First 7 Steps to Wedding Planning.
I’ve never been engaged before, but I imagine it feels similar to the moment you turn 21. You feel like you’re waiting ages to get there and you can’t wait for it to happen. Then, it does, and you forget what it feels like to not be engaged and then you become the person telling everyone not to rush it and your anxiously-waiting friends want to murder you. Does that sound like you? That most definitely sounds like me.
Anyway, you’re here now. But you probably have no idea what you’re doing, which is great. That’s romantic. It’s not your job to know. It’s ours, your wedding vendors.
The first 7 things to do after you get engaged:
0. Yell. It’s fun. Yell ‘I’M ENGAGED’ at everyone in your close proximity. Make sure they know how happy you are and hopefully they will give you something for free. [Note: If you do this in Cancun, at an all inclusive they will give you a free bottle of wine…isn’t that…generous. Yes, I did try this.]
Plan your engagement party. Whether you’re bougie or casual, it’s a great idea to pre-game your wedding with a celebration of your engagement. It’s going to be a wild ride, you might as well kick off this chapter with a little taste of why you’re throwing a wedding. Have fun and celebrate with friends and get just tipsy enough to stare at your fiancé from across the party and gush over how excited you are to marry that tall drink of water. Hell yes. This party should be around 12 months before the wedding or, 45-60 days after the engagement.
Set a Budget! The unsexy sister of this entire process. It sucks but it’s a must-do, like brushing your teeth! Setting a budget (flexible or not), will help you stay on track of the ultimate goal: to throw a fun celebration and still afford children. 50% of couples go over budget. There’s a few reasons for this, the most popular; couples set a budget without researching costs. The U.S. average wedding photographer cost is $2,400. If you’re in a major metropolitan city or state (hello California and New York), you can kick that up a notch. The average NYC and Metro Area wedding cost is $50,000. It’s scary, I know, but there are ways to still have your dream wedding and save some money. (Email me and find out my quick tips on how to save a buck and still have a chic as hell wedding.)
Organize Guest List: Guests effect catering and venue costs. This can be a huge make or break for your budget. So let me say this as the friend that your family cannot get pissed at: don’t invite them. You know whom I’m talking about. Like cleaning out your closet, if you haven’t spoken to them in a year, odds are your wedding will survive without them. We’re all adults and this isn’t a royal political union. Germany does not depend on you inviting second-cousin Linda. The world will keep spinning and everyone will get over it. Rule of thumb: If you don’t want to talk to them for a FULL 2 minutes at your cocktail hour, save them the trip. Keep the guests list for the VIPs you love. It makes the party more fun for everyone. #sorrynotsorry.
Propose to your bridal party!! Probably one of the most fun parts of the planning process for both of you. A moment to honor and thank your amazing friends and family for being with you through everything leading up to this. They’ve probably been with you through a few dating fiascos so it’s safe to say they are happy to be here alongside you. Make sure you thank them well and let them know how important they are during this time. It should be fun for all of you, especially since they are taking on a financial commitment when they say YES! Sit with your honey and plan out the best ways to surprise and celebrate this amazing group. Make sure these people will rock your Bach parties.
Book your wedding venue: Out with the cookie cutter catering and in with the millions of ideas and hours you’ve spent dreaming this day up in your head! I know there’s an inner party-planner in you and you need to let them out. You’re spending all this money so you might as well do it somewhere that feels right. May it be a farm (please) or a museum, a gallery or a backyard, your wedding venue should set the vibe for you and your partner’s dream day. To hell with distance or destination, book the place of your dreams, the people will follow. Once this is done, you can really start to feel everything coming together.
Set a Date: The venue and the date go hand in hand, whether you have a special day in mind or it’s just up to availability, figure out what works best for you. Keep in mind, the date will affect availability and pricing. If you are looking for something in the fall, be prepared to schedule out in advance. These dates are usually the first to go with October 19th being one of the most popular dates to get married in 2018. If you are planning a fall wedding you better get cracking. Fall is the busiest season in the NE for weddings with July being one of the slower months. Keep this in mind. If you get engaged in September and want to plan a September wedding for the following year, some of your dream vendors will most likely be booked. So get to work.
Find your photographer: There is literally nothing more important than booking your photographer for your wedding day. It’s your memories, sometimes literally. There’s so much going on that your photographer is your vision while you’re busy greeting guests and taking shots with the wedding party. The most important thing is to find someone who knows what you want, knows how to help you get there, and treats you like a human being. It’s your professional third wheel for the whole day, make sure you work well together. Working with a photographer is like dating, if it doesn’t feel right for you, they don’t want you to date them out of pressure or price, they want to make sure you’re happy. Because, we love you and want you to love us and our work.
So there you go. The first 7 tips to planning. Bonus Tip: If you’ve exhausted all the people around you and need to find more ways to bask in love and be around other annoying people who love love as much as you do at the moment, listen to The Moment Podcast by Wondery Network. It’s not a plug, its just my new obsession. I’ve cried once of four times.
Happy Friday Y’all.