I’m Engaged! Now What? | How to Start the Wedding Planning Process
You’ve got the ring – now it’s time to plan the thing! Overwhelmed and not sure where to even begin the wedding planning process? No worries. We’ve got your back!
First, on behalf of the Brides of Austin team, we want to give you our sincerest congrats! We LOVE nothing more than genuine love stories. You’re about to kick off forever with your person – how exciting is that?! So, no matter the plans you start making, the lists you start creating and the signatures you start signing (trust us, there will be plenty of those), remember to soak the sweetness of this time up as often as you can.
The wedding planning process is no doubt, a large undertaking. But it doesn’t have to be daunting. We’re here to help every step of the way. Let’s begin!
Photo // David McCandless Photography
Choose Your Style and Set a Budget
First things first: before you make any other decisions, the dreaded budget conversation has to be had. You’ll soon be signing contracts and paying deposits with Every. Single. Vendor. So you can’t begin without a budget in mind! Deciding on a budget with your fiancé and your family, if they’re helping to pay, can help you make the other big decision you’ll want to begin with: your size and style. Do you want to jet off for a destination wedding with a few dozen guests? Have a small, intimate elopement? A small affair, or a giant celebration with a few hundred of your closest friends?
The money conversation can be intimidating, but it truly is the best place to start because it sets the stage for everything else. Always remember: a wedding, at the end of the day, is nothing compared to a lasting marriage. There’s absolutely no reason to cause anyone any financial hardship. No matter your budget, you’ll be able to enjoy a wonderful celebration with the ones you love most, and that’s all that counts!
Don’t be afraid to reach out to a wedding planner to help from the very beginning. Seasoned wedding planning pros will work WITHIN your budget to help you find the right venue, vendors and other details. They’ll be able to share with you what things cost, realistically, based on different variables and can help steer you in the right direction as you navigate this season and bring your vision to life.
Think About a Rough Guest List
A guest list, already? You read that right. It’s a good idea to go ahead and start considering your guest list at the beginning of the wedding planning process because your overall budget and your venue both rely significantly on how many people you’ll have in attendance. No need to have the complete list set in stone right away, but think about rough numbers of attendees who will definitely be there, as well as a “contingency” count for those who may or may not show up.
Don’t forget about +1’s, and don’t neglect talking to your close family about the guest list. It’s better to get their input from the start than to have disagreements later on about who should be invited or not invited.
Go Ahead and Book Your Venue
Aside from a wedding planner, if you’ll be using one, your venue is the first booking you’ll want to make! The venue is important for several reasons – namely, because the location of your wedding determines so many other facets of the day. Think about these factors as you explore potential venues:
Date – Which dates do they have availability? Venues often offer discounts for Friday or Sunday weddings.
Style and Amenities – Does the venue fit your vibe and come with amenities included? Or will you need to set aside more of your budget for decor and rentals?
Capacity – How many guests can fit comfortably?
Cost – While the venue is typically one of the more expensive bookings you’ll make, there’s no magic number or percentage of your budget a venue should hit. Just make sure that you’ll have enough budget remaining for all other must-have vendors after you’ve booked the venue, and don’t forget to consider tables, chairs and necessary decor!
It’s a Date
Remember as you go into appointments with potential venues – they may not have your dream date available. However, that doesn’t mean you still can’t have your dream day! Go in with an open mind and flexibility, but with your personal calendar in hand. Consider future commitments like holidays, busy seasons at work, potential weather concerns, local sporting events, and any obligations your immediate families and closest friends may already have. Once you’ve settled on a date with your venue, embrace it and get excited! This is the day you’ll remember for the rest of your lives.
Pop Some Bubbly and Take a Breather
There’s no stress quite like the stress of the wedding planning process. At some points, it’s just inevitable. Take things day by day, try to let the small issues roll off your back, and don’t forget to savor this time with your fiancé, your families and your best friends! Not every day has to involve wedding plans. Go on date nights and agree to not discuss wedding plans. Take a weekend here and there, just to yourselves. Before you know it, the plans will be finalized and it will be time to say I Do!
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