This is a magical time of year to get engaged. You’ve done the hard part, you’ve found the perfect partner to spend your life with. Now on to the next step, planning the wedding. We’ve talked to our top wedding experts and compiled the first steps to take once you’re engaged.
Number One – Celebrate!
First things first, you and your fiance should take a moment to truly appreciate what you’ve done. You’re engaged! You’ve found your life partner, the person you’ll wake up beside for the rest of your life. Before you get into the nitty gritty of planning your wedding, step back and enjoy this amazing milestone in your life. You’re engaged!! As you plan your wedding keep coming back to step one, and remember – this is what is most important. The life you will lead together.
Number Two – Reach Out Directly to Family and Close Friends
The temptation to blast out a photo of the ring and your smiling faces on Facebook and Instagram may be great, but be sure to call or visit your close friends and family first. You don’t want Mom and Dad to find out online. Not only that, this is a great way to bask in the joy. It’s something you and your fiance can do together. Talk about how you plan to tell them, will you blurt it out first thing? Make them guess the big news? Will you tell your own parents, or let your fiance share the news with his or her future in-laws? Whatever you decide, take the time to reach out personally to the most important people in your life before you make it public on social media.
Number Three – The First Big Wedding Discussion
This is the “big picture” step where you decide season, style and region. Ask yourself some broad questions. Is your dream wedding in the city? The beach? The mountains? Do you want to stay close to home or plan a destination event? What sorts of activities do you want to enjoy with your wedding guests? Do you like golf, skiing, walking, hiking, shopping, swimming in mountain streams, enjoying fine food, campfires, lawn games, snowshoeing, puzzles, card games? Have you always imagined snuggling up by a cozy fire with your friends and family? Or partying on a sandy beach?
These questions should help guide you in your first two big decisions – when and where. Decide if you’d like to plan your wedding for Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall and where you’d like to host it. If you’re looking for shopping and late night parties you can rule out country wedding venues, if your dream wedding includes skiing with friends you might choose a winter date in Vermont. If you imagine surrounding yourself with rustic elegance, taking in gorgeous Vermont scenery, Farm to Table meals and lots of time together with friends and family take a closer look at Riverside Farm.
Number Four – How Much Will You Spend?
Next you’ll need to talk about budget. The most important advice our experts gave on this – be open and honest. Talk to your fiance and family members about who will pay for what. Don’t assume anything. Then start to prioritize. Decide what is most important to you. Are you and your guests foodies? You might want to spend a little more on the caterer. Is the perfect venue the most important thing? That might be where you push your budget a little. Planning your wedding budget will be a fluid process, but you should have a ballpark idea of what you’re comfortable spending before you get too far in the planning process. One idea is to set aside a certain percentage of your budget for the things you fall in love with as you plan so you can spend a little more on that spectacular bouquet or special dessert that makes your wedding feel perfect. Many of the bigger wedding planning websites offer wedding budget calculators or wedding planning worksheets.
Number Five – Choose your Wedding Venue
Once you know where and when you want to get married and have a general idea of what you plan to spend, it’s time to choose your wedding venue. You won’t want to wait too long as venues are often booked a year in advance. If you’re planning a destination wedding be sure to ask the venue about lodging options. You’ll also want to know what assistance they’ll give you with your wedding planning and if you’ll have the venue to yourself. Some wedding venues may host multiple events in one day. Once you ask all your questions, be sure to visit the venue and take a tour – then trust your instincts. If you love it, it’s the place for you.
Number Six – Take a Deep Breath
At this point you’ve accomplished a lot, take a deep breath and revisit step one. Always remember – the relationship you are deepening with your fiance is the most important part of the process. You’ll have many challenges and celebrations ahead of you, think of wedding planning as a practice run. Choosing guest lists, menus and music will be an opportunity to blend your families cultures, and build a strong foundation for your future. Celebrate life, you are in love!