It happened, it finally happened! There was a little something extra underneath the Christmas Tree…or maybe was it a beautiful proposal as the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve. However it happened, the result is the same - YOU’RE ENGAGED!
But now what? Where do I start? Why does everyone and their mother keep giving me advice I didn’t ask for?
Step 1. Breathe. Yes wedding planning is time consuming, and can certainly be stressful…but it’s also a lot of fun.
Step 2. Have a real conversation with your partner. Everyone dreams of getting married, whether they admit it or not. Just because you’ve found the perfect person to share your life with doesn’t mean they have the same dreams or ideas as you. When my wife and I started wedding planning we found that I had always dreamed of a fall wedding…she wanted a summer wedding. We compromised and got married in June. ;) In all seriousness, talk about what’s most important about the wedding with each other and make lists.
Step 3. Decide on a budget. It doesn’t matter how big or small it is, it just matters that you know what you have available to spend. That means taking a hard look at your personal finances, and talking with parents and relatives that may want to contribute to the cause. Once you know what you have to spend, you’re ready for step 4.
Step 4. Prioritize. Remember those lists you made in step 2? It’s time to start seeing just how important those things are to you, and where (or if) they fit into your wedding plan. Make a list of your “must haves” - and be realistic with it. You’ll find the money in your budget for the things that are the most important, and some of the other things will fall by the wayside.
Step 5. Hire vendors that you trust. There’s a lot of vendors to choose from, and all of them come with different price points. Fight the urge to simply book the cheapest one; the phrase “you get what you pay for” is often true when it comes to wedding vendors. Instead, interview several different vendors. See who you click with, who really understands your vision, and who is someone you can see yourself working with through your wedding. Once you hire them, lean on them. Most vendors love to help their couples any way that they can. Ask them for advice if your stuck, or just looking for another opinion. Wedding professionals do more weddings every year than you’ve likely been to in your entire life - use their expertise.
Step 6. Relax and enjoy each other. When things get stressful, and you’re at your wits end remember you’re doing all of this because you fell in love. Step back from the wedding planning and instead plan a night out, or a weekend away - don’t lose sight of what’s really important.
Happy Wedding Planning!