Congrats! You're engaged! (Engagement season is my favorite season, btw!!!) Now that you've spent time celebrating with your friends & family, it's time to start planning the big day. BUT, you've never planned a wedding before, have you? Weddings are hard work. There are a lot of things and people to konsider when planning (see what I did there?). You are going to put a lot of time, effort and money into this one day, so you better do some research and know what you're doing! Here are 5 things to konsider AFTER you get engaged but BEFORE you start planning your actual wedding:
Picking a wedding location isn't always that easy. Some couples live away from their families, and some dream of getting married in a tropical location. Knowing WHERE you want to get married is one of the first things you'll need to decide as a newly engaged couple. It's important to take both families into konsideration when making this decision, but remember it's your day and you are entitled to pick a location that makes you, the couple, the happiest. Follow your heart!
Once you've picked which city, state, or country you'd like to get married in, next comes the magical wedding date. Most places have ideal "wedding seasons"- for example, summer/monsoon season in Arizona probably isn't your best choice or the middle of winter in a snowy place like South Dakota, New York, or Minnesota. Some people pick dates that already have a significant meaning to them, like an anniversary of some sorts- first date, first kiss, or engagement. No matter what date/season you end up picking, keep in mind "you can plan a pretty picnic, but you can't predict the weather." Sometimes Mother Nature has a plan of her own for your special day.
Oh the dreaded b word; BUDGET! Nowadays, it's more common than not to have a bride & groom pay for the majority, if not all of their wedding on their own. Others still go the old fashioned route of having their parents pay for it. Either way, it's important to know what kind of budget you'll have from the start. You don't need all the money in the world to have an amazing wedding, but remember, most of those pretty weddings you see on Pinterest, or in the magazines, cost a pretty penny.
A lot of times, a couple knows from the beginning whether they want a huge party or an intimate gathering for their wedding day. Sometimes the size of your guest list is decided simply based on the budget you have. Location also plays a big part in this decision. If you're picking a destination wedding, you're more likely to have a smaller wedding vs. a wedding in your hometown where it costs less for everyone to attend, so they all plan on attending. If you have a specific venue already picked out for your big day, it's important to know the maximum capacity of that venue. If you know your dream venue can only hold 100 people, it's clear you can't invite 300 people and plan to get married there.
Everyone has a different opinion on what is most important on their big day. If you're a foodie, maybe it's the menu. If you're a photographer in your spare time, maybe it's the photos. If everyone knows the two of you like to party and have a good time, maybe it's the DJ or band you select for the reception. Either way, it's important to make a priority list from the start. This will help you allot the correct amount of money for your most important vendors. Make sure both of you agree on this list. (Side note: Brides, this is an excellent way to find out what is most important to your groom. He is more likely to get more involved with the planning when it's about things he really cares about.) Regardless of this priority list, at the end of the day, the most important thing should be the two people that are in love, becoming one and living happily ever after. :)
Often times wedding planners are thought of as a bonus or an afterthought. I've heard 'the only people who can afford a wedding planner are those with a $200,000 budget.' This is false. People get married every single day with all kinds of budgets and there are enough planners to go around. If you play your cards right, working with a professional planner should recoup their cost by showing you smarter/cheaper options with your budget. That being said, find a planner you can afford for your budget and that meets your needs/wants. Maybe you want a planner from the start or you just need one to tie up all the details on your actual big day. You don't want a to-do list on your wedding day and neither do your friends & family. You may be a planner in your every day life, and you may know exactly how you want every detail of your wedding to be; but on your actual wedding day, you're going to be a little busy....GETTING MARRIED. Let a planner take care of the rest. We promise you won't regret it!