Congratulations! You’re engaged!
Pop the champagne, call your girls, and get the perfect picture of your bling to accompany your “I said ‘yes’!” status.
The beginning of an engagement can be a whirlwind of attention, celebration, and excitement, but after the phone calls and pictures die down, there’s some real planning to be done. It can be hard to put off the more fun and glamorous bridal duties like dress shopping and honeymoon planning, but there are a few to-dos that simply must come first.
The first task is also the most undesirable to tackle: the budget. Every decision you make pertaining to your big day will depend on budget, so it is necessary to get some hard numbers set in the beginning. It is also important to discuss with both families how the wedding will be paid for. Tradition leans towards the bride’s family footing the bill, but in today’s world, anything goes. It is not uncommon for both families to share the cost, for the bride and groom to pay for everything themselves, or for a mixture of all parties to chip in. Have the budget conversation early and include everyone necessary so as to avoid any misunderstandings in the future. It is helpful to have an idea of what big-ticket items you want most. Is the dress the most important to you, or is it the photographer? The florist? Some light research into these items will give you a realistic idea of their cost and help you to distribute the budget accordingly. Remember, always leave a little wiggle room for the unexpected.
After the budget is set, the next major line item is booking the venue. Venues book up quickly, so if you have a place in mind, call them ASAP! Venues can dictate much of your wedding, so be sure to read the fine print when picking a place. First of all, your date is dependent on their availability, so be flexible if you have to have this place. Setting the date for a Friday or Sunday could help you get your dream location and likely at a cheaper price. In addition, booking in the off-season (November-March for most locations) can offer availability and discounts, too.
Secondly, your venue will dictate the number of guests you are allowed to have. Once you find out how many the venue holds, hammer down a guest list. This can be a tough task and feelings can be hurt, so take your time with this decision.
Lastly, many venues require that you use their vendors. For some brides, this is a relief— venue, caterer, florist, and photographer all in one. For others, this hinders plans and locks them into those vendors’ prices. If you already have vendors in mind, be sure to check with your venue about its policy.
If you are choosing your own vendors individually, they are your next step. Like anything good, reputable vendors are booked up quickly. Set your date and lock in your top picks as soon as you can. Be sure to discuss your budget with each of them and get a copy of all contracts on paper.
Now that all of that is done, it’s on to the fun! Grab the girls and head to the boutiques, discuss colors, and cake flavors, and watch your Pinterest wedding board come to life (eek!!), and just have fun and enjoy this exciting time.