Oh heeey party people! First things first, CONGRATULATIONS! Yay, you’re engaged! So freakin’ exciting! I’m so happy for you and I’m glad you stumbled upon this blog to read up on what to do next. In this post, I’ll be going through the first six steps you should take to get started with wedding planning.
If you prefer to listen to what you should do, check out my podcast episode here where my husband and I talk about our engagement and planning process.
CELEBRATE YOUR ENGAGEMENT
This seems like a super obvious one, right? Take a moment to breathe in and live in this moment. You. Are. Engaged. Say what? You said YAAAS so drink that champagne, sip on that whiskey, go on a date, jump around, do what you wanna do! Ain’t nobody gonna judge you and if they do, well, they’re just jealous. Haha all jokes aside, celebrate to your heart’s desire because this moment is special.
You can celebrate with a fun, themed engagement party, intimately with immediate family members or just you two going out on a date and being in this moment together. Find out how we celebrated by listening to our podcast here.
DRAFT YOUR GUEST LIST
Sit down with your partner and start drafting a guest list. Notice I said draft. You are going to be going back to this guest list and changing it throughout your engagement, but it’s important to get the best idea of how many people you want to invite. This is your base and what is going to drive so many of your decisions when planning your wedding.
Your guest list will always be a working document but to start it off, you can draft your list in three categories:
Plan A - This is your must have guests, no questions about it. They are your closest family and friends that you really want at your wedding and means so much to you.
Plan B - These guests are good friends that you would want to have if you didn’t have to think about your budget. They can also be the significant others of your Plan A guests. Put your Plan B guests in order of importance so that when people in your Plan A list declines, you can switch the Plan B guests into your Plan A.
Plan C - These guests would be nice to have. They can be your acquaintances or co-workers, maybe old friends you haven’t seen in a while but still has a place in your heart. These guests can also be ones your parents want to invite who you have no idea existed until you started planning for a wedding. They can be your parent’s co-workers or long lost cousins. You can start inviting them as you get closer to the wedding or invite them to the dance portion of the event, explaining to them that you're over capacity for the venue but would love to still celebrate with them with dancing and desserts.
CREATE YOUR BUDGET & FIGURE OUT YOUR FINANCES
Oh man… now you have to talk real talk! How much are you willing to spend? BE REALISTIC based on your vision and your amount of guests. Google search the average amount spent in the city you are getting married in to have a better idea. Your budget is really going to depend on what matters to you. You can spend the same amount of money with more guests, less decor OR more decor, less guests.
Talk to your family about IF they’re willing to contribute and how much. When you get a better idea from them, it’ll help you in budgeting.
Open up a joint savings account to help you save together and track your savings better. I recommend a high-yield savings account or money market account. We currently have Wealthfront and it's been a game-changer with how we save. Feel free to use my code and sign up here.
Have a savings plan so you can project how much you will actually have. You can download my savings template on Excel and learn more about how we personally saved money for our wedding in my blog post here.
TALK TO YOUR PARTNER ABOUT YOUR DREAM WEDDING
Allow each of you to talk about what your dream wedding is, then talk about how you can incorporate both of your ideas of a dream wedding and how it can speak to you as individuals but also as a couple. A question to ask yourselves is “What are my Top 3 most important aspects of the wedding that matter to me?” For my husband and me, we were both on the same page as far as photography, videography and food! Knowing your Top 3 as a couple can help you prioritize when planning and dealing with your budget.
RESEARCH & FIND INSPIRATION
Before you start signing up for all the newsletters, creating a Pinterest account and reaching out to vendors, create a joint email! This is going to help keep all wedding-related items in one place that you both can view easily instead of looking at each other’s email inboxes and losing important information in all the other emails.
Go to wedding fairs with your spouse, family and friends if you can! It’s super fun - you can gather more decor inspiration, see what other vendors and venues are out there, and join contests or raffles to win things for your wedding. WeddingWire and The Knot are the most obvious resources for vendors, but also take a look at your local wedding magazines and check out Instagram for local vendors!
CHOOSE A DATE & VENUE
Next, it’s time to choose a venue! Keep a few dates in mind so that you can be a bit flexible when choosing your venue. Don’t set your heart on one date because there could be a strong chance that it’s booked, especially if you’re booking less than 12 months ahead of time. People are fast!
It’s also good to keep in mind that you may not find the absolute most perfect venue but you will find one that fits most of your wants and needs. Always make a pros and cons list so you can feel good about your decision.
For more tips on venues and what you should know when choosing the right one for you, listen to my podcast episode here where I talk to a Venue Sales Manager from San Francisco.
I hope this helps you as you kick off your planning process. Congratulations again on getting engaged! You're going to have so much fun planning your big day. If you have any questions, leave a comment below or chat with me on my website. I'm here to help you!
Check out my podcast episode here for more details on the engagement process. Happy planning, party people!
With love & confetti,