You said YES to the person of your dreams! Now what?
Planning a wedding is like a second job
Hooray! You said "YES!" and the moment you’ve dreamed of is finally here. Now what?
Well, keep it to yourselves for a while.
Whether for a few hours or a few days, you don't have to tell anyone right away. You can have a wonderful little secret and get some major intimacy mileage out of it. Once you stop the ride to share the news, questions start and the wedding planning "fun" begins.
What are the next steps?
Choose some possible dates
This decision will set the stage, so to speak. Choosing a couple dates will give you some flexibility. If your perfect venue isn't available or if it’s Great Aunt Suzy's 100th, you can cross that date off the list. Or not. Choosing a month or season is even easier – just pray that this flexible attitude stays with you until the honeymoon starts.
Start Researching and Interviewing Vendors
If you haven't already, get on social media and start following vendors. (If you're not engaged, but see it coming, you should do this too.) The biggest ones to follow: photographer and wedding planner. These are the two that you’ll be spending the most time with, so make sure you like them. Your photographer should be someone you feel yourself around and share a compatible style with. If you've got a moody, edgy persona, a natural light photographer won’t produce what you want.
Same goes for your planner/stylist/coordinator: You will become friends by the end, so follow their Instagram, check out their website and take your time. Interview all your vendors, or just interview your planner and have them choose the vendors. But you don’t want to be three months from the big day and realize that you picked the wrong somebody.
Choose a Wedding Style/Theme, Create an Inspiration Board
With the rise of Pinterest, it’s way easier to daydream about your future wedding(s) than it was in the olden days when you needed a paperweight and shoe boxes. (I still can’t fathom that people once bought heavy things to hold papers down. Rocks, apparently, were an office supply until the 1950’s. Weird.) If you're one of those rare few who haven't started planning your wedding for fear that it may jinx you, get on the internet. Now.
You need to decide on a style or theme, and this is something your planner/stylist can help you with. With this theme in mind, eliminate all those pins that DO NOT match. Those cool mason jar wine goblets will not match your black tie affair, you do not need them. Think of it as wedding planning minimalism—you are removing the unnecessary.
Set a Budget and Start Saving
probably the worst. If you have family willing to help with the wedding, this is where you ask them how much. If you two will pay it all yourselves, decide how much you can afford without heading into the poorhouse and stick to it. I absolutely recommend against going into debt just for your wedding. Especially young couples.
Your wedding planner should help track and budget your expenses. MY tip: Choose the three things most important to you and give that a higher percentage. Prioritizing your wedding costs will help you divide your budget and keep you right-side up. Example: For my wedding, our top three are photography, live music and alcohol, so that's where we are allocating most of our budget. I spent $3 on my shoes because I know I will end up taking them off anyway. Freebird, amiright?
Marriage or Couples' Counseling
I see this as a preventative act. Usually couples seek counseling once it’s too late, after years of grief.
Counseling now will be a good way to figure out things together ― your love languages, the way you communicate, how your partner receives your communication. Consider this a way to learn more about each other that maybe you wouldn't learn otherwise.
Ask for Help
Seriously. Wedding planning is like a second job. If you need help, ask for it. People LOVE helping with wedding stuff. Your fiancé, your friends, your bridal party, your family ― they want to help you! No use getting stressed over something by thinking you have to do it by yourself.
Hire a wedding planner. A wedding planner should be your friend, your guide, your light through this journey. You want to enjoy your engagement; you need to spend this magical time planning your marriage—let someone else plan the big day.
Brittany Sneed is a future bride and the owner of Simply Gypsy Events, a boutique wedding planner and coordinator based in Colorado and the Midwest specializing in destination weddings.