Written by Guest Blogger: Steven Young from STAK Studios
The happiest moment of your life just happened! And you said yes! Enjoy this moment like no other. Bask in it for a while before even thinking about moving on to what needs to happen next
When you’re ready, bring all that excitement into your planning. It may feel overwhelming at first. So many details need attending to that anxiety may seep in. Stop and take a deep breath, then start with the following seven things to do first.
1. Share the News & Throw a Party!
You can’t wait to tell everyone, maybe even the whole world, that you’re engaged. But hold up. Your family members need to know first. Once you tell them, next, let your closest friends in on the great secret. After that, tell anyone you want, any way you want! If social media is the way you roll, announce it there. Post a selfie of you and your ringed finger, or a couple photo with the background of where you became engaged.
You may even want to throw a party right away. Most likely you already know who will be in the wedding party, so get with them to plan an engagement party. Everyone’s excitement will add to your own, and the celebration will be memorable long down the road.
During the pandemic, if an in-person event is not possible right now, invite everyone to join you on a Zoom or Facetime gathering. Virtual events are popular these days and easy to plan.
2. Decide on Your Priorities
Before you get started on the wedding details, sit down together and discover what each of you wants. Do you prefer a big or small wedding? Will it be a local or destination wedding? Does a tropical wedding entice you, or do you both prefer an urban setting? Come up with several ideas, then narrow them down.
Do you prefer a certain season, such as the Fall when leaves are changing color and the cooler air calls for an outdoor wedding? Will you be celebrating for a week, or prefer to make it a special one-day event?
Together discuss all the priorities you share and the ones important to each of you. This will lead to more focused planning, where you both feel heard. This collaboration will get you started on a lifetime of working together.
3. Pick a Date!
You can’t have a wedding without a date! It’s the most important first step and sets everything else in motion. Now that you have a few ideas about what type of wedding you both want, it’s time to start reviewing the calendar and selecting a few options.
It’s important to note that great wedding vendors and locations book up fast. This will factor into the date you do finally choose, so make sure you have a few options and are a bit flexible. Also, check with your families to be sure they are available on the dates you choose and not wandering around Europe on an already booked vacation.
Once you know the available timelines of venues and vendors, and are confident with a wedding date, send a save-the-date to your friends and family, so they know to block it off their calendars.
4. Set a Budget
Sit down with your fiancé and figure out what you have to invest in the wedding. How much do you have to spend? Will anyone, such as your families, be helping out with the expenses?
Start shopping around for venues and getting quotes so you are familiar with what everything can cost. Then sit down and decide on a budget. Talking about money is not always pleasant, but it is a conversation you will need to have not just now, but all throughout your marriage.
Do a bit of research on what weddings cost. Ask friends and family members how they went about paying for their own weddings. You’ll be able to choose where to spend the most money, such as on the venue, based on your shared priorities. An experienced wedding planner will also help you prioritize and allocate funds for your wedding.
5. Pick a Venue
One of the most exciting decisions when planning your wedding is picking out the venue. This sets the stage for everything else. Once you decide where it is you want to get married, whether it be an outdoor ceremony on a beach, a rooftop wedding, or a grand hotel/ballroom celebration, you can begin to research venues that meet your criteria.
Be open-minded to options, however, particularly if your first-choice venues are already solidly booked. You may find a new venue you didn’t even know about before.
Most importantly, fall in love with your venue! This will add to the excitement and specialness of your big day.
6. Hire Great Vendors
Even if you are still confirming the venue and date, start contacting vendors. You’ll want to assess each one to see whether they are fit are not.
Be sure to pick a great wedding photographer that you can trust. You want to be able to look back on those wedding photos years from now and smile. You’ll need a photographer that takes the time to learn your style, wants and needs.
You will also want to pick a great band or DJ to play at your reception. This is where recommendations from family and friends can come in handy. Be sure to check each one out and get a feel for what they offer. Listen to samples, and even better, attend a live event where your band or DJ is playing!
If all of this planning seems too overwhelming, or you prefer to enjoy this time together without all the stress, consider hiring a great wedding coordinator to make sure your day is organized.
7. Register for Gifts!
Everyone is excited for you as you start your new life together, and they want to help. So, make it easy for friends and family to give you gifts. Go to your favorite store and create a registry early on. Then let everyone know where it is. This way, they all feel as if they are part of your wedding, and are contributing to your success.
During all this excitement and planning, be sure to take breaks along the way. Spend time together alone doing something you enjoy. Take a hike, go dancing, try a wine tasting out of town, or float lazily in the pool. Everything that needs to be done will get done, and you’ll be ready to start your new life together before you know it.