Congratulations! You’re engaged! The love of your life has POPPED the big question, and you said yes. You called your parents, showed off your ring, and posted the good news to all of your social media accounts. Now you’re probably sitting here thinking “I’m engaged...now what?”
If you’re wondering what to do after getting engaged, these 5 first steps of wedding planning will be a great start.
But before you do anything else, take a moment to TAKE THIS IN. You found a partner to spend the rest of their life with you! As you start the wedding planning process and the inevitable stress that comes with it, just remember that your wedding won’t last forever. While it may be stressful at times, remember that at the end of the day, you’ll be married!
Now that you’ve taken a moment to remember what this whole process is about, let’s help you figure out exactly what to do after getting engaged.
Here are 5 wedding planning first steps to get you started:
#1) Create a Wedding Budget
Before you deep-dive into wedding planning mode, please please please establish a budget! How much can you afford to spend on your wedding? No matter your financial situation, you do not need to go into debt for your wedding. There are so many amazing resources for brides on a budget. So no matter what your budget may be, you can make it work.
If you’ve had family offer to pitch in for your wedding day, now is the time to have those difficult conversations. In order to officially start planning your wedding, you need to know the total budget you’re working with. There is nothing worse than falling in love with a wedding venue just to later find out you cannot afford it. Once you know what your exact budget is going to be, start researching the average cost of wedding vendors in your area. Don’t just go with the first one to call you back--get multiple quotes and compare. Once you are armed with this knowledge, you can use it to inform your budget for each vendor before making any commitments.
#2) Determine Your Wedding Planning Priorities
So, you’ve called every wedding vendor in town, and your mind is spinning with different numbers! Now is the time to think about your wedding day and identify what aspects of your wedding are most important to you. This is going to look different for every couple and that is perfectly OK.
For example, is photography your jam so naturally you’d like the best wedding photographer out there? They should have a larger piece of your budget. Or, are you a foodie who wants to impress your guests with a lavish meal? Or a night-owl who wants to keep your guests dancing ‘til dawn? You get the point. By identifying what is most important to you, you will be able to identify whether you need a high-end DJ, or a high-end caterer.
Unless your budget is truly limitless, you are going to be faced with some difficult decisions. After all, high end wedding vendors are high-end wedding vendors for a reason! By prioritizing your wedding needs, it will be much easier for you to determine where to splurge and where to save before making any wedding vendor commitments.
Whatever vendors mean the most to you... hire them first! If you wait until the last minute, you’ll find that your options have become increasingly limited due to budget and availability.
#3) Create a Wedding Mood Board
Alright, here’s the fun part… developing your wedding aesthetic and wedding mood board! I personally recommend Pinterest, but bridal magazines and general web searches can also be incredible resources. As you comb through different images, you will probably change your mind a few times about your color palette. Trust me...the options can be overwhelming.
If it helps, you can start by narrowing down your wedding aesthetic to a general season or theme. This will help set the tone for the rest of your wedding planning and decision making. When in doubt, a wedding designer can also help you narrow down your choices.
#4) Estimate A Wedding Guest Count
After you’ve begun honing your wedding aesthetic, it is time to start your wedding guest list. Making a list of everyone important to you will help you approximate how many guests you will have in attendance. This does not need to be your final wedding guest list, but having an estimated wedding guest count is crucial to securing a wedding venue that can hold all your guests while staying within your budget. A 50 person and a 300 person wedding are very different and will require very different budgets and wedding venues.
#5) Secure Your Wedding Date & Venue
Last but certainly not least, you’ll want to book your wedding venue! By now, you should have your wedding budget, wedding guest count, and wedding aesthetic narrowed down. All of these choices will inform your decisions when hunting for the perfect wedding venue and setting a date. Once you have your wedding venue and date officially booked, all of the other details will begin to fall into place.