Congratulations on your engagement! This is such an exciting time in your life and you don't want to be stressed out BUT you probably are. You've been waiting for him to propose and now that he has, everything is coming at you at high-speed. Many of my clients say that they had an idea of what they wanted their wedding to look like but once they got engaged, all of that went out the window. The engagement period really should be a time to celebrate this next step in your relationship, not a time to be consumed with planning and stress. Here are six planning steps to take within the first month of your engagement that will help take away some of that stress.
1. Pick a date or two. Picking a date gives you direction in the beginning. You may have a venue in mind that you've always wanted to be married in but they may be booked on your date. If you're flexible you may find more success in booking a venue.
2. Sit down with your fiancé and put together a budget. You won't know exactly what things cost immediately but come up with a number that you are comfortable with spending. If the average cost of a wedding in your city is $55,000 but you can only spend $30,000, that's your number. Now is not the time to try to keep up with the Joneses.
3. Hire a wedding planner. It kills me when I hear people say that a friend of a friend or their aunt who "does events" is going to handle their wedding. There is so much more to planning a wedding than fluffing your dress right before you walk down the aisle. We're here to ensure that you make it TO the aisle! Figure out what the most important things are that you are looking for in a planner and while you're interviewing, keep those them in mind. Don't hire someone based solely on their Instagram account or their pricing alone. Ask for references and talk to their previous clients. If you think it's expensive to hire a professional, try hiring an amateur. Trust me on this one.
4. Find a venue. Your venue will help you determine your guest list. If your dream venue can only hold 100 people but you have at least 200 that you want to invite, keep looking. This part takes a little bit of time because you have to make appointments to see each venue. Put together a list of 3 that you like and start there.
5. Make a guest list. I always tell my clients to make 3 lists. Your first consists of your family and friends who you would put into your lifeboat if you were on a sinking ship. You have limited space on this lifeboat so make those people count. Second, make a list of the people who you would add onto your boat if there were a few extra seats. These are cousins who you talk to at Christmas time and that's it. You'd like to see them at your wedding but if they aren't there, it won't ruin your day. The final list consists of those coworkers who you see 40 hours a week and commiserate about work with but you wouldn't pick up the phone to call them after 5:00 pm. Remember that you have to feed each guest and that's where a huge chunk of your budget will go. If you wouldn't pay $100 for their meal, don't invite them. Making a guest list should be taken that seriously.
6. Designate a wedding-free time-zone. As involved as your fiancé may be, he doesn't want to talk about wedding details every day for the next year. No one wants to do that, not even you. There really isn't a need to talk about your wedding every day during your engagement. That's why you hire a planner to handle all of the little details so that your relationship doesn't become all about your wedding. Remember that you still have to take care of your relationship.