So You're Engaged, Now What?
Whether you know it’s coming or it’s a total surprise, when your partner gets down on a knee and asks you to spend the rest of your life with them you can’t control those butterflies that inevitably follow! Are you the type of person who cries, screams or jumps up and down with excitement? Or are you the person who is a little more reserved and simply smiles with a warm “yes” or even just a vigorous head nod because your body has suddenly forgotten how to speak? No matter what your reaction is and whether it is a private or public proposal this is a big moment deserving a celebration! But after all the initial excitement wears off you are left wondering, well, now what? All of a sudden you have a wedding to plan and, for most people, you don’t even know where to begin. Let me help answer some of the questions that may already be keeping you awake at night.
First things first… take some time to just celebrate being engaged! Yes, it’s true you don’t want to wait too long before tackling that huge checklist, but it is also important to take at least a week (or three) basking in the glow of your new engagement. Take some time to stare at that gorgeous ring as you are stopped at a red light. Send those text messages and make those phone calls to family and friends because something big just happened and they deserve to hear it from you and not see it on social media. Most importantly, just take a second to stop and appreciate everything you are about to gain and experience as an engaged couple.
After you have sufficiently basked in your new love bird glow, now it’s time to get down to business. The first thing on your list should be something that can feel like the elephant in the room, but once established will make the planning process a lot more black and white – what is your budget and who will be paying for what? This should be a very open and clear conversation with all parties involved because everyone knows that weddings are not cheap and having to constantly worry about where that next deposit or payment is coming from can make the whole process more unnecessarily stressful than it already is. Agreeing and sticking to a budget will also help keep your expectations realistic and manageable. Another way to keep these expectations in check is by hiring a wedding planner!
No longer seen as just a luxury, but rather as a very helpful necessity is a wedding planner. These are the people who know the industry and the area they are based in better than almost anyone. Consider them your wedding planning guides. It’s highly unlikely that you are going to go to Africa and take yourself on a little safari trip without the help of a guide. Think of a wedding planner the same way. There are so many logistical nuances that go into the wedding planning process, wouldn’t it be nice to have someone in your corner to point you in the right direction, make sure everything is getting checked off and ultimately put it all together while you just sit back, relax and take pictures of all those lions, elephants and zebras? Though it may seem like an additional expense up front, a wedding planner will be the best person to help save you money (not to mention time) because they have all the knowledge and connections to the people and places that will best fit your vision. Need more convincing? Consider reading my blog post all about the "Invaluable Tasks a Good Wedding Planner Will Perform".
After you have your budget figured out and whether you decide to book a wedding planner or not, next comes the big question that you have probably already been asked a thousand times… when is the big day? For some (like me), you have already decided on what day you wanted to get married before you even talked budget (or possibly before you even got engaged), so you just need to figure out the where. But for others the date may not be as important as the where, so you are willing to be a little more fluid on the actual date as long as you have the all-important venue. Make sure to decide which side of the road you are on ahead of time, so that when you are reaching out to venues you continue to keep those expectations realistic if they don’t have your dream date available.
Speaking of venues, next on your list is to start booking all the vendors who are going to help pull off the day you have only been dreaming about through Pinterest. I always recommend starting with the big vendors who are only able to book one event a day. Obviously, as stated previously, starting with the venue. Whether it is a castle on a hill or your own backyard you still need a place to be able to tell people where to show up. After the venue and, in turn, the date is secured, you can start checking off the other vendors who only book one event in a day… photographer, caterer and DJ/band, for example. I would also add in videographer and photobooth/photobus if those are things you would like to include. Hair and make-up are other vendors who could be included on this list depending on the business itself. Are you wanting to book with a salon that has a team of people available for your day or are you looking to book one individual in particular? Something to consider as you are researching your vendors.
Next on the list would be those few vendors who can likely take on more than one wedding in a day as their role is not as time consuming. These vendors include florists, bakers and rental companies. I will never recommend waiting until the last minute to book any vendor, but it is also important to have a priorities list (“must have” versus “want to have”) when planning a wedding. Again, having a wedding planner in your corner can be helpful in these situations because they help make sure you are on track and can give you the vendor recommendations you need (or may not even know that you need).
You have now assembled your vendor dream team. What’s next? All the extra fun stuff! Now you can focus on the design of your wedding, finding your dream dress, deciding what you want your bridal party to wear, how you want to celebrate your bridal shower/bachelorette (or bachelor) party… all the little details that truly make your wedding, and all the events surrounding your wedding, so personal.
I will hear people say, “I don’t even know where to start. It is so overwhelming”. Or after the fact they will say, “Planning a wedding was so stressful, I never want to do anything like that again”. These kind of comments break my heart because, yes, it is no secret that weddings have a lot of moving parts and logistics to organize, but it shouldn’t be so stressful you aren’t even enjoying why you wanted to do it in the first place. I love when clients tell me, “You made this process so easy, I don’t know why people don’t like planning their wedding?” This tells me I am doing my job correctly and making it so when you look back on the start of your marital adventure you have joyful memories instead of cringing and just wanting to shake the memory away. Always remember to… get organized early, keep your expectations realistic and breathe because I guarantee, in the end, as you are walking down that aisle to your forever, it will all be worth it!
If you found this article helpful and want to chat further, head on over to the services page for my packages and pricing information. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me or leave a comment below!