What are the first things to do after getting engaged? It can feel overwhelming planning an entire wedding, and it’s hard to know where to start. How does one even begin planning a wedding? What are some things you can do now to save time and relieve stress?
In this post, we’re discussing the first steps we recommend to newly-engaged couples. There are a variety of things to do after getting engaged to make wedding planning much more seamless. We recommend starting off your wedding planning journey with these steps to start off organized and make the wedding planning process as stress-free as possible.
Establish Your Vision for Your Wedding
Your first thing to do after getting engaged should be establishing your vision for your wedding with your betrothed. Take some time to discuss together in-depth. In this conversation, you want to explore what matters most to both of you.
Wedding Vision Questionnaire
Here are a few questions we recommend asking:
- How do you want to feel on our wedding day?
- How do you want our guests to feel on our wedding day?
- What details of the wedding excite you the most (ex: great food, an exciting party, heirloom photos)?
- Are you considering eloping, or do you want to host a wedding?
- Are there any colors that you’re already envisioning for our wedding?
- Are you thinking an intimate wedding of our closest friends and family, a traditional big celebration, or somewhere in-between?
Starting with these questions will help you both determine what matters most to you about your wedding experience. Starting with the first question, what wedding choices or elements could you implement to achieve the feeling you’re wanting to achieve?
How to Implement the Wedding Vision Questionnaire
For example: if you said you wanted your wedding to feel “warm and conversational with quality time with family and friends,” you may be leaning more towards a more intimate wedding with a candlelit dinner and amazing food rather than a huge party. If you said “excitement,” you may be leaning towards things like an awesome band and fireworks.
The most important takeaway from this list is the last question: how many friends and family do you want to host? Elopements, intimate weddings, and traditional weddings all involve a different level of time to plan, logistics to execute, and budget to produce. Planning an elopement is a far different time and budget commitment than planning a wedding with 100 guests.
Set Your Wedding Date Range
Next, it’s time to set your wedding date range. If possible, we highly recommend setting a wedding date range or season rather than a specific date to begin planning. Having a flexible wedding date range to work with rather than a specific date gives you much more flexibility among venues and vendors. With venues, pricing can also vary by date and a range gives you the flexibility to select a date within your budget.
Align Your Wedding Colors with the Season
Refer back to the questions from the last section. If you have established some wedding colors that you’re drawn to, consider what season they’re associated with. For example: if you’re drawn to pastels, you may want to consider a spring wedding. If you have wedding colors in mind, it will be much easier to implement a color palette that’s in-season, especially with flowers.
Pro Tip: take this same approach later on in the wedding planning process as you tour wedding venues. It’s a logistic undertaking and an investment to completely reimagine a wedding venue to your wedding design. For example: if you’re planning a spring wedding with a pastel color palette, you probably want to pass on the venue with bright red carpet. Touring venues that are already at least mostly in-line with your wedding design makes things much easier in the long run.
Consider Wedding Location/Destination Details
After you have evaluated colors and season, evaluate high season for your location. If your wedding location is seasonal like the Amalfi Coast, determine when would be the ideal time to get married there: when you will have the best weather and when things will be open. In highly seasonal locations, there are months of the year when many businesses and vendors close down. While off-season bookings can result in lower prices, it’s important to evaluate if the reduced pricing outweighs an experience. Off-season weddings can mean most vendors are on vacation and not available. The weather might not be ideal, and even transportation can be limited in the low season.
If you’re getting married in a busy metropolitan area like Paris, ensure you have evaluated the local calendar for any special events in your date range. Avoid setting your wedding date on the same day as big events that can cause local prices and traffic to rise. This can cause logistic difficulties in transportation and greatly increased pricing for guest hotel rooms especially.
Create a Wedding Email Address and Get Organized
Before inquiring with a single vendor or venue, create a wedding email address. This email address is home to all of your wedding planning information, and wedding information only. This helps keep you organized by separating the flow of wedding emails to come from your daily life. It also gives you the option to disconnect from wedding planning when needed. This way, your work inbox isn’t overflowing with guest RSVPs and vendor proposals.
Create a Wedding Calendar
Our next step is to create a wedding calendar. Like your email, this allows you to have separation for wedding planning tasks to stay organized. This calendar should only have wedding-related events.
Set Your Wedding Budget
Next, set your wedding budget. Setting your wedding budget is one of the most important things to do after getting engaged. We understand that setting a wedding budget can be overwhelming and confusing. That’s why we created our free guide, Expensive Wedding Planning Mistakes to Avoid. This is a free getting started guide for some of the most common expensive wedding mistakes we see couples make, and it’s a great place to start.
What does a wedding budget include?
Your comprehensive wedding budget includes all the elements that produce your wedding day: venue, wedding planner, photographer, caterer, rentals, entertainment, bar service, transportation, invitations and paper goods, floral design, and more.
What typically isn’t included in your comprehensive wedding budget: wedding gown/attire and honeymoon expenses.
Add Wedding Budget Contributions
If parents or other loved ones will be contributing to the wedding budget, have those conversations to finalize their contribution. Add up all contributions to get your total wedding budget.
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