You’re engaged! Cue the confetti, pop the champagne, and soak in this truly special time in your life with your fiance, family, and friends! You’ve probably been dreaming of this for quite some time, and can’t believe it’s finally here! So, now what? After you have celebrated, announced the big news, gotten your ring sized if needed, and you are ready to start the wedding planning process… where do you begin? I have put together a short list of the first five things to do to get your planning off to a great start!
You may have already done a good bit of research (wedding Pinterest boards for days), but it’s time to familiarize yourself with what really goes into the type of wedding you want to have, as well as averages for what each vendor category costs. It’s important to do this with your fiance, and maybe even with your families too depending on who will be involved in planning and funding the wedding. Educating yourself first will help you so much when it comes to choosing vendors, so you don’t walk into any conversations feeling blind.
2. Pick 3 Dates
The number is really up to you, but try not to get your heart set on one and only one date. There are a lot of other items to consider when choosing your date, depending on what is important to you. For me personally, we chose two different months (in different seasons of the year), and then went from there. It’s almost impossible to choose a date where every single person you want to attend can make it, but consider your family and close friends’ schedules. Also think about holidays, sports seasons (my family loves college football so one of our wedding date options that fell on an important bowl game didn’t get chosen). In Florida, you may also consider time of year as far as heat, rainy seasons, and hurricane season. Last, you may want to choose your date working around the venue of your dreams, or an important vendor’s availability too.
3. Choose a Venue OR Create Guest List
So this is one or the other depending on what is more important to you. If you already have a venue in mind that you can’t imagine not getting married at no matter the size or cost per person, then choose the venue first. If you can’t imagine cutting down your guest list to fit into either a small venue or higher priced venue, finalize your guest list then find a venue that will fit it. Note that venues tend to book up quickly- some even a year and a half or more in advance. I found this to be true when planning my own wedding!
4. Choose your Photographer, Videographer, Caterer
The next step is booking the vendors that are crucial and that tend to book up in advance. This would be your photographer (hi!), videographer, and caterer (if not handled by the venue). Since these vendors are a very important part of your day, definitely do your research, ask for referrals, TALK to (not just email) or meet in person with them. Don’t book someone just because they are in your budget and are available. Take enough time to get a feel for their personality, how they work, and how they will serve you on your big day. Hire vendors who fit your style as well! If you need help with this with photography, I would be more than happy to answer any questions you have. It can be hard to know what everything means, what the different styles are, and seeing different packages. I would love to help in any way I can!
5. Hire a Wedding Planner
I wish I could go back in time and hire a planner for my wedding! If you want to ensure you truly enjoy this season, hire a planner and you won’t regret it. Not only will a planner help you, she will also serve as a knowledgeable third party, and will make the lives of your other wedding vendors so much easier! Without a planner, your other vendors will have to wear many more hats on a wedding day. That takes away from their actual job and reduces the amount of time and energy they can give to you.
I am thrilled for you as you begin this exciting journey next to the one you love. If you have any questions or want some advice, I love listening and helping however I can.
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