You’re engaged! Congratulations! Now what? If you have started telling the world about your engagement, I’m sure you’ve felt the rising pressure to answer all questions (particularly the family favorite – “when is the wedding?”) as soon as possible for nothing more than to stop the endless list of questions. I wish I could tell you it gets better, and for some I’m sure it does but for many, this guide will come in handy when beginning your journey into the fabulous world of wedding planning and will serve as a friendly reminder throughout your planning days.
1. Take your time.
Getting engaged is one of the best feelings you will ever have, and the temptation to share your news and elation might drive you to post to Facebook and spend hours on the phone with relatives immediately. Please, for your sake, take a day or two and just savor the cloud like feeling being engaged. It might sound counter-intuitive, but it will make sense once you do it.
For those of you who have already spread the word and watched the wildfire flare into oblivion, have strength. The endless calls, Facebook notifications and questions will slow and eventually cease… for the most part. This idea of “taking your time” should continue throughout you wedding planning. The Oprah empire was not built in a day, as they say, and planning a wedding doesn’t have to be either. You may feel pressured or rushed to make decisions, but remember that for the first few months, it’s still about the engagement.
2. Prioritize First
This was a tip I got from a good friend who got engaged a few months before me. I was so desperate to start budgeting that I forgot to consider what mattered most to myself and my partner. This is an important step and as time goes on and the decisions become more trivial, you can look back at your list of priorities and find some comfort in your decisions.
This is also great for those who are not paying for the wedding themselves or have family members with masterful plans for your wedding. If you make a list of the elements of the wedding that are most important to yourself, you partner and both sets of parents/ planners/ stakeholders, it will make life much easier down the line.
3. Budget Second
Ah the budget, everyone’s best friend and biggest stressor. While it may be painful, budgeting is an absolute must no matter how much you plan on spending. Even those with an endless flow of cash could use a budget to narrow down the numerous options and wedding packages available. There are a variety of budget gadgets out there that can tell you what percentage of your wedding fund should be allotted to which area and these can be a great place to start. The Knot has one of my faves for user friendliness, however it is jam packed with things that may not be on your top list of priorities. Thankfully, you’ve already made that list and can redistribute those extra dollars you were going to spend on a fifth pianist into feeding your estranged cousin.
4. Avoid Grocery Syndrome
Ever walk into the grocery store with a list of 5 things and come out with a cart-full? That can be what wedding planning is like. You go dress shopping with your budget and your bestie and come out with two pairs of shoes, two dresses, a belt, added straps, two cathedral veils and a sash just in case. That may be an exaggeration but the struggle is real. When finalizing a wedding purchase or vendor, remember what you want, what you need and what you have. It might be difficult to say no to the deluxe package but if you didn’t intend on getting it and can’t afford it’s probably best not to get it.
5. Pinterest Plight
Pinterest is an amazing tool when getting started on any project or finalizing specific ideas. It can become overwhelming however, if you are like me and you like everything. There are few things more challenging for me than decided between 15 perfectly presented, edited photos of luscious bouquets. Everything looks fabulous! Getting ideas from Pinterest is bridal 101, and knowing when to stop is key.
It is one day. One day of celebration for you two and your guests. It does not have to be perfect and you will probably find fault in minute details regardless of their importance. It may feel as though every leaf, every fork and every name card will be etched in your guests memory for eternity but that is not the case. People will remember what your day felt like and so will you, so try to maintain your sanity and enjoy the process. You’re getting married!
Good luck and have fun!