So, you're engaged! Now what?!
First off all, congratulations are in order! You wrangled a man and that is not an easy task. If you are reading this and you aren't quite there yet...never fret. I had my whole wedding planned in my head years before I had a prospective husband. The fact of the matter is: weddings are fun. The decorating, planning, shopping, the whole thing. Whether you are planning for yourself, your friend, your sister or your future, this post is for you! It is never too soon to get your ideas on the table.
To help make that process easier, I'm gathering up some tips to help you jump-start your planning and keep your sanity. So first things first, take a breath. We are going to conquer this together and guess what? It might even be FUN!
To get started...
Set a budget.
First and foremost. The budget will determine the course of your planning. This may seem backwards to you. You might want to jump ahead and pick your date first, but go with me here. You need to establish your budget so that you can inquire to bands, photographers, venues, videographers, and things of that sort that are available on your date and within your price range. If you do not have a budget then you may not know who to contact or how to distribute your funds. Even if you can't pick an exact number, start getting quotes from vendors that you may be interested in and then build your budget from there. The budget can determine the size of your wedding party, too! So it is important to acknowledge that up front. You can use different calculators to help you set a budget and I really liked the one on WeddingWire.com. Consult with your better half, your family and anyone involved in the financial part of the big day before you dive in. It's not the most fun part, but it is an important first step.
Pick a date.
It sounds easy enough but there are a few things to consider before you land on your dream date. If you have a specific venue, church, photographer, band or florist that you can't live without, check their availability first. For me, we had 3 weekends that we could choose from because of Hunt's school schedule. From those weekends I was able to narrow down which weekend my venue, photographer and band were all available and that weekend was the winner! I was able to use WeddingWire to help me track down the best vendors in my area and it was a LIFESAVER.
To make it even easier on you, there's an app! So you can plan your dream wedding from wherever you may be. It has tons of fun inspiration on it so you can surf around (kinda like Pinterest but only for weddings...genius!) and get great ideas if you aren't sure what you want.
Make a dress appointment.
Go ahead and get it on the books! This is why it is good to have your budget done first, because you can make an appointment at a place that has dresses in your price range. Don't feel stressed to do this immediately, but just go ahead and make an appointment. It is surprising how long it can take for dresses to come in, so I'd encourage you to be safe rather than sorry. You'll breathe a sigh of relief. Remember that for convenience, it might be nice to try to find a bridal store near where you live or where your wedding will be. That way when it gets closer to the wedding day you aren't having to drive crazy distances to do fittings and get accessories.
I found my gown at It's a Date in Starkville, MS, but there's a whole other post coming for that. ;)
Pick a color scheme.
I know this seems like a pretty specific thing to do at first, but it's an important part of the big day! If you go to the inspiration tab on WeddingWire, you can see tons of REAL weddings and realistic ideas that you can accomplish! When you go to pick out your gown, you need to know what color you want your bridesmaids to wear to make sure that your shade of white does not clash with their dress color. It can also be really cute to incorporate your colors into the pieces that you use to ask your bridal party.
Select your bridal party.
You've cleared your schedule for the big day, so now you need to make sure your besties are available! I have 14 bridesmaids which is probably entirely ridiculous...I know. But that was something that was really important to me. I didn't want to have to choose between friends, so I just went all in! Whether you have 2 or 20, go ahead and plan that out. Consult with your groom of course to make sure that your numbers are pretty close. I wouldn't fret over a difference of 1 or 2, though! No biggie. Remember that the larger your bridal party, the more money will be spent on the bachelor and bachelorette trips, gifts, and rehearsal dinner. Again, nothing to stress about but definitely needs to be taken into consideration before you pop the question to your pals.
Start looking at honeymoon locations.
I know that sounds crazy to do right at the beginning, but trust me. You will save money in the long run if you book as soon as you are able to! Certain perks come with early booking like cheaper rates and more room availability. Hunter and I booked ours honeymoon at the Excellence Punta Cana. We used a travel agent which made alllll the difference. If you're interested in using one yourself- I highly recommend it. They can give you ideas, book everything for you and then make sure all of the nitty gritty details are covered. Feel free to email me for the contact information of our wonderful agent! Payton@publicdisplayofacessories.com <3
Millions of girls and guys have done this before you and millions will after you. Remember the reason you are getting married, to commit your life to your best friend! Keep that as the most important detail and the rest will fall into place. This is supposed to be fun and exciting, so don't sweat the small stuff. And guess what? It's all small stuff.