You get engaged and fireworks are going off with excitement in your head… until it hits you: you have to actually plan a wedding. It can be stressful just figuring out where to begin, and the pressure starts to build as people begin asking you details about your nuptials. You just know you have a sparkly new ring and the prince on your arm! Here are the top three things to do when you get engaged to get the ball rolling toward the perfect wedding.
1. Choose Your Length of Engagement
Some brides can plan a wedding in a few months while others take what seems a few years. In fact, a couple in Texas made news in December 2016 for dating 41 years before getting engaged. So, clearly each couple has a unique timeline. However, there are a few deciding factors that go into how long your engagement will last.
Many times brides have a set month in which they’ve always dreamed of getting married. If you dream of a summer wedding and get engaged at Christmas, you can still have the summer wedding, but be ready to be pressed for time just a bit. Some couples want an entire year to plan and don’t care about the exact month. Decide together the best date and best length of time for you. Some brides are master planners while others drag their feet. Dragging feet doesn’t work with a short engagement. Booking vendors and venues, as well as letting guests have a good amount of time to plan their trips to the wedding, takes time.
2. Set a Budget
Setting a budget can be very stressful, but everything stems from that budget. You cannot begin to plan with venues and vendors without knowing how much you can spend on those things. Traditionally a bride’s family pays for the wedding. Sometimes a couple’s families split the bill in half. Of course, these days many traditions are out the door, so anyone can contribute to wedding planning. Now many couples pay for their own weddings while other couples’ entire families pitch in.
Figure out who is contributing and how much, and then set out your budget spreadsheet. This is can be a difficult discussion with some families, but it must be done so that you have realistic expectations. Do you want a destination beach wedding? Do you want a church wedding with a reception? Do you want a backyard wedding? All of these things depend on your budget. Once you set a budget, you will be able to start figuring out which vendors work best with it, how much you can spend on your dream dress, and where the perfect location will be.
3. Create a Guest List
The guest list can get out of control quickly. You start with just family, and then start thinking if you invite this person you have to invite that person… suddenly you’re inviting co-workers and their spouses, neighbors, friends, etc. Decide how many people fit within your budget and how many people you really want at your special day. Some couples just want family surrounding them, while others want to make their weddings the party of the year. Also, Decide if you want to include children because once you open the door for people to bring kiddos, you might forget some friends have multiple children. Make a rough list and analyze it. You may have to cut some people due to budget restrictions.
One great way to approach this is by thinking of your holiday card list. If you send out holiday cards each year, those are probably the same people you want at your wedding. You can even start from this list and add people as you go if the budget permits.
The guest list can be as big or small as you wish, but remember you are paying for each person there and you will need to spend time with each person there. Don’t let the crowd overdose your special day.
These are the most important things to do once you get engaged so you don’t get overwhelmed and lose sight of what really matters at the heart of all the lists and stresses. The most important thing is you are marrying your best friend and you get to plan the perfect day for the two of you. Each couple is different, so each list might be different. Hold tight to what truly matters and get started planning.