First off, congratulations. This is a huge step in your life and your relationship and there is no feeling like seeing that ring on your finger. Being engaged will be one of the most exciting, and sometimes the most stressful, points in your life. And now maybe, you're thinking what's next.
Start from the bottom, and don't rush the process. Planning a wedding is like building Rome. It isn't done in a day! Here are the first few steps you can take to kick off your wedding planning process.
- Consider the time of year you want to get married. Avoid picking an actual date because your dream venue might not have it available.
- Contact your dream venue and book a date with them. Peak season is June through October, so venues often book out a year in advance. If your dream venue isn't available, consider two things. One, extend the engagement. That way, you will be able to create a larger savings for your favorite vendors and your honeymoon trip. Two, ask the venue for their recommendations. They will lead you to similar venues in similar price ranges so you don't have to forfeit style or budget!
- Find your photographer! Once you've booked the venue and you are officially on their calendar, search for a photographer. I recommend you make a list of three and only contact them one at a time (unless your heart is immediately set on one!). Contact your favorite first. If your heart is telling you 'no', then kindly email the photographer and let them know you are going to keep looking. Courtesy is key in booking vendors! If all the photographers are booked, remember you can also ask them for their recommendations of photographers with similar styles and budgets.
- Find your coordinator. A venue, photographer, and coordinator are arguably the most important parts of a wedding budget because they set the tone for the day and work the closest with you. Unless your wedding venue has a coordinator, it's a good idea to start looking. Qualities in a good coordinator are, of course, organization, communication, and attention to detail. The best coordinators are encouraging and honest. They have seen the best and worst weddings of them all, and they know how to handle hard situations the best. Ask the venue or photographer for their recommendations.
- Remember to take time off of wedding planning. The best part about hiring a coordinator, is that they can help you carry the weight. If you are stressed and overwhelmed, you can take time off to sip some wine and watch some Netflix without feeling guilty. Always remember that the vendors you hire are there to make your experience fun and stress free. Never hesitate to ask for advice! They want your wedding to be as perfect as you do.
Are you ready? I hope these tips will help you start to chip away at your list. Don't be intimidated by it, and try to have fun! When in doubt, just look down at your hand and remember you are months away from saying "I Do"