vendors would not be able tell you if they have availability or not. And for wedding dress, let’s say you bought a style that is good for an outdoor summer wedding but you end up setting the date in winter and having the wedding indoor. Then you will not only need to look for another dress but deal with the dress that you may not get a chance to wear. So set the date first (better have date #1 and #2 in case the first date doesn’t work, you are not locked out with no option) before diving into the planning world.
#2: Guest Count – When you go for a site visit at venues, yes, the date would be the number 1 question you will get asked, but the next question would be… “How many people are you inviting?” You don’t have to have the exact guest count by the time you start looking for venues, it would be great if you have the estimate of how many people you will be inviting. By know your guest count, it will help you in 3 ways. 1) You know if you should look for an intimate venue or a big ballroom. 2) It helps with knowing your budget. 3) You won’t be spending too much time looking at the venues that would not work with the size of your wedding.
#3: Hire a Wedding Planner! I’m sure once your revealed the big news with everyone, your friends and family will start loading you with tons of advices and offering helps on helping you plan your wedding or how you should do it. It’s awesome that you have such a good support system and people that you can trust and listen to…however, most of the time, you might get stressed out and don’t know which advices to take or get lost at some points. By hiring a professional wedding planner, they will give you the best advices to your interest. They are here to guide you through the wedding planning process and help you create the wedding of your dream. No matter how much assistance you need, they are here to give you their professional advices. All the professional wedding planners provide different level of services to assist you. Either you need someone to guide you through the start to finish, or if you only need partial assistance, or even you are the DIY type but would like to have some to take care of all final details and on the day of the wedding so you can enjoy and have fun with your loved ones. A professional wedding planner would be a great asset to have for your wedding.
#4: Knowing Your Budget! When you go on Google and type, “What’s the average cost for wedding”, it would give you answer from wedding websites where they did survey around the United States in general. However, what you are looking for should be an answer of the average cost for wedding in your area. Not somewhere that not even in your States. A lot of couples have an estimated budget in their mind but once they start the planning, they realized things cost way more than they envisioned. Let’s say you budgeted the wedding at $30,000 but the actual wedding average cost in your area is $45,000 (also depends on your guest count). When you are doing your budget, you have to list out everything that will cost in the wedding, what are your priorities, and what are the things that you are willing to cut down. And this actually can related to #3 above, by hiring a professional wedding planner, they can help and guide you to the right track on how you should estimate for your budget, how things really cost in your area, and the right venue and vendors you should hire and within your budget.
#5: Start Looking for Venue – After you have your date, guest count, knowing your budget, and maybe hired a wedding planner to assist you…the next first thing you should start for the wedding planning is start looking for venue. You need to find the venue that you would love to host your special day before moving forward to everything else for the planning part. And in the last 1 or 2 years, I kind of seeing a trend that some popular venues are booking 1 year in advance. If there’s a venue that you have been wanting to check out, contact them for their availability and schedule a site visit. It’s always better to visit the site in person instead of just looking at photos online.
#6: Shop for Your Wedding Gown! This is exciting!! Once you have the date and kind of know the style of your wedding (whether is outdoor or indoor), you should start looking for wedding gown. It is also crucial depends on your wedding date. Some wedding gowns require a longer ordering time (it can range from 3 to 6 months) versus the one that you can buy it from a sample sale. So if you know the date and the venue you are planning for your wedding, ask your bridesmaids or some of your girlfriends to go dress shopping with you!
#7: Vendors Research – Yep! The next up, start looking for vendors. Like venues, some of the popular vendors might get booked in advance too. The first few vendors that you would want to look into would be photographer, videographer, makeup artist, florist…and the list goes on with other vendors that would be involved in your wedding. When you are at this stage, start seeking help from your wedding planner, friends who got married, or look online. And yes, wedding website, blogs, or even yelp would be a great resource and would give you tons of suggestions with rating and reviews.
#8: Color and Design – Even if you are not a crafty person, this part of the planning should be exciting because you about to go into the beautiful world of the planning process. As you are planning along, especially when working with florist, you will need to share the color and style of your wedding. Even when picking the bridesmaids’ dresses, you still need to pick a color and style. What I usually recommend to my couples is go with the color that both of you like the most then work down the way to fine tune to a color palette that both of you would love and few comfortable. I would suggest pick as least 2 to 3 primary colors and 2 to 3 secondary colors (the accent color). This way you can create contrast and able to play around the colors. Once you have decided on the color, the style of the wedding should develop at the same time. For example, if you are going with some bold color like red, black, gold with the accent color of white – this would give the classic and elegant style versus something soft like baby blue and lavender with a mix of green – this would give the rustic and vintage style. So have fun with your color! Pinerest is a very good app for you to store all your design ideas. However, don’t go crazy with it since there are just tons of beautiful photos that you can pin from. If you have a wedding planner, seek for their help. Some wedding planners also do wedding design. They would be able to easily help you define that color and style that you want for your wedding, and help you explain to vendors. They would save you number of hours from looking at photos that soon everything will look the same and get lost.
Of course there are a lot of more to do to plan a wedding. Hopefully this list will help you get started and enjoy every steps of the wedding planning!
Congratulations again on your newly engagement!!
Photo by: Jennifer Skog Photography
Model: The engagement session from our happily married couple, Brittany and Andrew