You're engaged! Now what?
Question popped. They said yes! So exciting, congratulations! After you have stopped crying and called your mom, here are the first few things to jump start your wedding planning process.
Step One- Get the Word Out!
In the era of social media, we think you should pause before making it Facebook official. This is such a big and personal moment of your life, we think it requires a real human connection to share it. So depending on who you want to tell and where they live, either pick up the phone, stop by for coffee or start your Skype video. These moments of real connection only add to the special feeling that the engagement brings. Once you have shared the news with all your close loved ones, time to start posting, Tweeting and Instagramming.
Step Two- What season speaks to you?
Close your eyes and envision you and your partner on your wedding day. What do you see? Snow covered mountains? Crisp air and falling leaves? Sand under your feet? Or trees budding with the smell of dew in the air? This will let you know if you are a winter, fall, spring or summer couple. From experience, this is the easiest decision to make. A lot of the time the season you pick will influence your design. Once you know your season, pick a date and start planning!
Step Three- Draft Your Guest List
This daunting task rates as one of the hardest parts about planning a wedding. While a standard approach is to draft a budget and then a guest list, we like to switch it up. We find that couples have an easier time starting with their big wish list and then once a budget is established, whittling it down based on their established per person costs. It makes taking people off the list a little more logical than emotional.
We suggest making a spreadsheet and have a tab for "A" and a tab for "B." The "A" list should consist of close family members, close friends and any other must haves. The "B" list should consist of anyone that you would love to have there but don't have the budget for.
Be strategic when sending out your invites! The standard is to mail out the invitations 6-8 weeks before your wedding date. We suggest mailing to your "A" list 10 weeks out. This will give you an extra two weeks to send out invitations to your "B" list as you receive regrets from the "A" list. Not everyone will be able to join, so if you stay on top of the RSVP list you will be able to supplement from your "B" list and end up having the exact guest list that you were hoping for!
Step Four- Let's Talk Budget!
Whether you want a lavish affair or an intimate backyard wedding, you need to have a budget that works for you and helps you make informed decisions as you go through the planning process.
The first step in budget planning is to have honest conversations with yourself, your partner and any family members that might be contributing to the wedding. We suggest talking with each family separately. This allows the conversation to be honest and private. If there are family members that are going to contribute, ask them to commit to a certain dollar amount so you know what you should be adding to your overall budget.
As you will come to understand your budget is a fluid thing, you will adjust it as you go. For your reference here is a standard breakdown of how your budget should be allocated but make it work for you and your wants and needs
Wedding Rings: 2%-3%
With these first few steps you will be on your way to planning an amazing and meaningful day for both you and your guests! Have any questions or other concerns? Comment below and we will do our best to answer them!