Since I got engaged last August (read our sweet proposal story here!), things have been an insane roller coaster. The moment when I committed to the love of my life that I will be with him forever was a special day that I will always cherish close to my heart.
Now here I am, 5 months after my engagement, after the initial excitement and shock of the engagement wore off, I realized, Oh crap. I actually have to start planning this thing!! Since I’m not getting married until 2017, I had put this thing on the backburner for quite some time. Don’t get me wrong. I am one of those girls who has been dreaming of her wedding ever since she was a little girl, and I am extremely excited to start planning it. However, as someone who has never planned a wedding before, wedding planning is a brand new, scary world for me. I feel like I have no clue what I’m really doing, and you probably won’t either. But you know what? That’s okay. Because along with everything else in life, you learn as you go when you start to plan your wedding.
Have you recently been engaged? If so, CONGRATS!!!!! Whether your wedding is two years away or 6 months away here are 10 things I would recommend from personal experience that you start doing as soon as you engaged.
1.) Get your ring sized & insured
You got the rock! ….but it doesn’t fit. You’re going to want to size that puppy up so it doesn’t fall off. When I got my ring, my fiancé picked out a size 7 when actually I was a size 5. I went in and got it sized as soon as I could because I was afraid I would lose it otherwise!
In addition, if your ring isn’t insured yet, make sure you get that taken care of.
2.) Set a date
The quicker you set a date, the easier your wedding planning will be. We always knew that we wanted a Fall wedding. Even though we didn’t plan on getting married until two years after our date, we set a date within a few days after our engagement. Also keep in mind that if you are engaged, I’m guessing that this likely the time that many of your friends are getting engaged as well. If you set a date, it ensures that you aren’t stepping on anyone else’s date and that your date won’t get chosen as well. I have a friend who is getting married two weeks before my date, and another friend who is getting married the week after after my date! I had to keep that in mind when planning my wedding.
Also, choosing a date will help with planning your wedding theme. Are you looking to have a pretty Fall rustic-chic wedding? Maybe cooler tones for a winter wedding? Having a date set will help guide your planning more smoothly and ease a lot of stress along the way.
3.) Invest in a planner
This is essential. There are LOTS of wedding planners out there, but choose wisely! Your ideal wedding planner should have:
-A space to write out your budget
-A space to write out a tentative guest list
-Tabs for organizing everything
-Tips, tricks, and advice for planning along the way
Your wedding planner will keep your insanity because you can keep everything organized in one binder. Bring it along with you everywhere you go during the planning process. Store notes, pictures, ideas, and more! I highly recommend The Knot Ultimate Wedding Planner & Organizer. It’s been a lifesaver!
4.) Attend a wedding show to get inspiration
I actually attended my first show last night in Green Bay with my mom and future mother-in-law and it was a blast. Wedding shows are a unique opportunity that you don’t want to miss out on as a bride. It’s the only time that you’ll have ALL of your local vendors and shops together in one space. You can compare venue prices, cake test, talk with dress owners, and more. It’s such a fun and wonderful experience!
Tips for preparing for a wedding show:
-Bring stickers of your printed address and contact information. I can’t tell you how many times I had to manually write out my name and contact information for giveaways and contests, and it was really tiresome. I would have saved SO much time bringing those address labels.
-Look the part! I couldn’t believe how many people weren’t dressed up. This is the first impression you make with the people that may help you plan the most important day of your life, so you want to make it a good one!
-Bring a folder or bag to carry vendor information in.
5.) Start your wedding Pinterest board
I know that all of you have been pinning to your dream wedding board for the past 5 years, but it’s time to start a NEW board tailored for JUST your wedding. I entitled mine specifically “Chelsea’s Wedding.” This board is all about your ideas, your inspiration, and your special day. I started a new board immediately and invited my mom, mother-in-law, and a few future bridesmaids to collaborate for ideas.
If you need ideas, feel free to check out my wedding Pinterest board here!
6.) Make a practice guest list
Don’t stress out about this; this is a time to just throw some ideas out there. I wrote a tentative guest list for my side and I asked my fiancé to write out a list for his side. Keep these notes in your wedding planner. Trust me- your list will require lots of edits in the near future! It’s better to get a jumpstart on it now then later. In addition, it will help you with your wedding budget, which I am covering next.
7.) Make a budget
Oh boy. This is the part that I have struggled with the most thus far, but setting a budget is extremely necessary. Without a budget, if you’re anything like me then you’ll probs go crazy with your planning and then get depressed after you realize that you can’t afford all of it. Sit down with your fiancé and talk about a reasonable budget.
Here’s a tip: Make a list of things you are willing to splurge on, and things that you are willing to cut back on. For example, my wedding dress, decorations and photography are very important for me. However, we are likely going to have a very low key rehearsal dinner, and we are looking for cheap, simple wedding invites and save the dates.
8.) Start a separate savings account
It may help you save if you have an entire savings account dedicated to just your wedding. Also, figure out what percent of your monthly income is going to go into this account. What can you do to make additional money for your wedding? How much do you think you will be able to save before the big day? These are all things to think about.
9.) Book a venue
I hesitated to write about booking anything in this post, but I think it’s super important to book a venue ASAP. They fill up extremely fast. When we got engaged in August of 2015, we booked our venue a few weeks later. Our wedding isn’t until October of 2017 and our venue already had people booking into 2017! Remember- early bird gets the worm!
10.) Find a church or place of ceremony
In addition to booking a venue right away, you should book your church/place of cermony ASAP for the same reasons I mentioned above. These are the two most important things you should book and worry about right away.
Overall, planning a wedding can be extremely stressful, but it doesn’t have to be if you are on top of things. Remember- planning a wedding should be FUN, not a burden! When you get overwhelmed, please re-visit why you are getting married in the first place. Because you are in LOVE! In the end, it’s not the actual wedding that matters- it’s your marriage.
Do you have any other tips? Leave me a comment below!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
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