If you’re still looking at the new sparkle on your finger and can’t believe this is happening, I get it, girl! When I first got engaged, I don’t think I stopped staring at my ring for at least the first two weeks. Engagement is such a fun season, but it doesn’t take long for wedding planning stress to overwhelm you. If you feel so overwhelmed you’re not sure what to do next, here’s a list of things to do that will help you tackle the beginning stages of wedding planning one-by-one.
Maddie Baker Photography
Get a free, easy to use Gmail account to use specifically for your wedding details. That way, vendor inquiries and details aren’t flooding your work or personal email, and it’s something to easily share with family and bridal party who may be taking a big role in helping you plan.
There’s no specific rule of thumb on how long your engagement should be. People plan at different speeds, and there’s often things in life that support a certain time frame. Most of my clients that are teachers get married in the summer, and most of my clients that are still in college try to get married during a spring or fall break so they can take some time off for their honeymoon. It makes total sense! Don’t stress too much about not having long enough to plan. I have worked with many brides on “shorter” timelines and I had a 4 month engagement myself (and in the middle of it, we opened this business!) so even if your engagement is short, I promise it’s possible to plan an excellent wedding day.
Let me also point out that when I say timeframe, I don’t mean choose a date. I highly recommend waiting to choose your wedding date once you fall in love with your venue and then choose a date based off their availability. If your heart is set on a date, it’s still possible to find the venue of your dreams, but it does make it a more narrow search.
I talk a lot more about it here, but it’s really important to begin making your guest list early in the planning process. Think through your ideal number of guests, and then begin listing them. I recommend using a Google Sheet to gather all the information (view my template here), but it’s helpful to have an estimated guest count before inquiring about venues.
Madison Renee Photography
That’s probably how you found this post anyway, but once you have a time frame in mind, it’s a good idea to start looking into wedding venues. If I were you, I would gather package information from a few places online, and then plan a time to sit down with your fiance and family (especially if they’re helping financially) and talk about it all. Talk about what you’re wanting from a venue, and which places have availability during the time frame you’re hoping for. Figure out what’s in budget. Think through if you want to choose a caterer yourself or if you’re happy with whatever the venue provides.
Then, once you’ve narrowed down your choices to 2-3 front runners, plan tours. I don’t recommend touring tons of venues because sometimes, the more you see, the more confusing the decision can be. Instead, do some research ahead of time and find places you really love.
There’s a hundred more things to do and honestly, a lot more advice I can give on the topic. Here’s a few extra things to do (in no particular order!)
Start a new Pinterest board. I’m saying, maybe don’t use the Wedding Pinterest board you have been pinning to since the 8th grade. Start a fresh slate to pin all your favorite styles and wedding ideas.
Meet your vendors in real life before signing a contract with them. It’s easy to meet your venue owners because they give you a tour, but don’t feel weird to ask your photographer or DJ to coffee and ask them questions. Anyone who plays an active role in your wedding day should be a person you get along with, because you’re trusting them with so much!
Have a (really awkward) conversation about the budget. If your family is helping or if you’re paying for it all yourselves, make sure everyone is on the same page with the wedding budget. This will avoid so many arguments later on!
Try not to let wedding planning dominate all of your conversations and dates. Go out on dates and don’t talk about the wedding! I promise, it’s healthy. You can get back to wedding planning afterwards, and taking some time away helps get you more excited for your marriage (the whole point of the wedding in the first place!).
Know you’re not alone. I’ve been in this industry for a few years now, and after meeting with hundreds of brides, I still haven’t met with one who wasn’t even a little stressed about the wedding. The best thing you can do is hire great vendors to come along side of you and support you. That’s what we’re here for
If you have a specific wedding question or you just need talked off the planning ledge – schedule a FREE 15-minute strategy phone call with me by sending me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org