Okay, you’ve finally got that ring on your finger and you’re ready to start planning the greatest wedding of all time. But wait; you’ve never planned a wedding before! Not to worry, we have compiled a step-by-step guide for exactly what to do after you are engaged and ready to start the planning process. Though every wedding is unique and no single list can cover every variable, the step-by-step guide below should be comprehensive enough to get you started off on the right foot and allow you to learn the ins and outs of planning your very own wedding.
Announce Your Engagement
The first thing you need to do is tell your parents and siblings that you’re engaged. Once your family has been informed, you can start telling the rest of your friends and acquaintances.
Talk About Your Desires
Everyone has the “perfect wedding” already sketched out in their mind, but now there’s two of you weighing in on the matter. Sit down right off the bat and discuss what your hopes and dreams of the perfect wedding are and come up with an overall game plan.
Discuss a Time-Frame
Though the time-frame for your actual wedding may not be what you initially discuss, talking about the timing is very important. Mainly, you need to know what time of year you want the wedding to be held so you can figure out which year you’ll be having it. That way you know exactly how much time you have to get things planned and pulled together for the big day.
The Money Talk
Nobody likes talking about money, but unfortunately it needs to be done. Sit down with all of the parents and figure out who’s going to pay for what and what kind of budget they have set aside.
You’ll want to start organizing things into categories and setting appropriate budgets for each of those categories in a notebook or wedding budget sheet. For instance, you’ll want to set a budget for your dress, a budget for the venue, a budget for the decorations and so on so you have a roadmap to help you start planning.
Ceremony and Reception Venues
The first actual things to acquire for your wedding are the ceremony and reception venues. Some people use the same venue for both, others prefer separate locations. These are the first things to get booked because they will determine many other factors for your wedding.
Choosing the Bridesmaids
Knowing who you want for your bridesmaids is very important because they will help you plan your wedding. Also, they can take a lot of the stress off of your plate. Usually soon-to-be-brides chooses their closest friends and family as their bridesmaids. You don’t need to run out and starting picking your bridesmaids gifts! However, narrowing down your candidate list is a great place to start.
Picking Your Dress
Picking your wedding dress will be one of the most time-consuming parts of the wedding planning process, but all that effort will be well rewarded. Assemble a team of close friends, family, and bridesmaids with a list of bridal shops in hand and take your time picking out the perfect dress. However, once you’ve made your choice, avoid second-guessing yourself and continuing to shop around because you almost surely have the perfect gown selected already.
Hire a Photographer
The best wedding photographers are usually booked out pretty far in advance, so make sure you get this taken care of as soon as possible. Check their portfolio and ask for references, but get a photographer picked out and booked at the earliest stage possible. Some people also have a photo booth for even more photo opportunities!
Whether you hire a DJ or a live band, make sure you hear their work in person before you sign a contract to book them. Wedding musicians and DJs come in a lot of varieties, so make sure you pick out the perfect match for your taste.
The Guest List
When you start thinking of who to invite to your wedding, it can be very tempting to go way overboard. Try to keep it as small as possible while inviting everyone that should definitely be there. Invite your close friends, family, and other people who are very important in your life; but avoid inviting people life your grade school friend that you haven’t seen in twenty years. There can be a lot of drawbacks to having a large wedding!
You want to send out your invitations around two month before your wedding date so everyone has plenty of notice but not so much that they forget it is coming up. You should design and purchase your invitations as soon as you have the date and location finalized so they are ready to go when it’s time.
Looking Your Best
Everyone wants to look fabulous on their wedding day, but avoid the temptation of doing crash diets or fasting that is unhealthy and will add more stress. You want to eat right and exercise regularly for at least the two months leading up to the wedding, but don’t overdo it or you may need your dress taken in! The best thing you can do is eat right, get plenty of rest, and do your best to relax so you look happy and refreshed on your big day. If you have enough room in your wedding budget, you should treat yourself to a spa day just before the wedding to be as relaxed as possible.