Did you get engaged? First of all, CONGRATULATIONS! I'm here to help you through the planning process any way I can so here are some steps you will need to take (in THIS order) so let's jump right into it!
There are a lot of little things that you will need to take care of prior to actually planning your wedding. Such as; showing your ring to everyone. I mean, showing it to everyone that you pass on the sidewalk. Women you see in the restroom at Happy Hour. Your ex-boyfriend (especially!). And, to ALL your friends. Just stick your hand out an tell everyone you got engaged. This is a milestone in life, so tell everyone!!!
Ok, if you’re more of an introvert, then maybe just show it to your BF and your parents. And, don’t’ forget to write it in your journal! You need to capture every single moment.
Those of us that are extroverts are more likely to buy a digital billboard advertisement that states, “I said YES!”
The FIRST action you will need to take is announcing your engagement. Again, see notes above, but if you are planning a big wedding, your circle of friends and distant relatives would love to know. This doesn’t have to be a formal announcement, if you don’t want to spend the money on it. You can create an announcement easily online at Etsy and Minted (my favorite) and post it on all your SM handles. Make sure and check out Appy Couple. This is a great site for fun announcements and wedding websites.
SECOND, is to select your DATE. If y’all are ready to tie the knot, then let’s go! If you haven’t ready my blog on “Are you Married to Your Date or Your Venue?” Take a look at this post before you move on reading. You want to have a few dates in mind. Reason being, if you find a venue and it is booked on your “cherished” date, then you need to make sure that you’re no committed to your date, but the venue. The venue you select is critical because it's the venue that gives you the vision.
Another thing to keep in mind when selecting your date is MAKE SURE and check if there are any special events (major sports games, citywide events, festivals, etc). Like, do not have your wedding during Mardi Gras in New Orleans....(this may sound like fun, but it would be a nightmare to coordinate!).
And, all my brides will tell you that you will know instantly when you are venue searching that THIS one is THE ONE. The venue that gives you a thrill the second you walk in is the ONE!
Trust me, listen to the chills of excitement that you get when you envision your wedding at that particular venue. Don’t ignore that sign.
With that being said, that was the THIRD action item: finding your venue. So, if your date isn’t available at that venue, pick another date!!! You shouldn’t think twice about it.
Number FOUR is ME!! Your planner. Hopefully, I will get the honor to help you on your wedding day, but if I’m not available a planner is your next step. Let me emphasize….your planner will make or break your wedding day. Please meet your planner in person or on Zoom or whatever. You need to gauge their expressions, their mannerisms, their level of sophistication and experience. Ask LOTS of questions. This will help you gauge just how much they are really interested in helping you.
A planner is there to “guide” you, not to do it THEIR way. This is your wedding, not hers. Make sure this person is flexible if you want to have juggling monkeys half-way through your ceremony!
If you get a bad vibe or don’t feel 100% sure about your planner, she/he is NOT the one! Most planners want to meet you in person, as well. We need to make sure we are a good fit for YOU and vice versa. So, the “interview” goes both ways.
With ALL of your wedding vendors and venues, make sure and read reviews. Ask your friends or family who they used. Referrals are the best way to make your selections. And, I say this, because there are a lot of wedding vendors that are NOT professional vendors. Do your research!
Number FIVE is your PHOTOGRAPHER. If the photos are a big deal to you (and this is the most important step to a lot of couples), repeat step FOUR!
Photography is not cheap. Be picky. Ask around, read reviews. Look at their art. In this case, sometimes the personality doesn’t match their work. So, review their work and their contract. Review the contract carefully. Sometimes, the photographer will offer free bridal portrait sessions and other minor freebies, other times, they may not. Just ask!
See if your photographer will provide a custom photo album or any other accessories (frames or canvas prints, etc). If they don't and you're a creative, then head on over to Scrapbook and have a ball building your scrapbook BEFORE you even get your photos!
The rest of the vendors don’t have to go in any special order EXCEPT if you desire to hire a BAND. Bands book-up FAST! Especially if they’re good.
Music is another important aspect of a wedding. Bad DJ’s and bands will kill your wedding.
I’ve shared a lot of bad instances with DJs and the damage that hiring a “cheap” DJ can do to your wedding, so check out my other blogs on this topic.
The one thing that I really want to leave with you is that you know what’s important on your wedding day. Is it the cake? Is it the garter toss (I have seen some REALLY cool garter tosses!)? The food?
Think seriously about what you’re willing to negotiate or give up and what you’re not. Make your list of non-negotiables and stick with it. Remember, this is YOUR wedding. It’s not your mom’s; not your best friend’s; and not your sister’s wedding. It’s YOURS. Make it unique. Make it YOURS.
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