Congratulations on your engagement!!!
If you are engaged and ready to plan your wedding, I have complied this list specifically for you. Planning a wedding can be fun but it can also be extremely stressful for the bride and groom. Lets jump right in an get started…
- The engagement! Your boyfriend has proposed to you and you are full of excitement. Enjoy this time by going out to dinner to celebrate, posting it all over social media or just spend time with your fiancé, soaking in all the joy and happiness!!! Be sure to spend some time during your engagement to open the line of communication about the wedding planning. Ask how involved your fiancé wants to be. Be sure to get his opinion on how he sees the day going, be sure to be completely inclusive and 100% fully open with the communication. Without clear understanding of what each other wants and the the willingness to communicate fully it will cause problems in the planning process. During this time be sure that you and your fiancé really talk about the details of the wedding, what type of wedding you want, a destination wedding, a local wedding, large wedding, small wedding, music or no music, buffet or plated, these decisions will come in handy in stage 2 and 4. While you are enjoying this blissful stage, be sure to get inspired by others weddings via Pinterest or google. And if you are visual, put a dream board together so you know what you want!
- Plan a budget!!! If you are anything like me, the numbers are awful, it really puts a dream fairy tale wedding in perspective but is completely necessary!!!! This will be crucial during your wedding planning to stay within you budget and to help minimize stress. As you and your fiancé are discussing numbers, figure out who will be paying for the wedding as that will play a huge role on the budget as well. For example, my husband and I were anticipating paying for the wedding ourselves, however I was not to proud to ask for assistance from my parents. My mom was willing to help in every way possible that she could stretch a dollar to give me a dream wedding day. My dad was not fully willing in the beginning but after a few conversations, he became more open minded and was willing to open his wallet. And my husbands family was also very giving, they wanted to contribute to our special day. So graciously it was all appreciated and put to good use. But no matter what you decide your budget to be, it is always possible to create a wedding in any budget as long as you are open to what it will look like.
- Pick a date! This is an important discussion to have with your fiancé. Discuss the time of year and be sure to discuss how it could impact on your work schedules. The most important key to picking a date is picking a date that suits you and your fiancé! It is very easy at this stage to make the wedding about others if you focus the date around others but don’t! Remember its your day so pick a date that suits yall, everyone that can make it will make it. My husband and I originally wanted Fall of 2019, because I wanted a short engagement and his favorite season is Fall, and we were discussing a destination wedding so we could truly experience the fullness of the season in a beautiful location. We ultimately decided on a winter wedding local to us in the Orlando area, so more family could attend. It worked out beautifully for us, as we married on a unique date, 02/02/2020, and we didn’t knowingly pick Super Bowl Sunday but we lucked out as we had a morning wedding scheduled so it didn’t impact the game time. Important side note picking a date will also play a role in budget, different cites and states have varying wedding seasons and based off those seasons, pricing will be increased. And the more time you give yourself for wedding planning the more time you have to save if you are paying for this special day by yourself. Side note, some blogs and articles will say that you should base your wedding day off your venue, if you are one of those brides that already knows the venue then by all means take this approach. This wasn’t my approach and as a bride I was more open to the venue than the date.
- Pick your bridal squad and grooms team. You can do this however you want, I personally sent a proposal box to each bridesmaid. My husband, Keith, either met up with his guys and asked face-to-face or called them directly. No matter how you do it, just be sure to have the date and location so they can be sure to be able to fully commit without having to back out later.
- Attend wedding shows or google vendors and get quotes. I did most of my planning through TheKnot.com, I was able to find local vendors through the site. It was easy for me to keep up with everything wedding through the site. However, I did do additional research through google in order to be able to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. I also attended a wedding event with a girlfriend of mine, so I could enjoy the experience but ultimately it allowed me to meet and greet the vendors I would go on to work with on my wedding day. No matter how you do it, just get multiple quotes from multiple vendors. They will ask what your budget is, so be sure you know this information, it will help you and the vendor work together to make sure you get everything you want. Also be sure to ready your contracts before signing!!
- Keep everyone informed! This is crucial because the more people know the less you have to worry. This is where creating a wedding website came in handy for me, because instead of telling 150 the same thing each time they would text or call I would just send them the link so they could find all the important information they needed and there wouldn’t be any miscommunication if they read it. However do not share every detail with everyone, you will create chaos with getting too many people involved. Keep some people on a need to know basis, this will help keep extra unwanted opinions unknown.
- Enjoy the showers and parties, during the wedding planning process it can get stressful because not everyone will have the same motivation as you and their excitement will be completely different than yours. So when your friends and families want to treat you with showers and parties, focus your energy there and be sure to enjoy them, do not let wedding stress cloud those experiences. If you need help ask your bridesmaids to help remind you to enjoy and share the load with them if you get too stressed out. I personally wasn’t able to do that until the night before the wedding, I was officially burnt out and needed to relinquish all responsibility to them and they were so wonderful to take it all on.
- Do not forget the small touches. For example, I wasn’t expecting it to be cold in Central Florida in winter, since its uncommon, but we were getting married in the morning by a lake, therefore I order blankets for our guest to bundle up in during the ceremony. It was a great decision because they were needed as it was a very cool and windy morning. But very important to remember when you get the small touches, the costs of the small touches add up, be sure to include it in your budget. My small touches added up a lot quicker that I anticipated.
- When in doubt or overwhelmed, ask for help! If you are not one to plan and would rather not have the extra stress, hire a wedding planner! I was prepared to take on the wedding planning and really wanted full control of it, however a couple different times during the wedding year, I was ready to quit, I hired someone to help me and then a month before the wedding I was ready to completely give all control to the wedding planner. Its okay if you want or need help! They will ensure your day aligns with what you want.
- The Dress! This is something you should plan to give yourself 6+ months to purchase in its entirety. I purchased my dress from a boutique wedding shop, so the designers only give the boutique one size in one style, so when you find the one and purchase it, then the designer will make that style dress, brand new in your size. However sometimes even the sizes need will come in and require some alterations, and alterations take time. For example, my dress came in and almost was a perfect fit except for the length, I had to have a lot of fabric removed from the bottom of the dress and the straps needed to be taken up half an inch. So give yourself plenty of time to do the wedding dress shopping. And remember you will know the right dress. I personally cried when I found mine.
- The day of the wedding enjoy!! Most important, the wedding day will fly by, be sure to eat- demand the caterer to provide you a meal and demand you be left alone for 5 minutes to scarf it down. Also on the day of be sure to let go. There is nothing you can do on that day to fix or change in the last minutes, if something goes wrong and something will go wrong, its okay because you did everything right during planning, the day of craziness will bring mistakes but it will be still be the best day to remember. Also remind yourself continuously to enjoy that day, soak it all in and try to remember as much as you possibly can, because it goes by fast and it’s easy to not notice all the work you did. Last but not least be sure you decide how you want to spend the reception, its your day so if you want to spend the whole reception socializing with guests then spend it that way, if you want to cut loose and dance, then your guests can come dance with you. For me personally I was so stressed, I told Keith that he could socialize and make the rounds at the tables and talk but for me I needed to cut loose and enjoy all the labor I put into the wedding by dancing the day away and drinking. So we spent the day just the way we wanted to. I loved how our day was spent celebrating us but we were able to each celebrate in the way we were comfortable celebrating.
Congratulations and best of luck. If you have questions or want recommendations for wedding planning in the Orlando or Atlanta area (I know a wedding planner directly there) please let me know, as it would be an honor to help you create your special day anyway I can.