You're Engaged! Here's what should come next

The elated feeling that comes from being asked by the person you love most to spend a lifetime of happiness together is unlike any other!  Savor that feeling as long as possible! When you do start to come down from cloud nine, the task of planning your wedding can seem overwhelming.  You can feel like you’re drowning in all the wedding websites, instagram accounts and magazines. Most couples have trouble knowing exactly where to start, so before you lose yourself in a pinterest wormhole here are the first few steps you need to know!

  1. Decide on a budget - Before you start booking vendors, you and your partner should sit down and decide how much you are able to spend on this exciting celebration of your love.  Have a conversation about what is most important to you; if you are both big foodies, then maybe you want to put more resources into having fun late night snacks in addition to the dinner, or if you’re passionate about a certain music style, maybe you want to spend more on a high quality band that will deliver on that specific taste, or maybe you’re really excited to send guests home with cute personalized favors.  Be sure to include family in this conversation even though the traditional breakdown of who pays for what has dwindled over the years. Talk to you parents about what they are willing and able to contribute. And remember, a beautiful and meaningful wedding is not determined by the budget!

2. Pick a date - More goes into picking a date than you may think.  Start by talking about how you envision the day; if you’ve always dreamt of a lakeside ceremony then you probably should select a date with fairly reliable weather, if you’re a sucker for the coziness of the holiday season then you may want to consider a winter wedding.  Budget plays a role in this decision too. Because wedding vendors are in high demand from May to October, so their rates are generally higher during these months. One way to save money is to select and off-season date, or even less popular day of the week. Since Saturdays tend to be the most popular day of the week to get married, some vendors will offer discounts for weddings on weekdays.  You may also need to consider when it would be most convenient for you and your fiancé to take time off from work and how long you feel you need to plan the wedding of your dreams.

3. Select a venue -  The venue should be the first contract you sign, because their availability could potentially alter your date selection (it helps to go in with a couple dates in mind).  Again, there’s a lot to think about when looking for a venue. You want to find a place where you would feel comfortable getting married, a place that reflects the style of you and your fiance.  Are you a barn wedding couple with a rustic vibe? Or do you prefer the more elegant aesthetic that comes with a large ballroom with marble floors and high ceilings? You’ll also have to consider if your venue will be large enough for the number of guests you expect to invite.  If you want to have an outdoor ceremony or reception, consider a venue that has rain locations or accomodations available. Ultimately, you want to choose the venue that gives you butterflies when you think of getting married there.

Once you have tackled those three to do list items, you’re in good shape to start researching and booking vendors!  Even if it still seems like a lot, having somewhere to start when turning to wedding planning tools and resources makes finding what you need that much easier.  And if you’re still feeling overwhelmed you can always turn to the help of a wedding planner who can walk you through each step and alleviate the pressure! Happy planning!

Photo Credit: Rob Spring Photography, Clark+Walker Photography, Tracey Buyce Photography, Tiffany Wayne Photography