Updated: Dec 31, 2019
1. B-R-E-A-T-H-E: This is a huge moment! Take a minute to let it sink in and savor the feeling. You’ll have plenty of time - months, in fact - to enjoy being engaged with your friends and family. You’ll only have these few minutes with just the two of you. So pop that bottle of champagne, go on a nice walk, or just sit and smile for an hour before you open the doors and welcome the rest of the world in.
2. Call Your Momma: And your Dad. Your sister, your brother, your best friend. Anyone who you consider to be family. Yes, your wedding is about you and your fiancé, but it’s also about all those people who supported you along the way. It’s tempting to let excitement carry you away and jump on that ring selfie - who doesn’t want to show off that new bling?? - but your loved ones will will appreciate it if you take the bit of extra time to pick up the phone and let them know in person before you post that status update.
3. Size and Insure the Ring: You’ve got the ring on your finger - you don’t want to lose it now! A quick trip to a jeweler can ensure it fits properly and won’t fall off while you’re showing it off to all your friends. And while you’re at the jeweler, ask them about their recommendations about insurance for your ring as well - in case it does fall off one day.
4. Discuss Budget: You’ve been adding to a Pinterest board for years now, you have a secret collection of wedding magazines in your sock drawer, ‘Say Yes to the Dress,’ is your favorite TV show, you’re ready to get started on planning...but stop right there until you figure out a budget. Weddings can be pricey, so before you set yourself loose, sit down with your partner and discuss the parameters of a budget. If your parents are offering help, be sure to have a talk with them as well about exactly what they’re comfortable spending. The last thing you want is to let financial disagreements and stress ruin what should be a beautiful day!
If you need help organizing your wedding budget - check out this awesome budget tracker I created after my wedding planning experience: https://www.ae-invitations.com/product-page/wedding-budget-planner
5. Create a Dream Plan: No matter what your budget, don’t give up on your Pinterest board! There are tons of great ideas online or in magazines for brides, no matter what your budget. If you know what you want, it’ll be easier for planners and vendors to work with you and help turn your perfect day from a dream into a reality.
6. Draft a Guest List: Everyone’s least favorite wedding chore, but getting it done makes everything else so much easier! Even if you already have a venue in mind, finish a rough draft of your guest list first, so you’re certain your location can accommodate everyone you want to enjoy your big day with you.
If you need help organizing your guest list - check out this awesome tracker I created after my wedding planning experience:
7. Pick a Tentative Date and get in touch with Venues: Many venues book up fast and far ahead of time. Fall and Spring are especially popular seasons, so if you have your heart set on changing leaves or those June flowers for the background of your photos, be sure to reach out quickly to venues you like. Some couples have a special date in mind and you may find, if this is you, that you have to compromise on the venue in order to get your exact date. Decide what’s more important to you - the location or the day - and go from there.
8. Research Planners and Vendors: You. Will. Want. A. Planner. Even if they’re only a Day-Of Coordinator. Your wedding day will have so many moving parts, it’s invaluable to have someone else there to handle vendors, photographers, and guests. Many venues offer this service, sometimes at an extra price. If they don’t or if you’d rather vet and hire your own, many wedding planners offer full or day-of service. Reach out to a few in your area. No one knows vendors, photographers, and venues better than a good wedding planner. After all, it’s their job to help brides create their dream weddings!
Use your plan to decide what you’ll need as far as vendors and reach out to a few that pique your interest.
9. Find Your Photographer - and Take Engagement Photos: Like venues, good photographers book up months in advance, so you’ll want to reach out as soon as you have a date set. Decide what you want as far as packages. Many photographers offer free engagement photos, but you will need to specify if you want them there for the entire day from getting ready until you’re driving away at the end of the night, or if you’ll only want the ceremony and part of the reception photographed. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about pricing and what’s included in packages, they’re happy to answer questions! If you’re an adventurous bride, be sure to ask about boudoir photos as well!
10. B-R-E-A-T-H-E Again! Planning a wedding can be a whirlwind and it’s easy to get swept up in the action and forget to stop and enjoy the process. Don’t forget to take some time with just your fiancé to breathe and enjoy the moments, big and small. And never forget, no matter what happens, you’ll be married to your best friend at the end of it all!