So he has finally popped the question, you've gone through the motions of ring selfies, tears, joy, multiple calls to family and friends, perhaps even thought of a hashtag, "#meetthewilsons" nah too obvious, crosses this off the sheet. And then, you realise, you actually have to plan a wedding! "OMG, where do I start?", "What do I do?" "What's my Pinterest account password?" All this sound familiar? Don't worry, I have got you covered! In this blog post I am going to go through 10 important steps to take once you get engaged. Shall we begin?
Before you start wedding planning there are a couple of things that need to be set in place. I always advise my couples to start with the foundation, like anything when your foundation is solid (matte or dewy, lol I couldn't resist) you're off to a good start. What are these foundations? I promise you i am not talking about cosmetics. However, I am glad you asked. Read on to find out.
Breathe: As cliche or meditation-ish as it sounds, this is actually very important. I always advise couples to take a step back and actually enjoy being engaged because once you hit start on wedding planning, it's game on! It can get overwhelming, stressful, full -on and (don't worry I am not trying to scare you) just a lot, so you want to make sure you enjoy the engagement phase.
Think about the kind of wedding you would like to have: This is a very important next step. Before you go into wedding planning it is always handy to know what kind of wedding you'd like to have, i.e small vs big wedding, lavish vs simple wedding, destination vs home wedding, castle vs hotel wedding, maybe just have an idea of dates, location, no of guests to start with. I always advise brides to picture themselves on their wedding day, what do you see, what do you look like, how does this look? Picture it and start writing this down or if you are a more visual person, start pinning this to your Pinterest board (more on this later).
3. Set expectations with your fiance: This part is non-negotiable. It is very important for you both to be on the same page with wedding planning. Agree on things like how much you are willing to spend, how many guests you are going to have, where the wedding is, which family member is involved in decision making e.t.c. When you are both on the same page, you lay the foundation for a beautiful wedding planning process. A lot of arguments, and disagreements stem from couples who have not set expectations from the beginning. This is also a vital skill you will need for your marriage, sitting down to set expectations on how you would like your marriage to be like so why not start practicing now.
4. Create a realistic wedding budget: Keyword being realistic. the first step to creating a realistic wedding budget is to first have the actual costs of the kind of wedding you would like and then the second part is you have to make sure you can afford this. Now, you must be thinking, how do I know how much things cost? Good question, a good starting point is to head over to Google to see what the average wedding costs in your city (not country because weddings differ in costs from city to city for example, a wedding in London costs way more than a wedding up north in Newcastle where things are a lot cheaper). A wedding planner can also help put this together but in the meantime have an idea of how much a wedding costs and know what you're willing to spend. One of the pain points couples experience during wedding planning is not having a realistic budget. Trust me, this can cause a lot of stress you do not want or need.
5. Set expectations with your family: This is where you sit your parents/whoever is spending towards or involved with the wedding down and let them know your plans. Being on the same page with your fiance will help a lot here. When you are both speaking the same language, agreeing, your parents will respect that you know what you want and you are in agreement. This will not be a walk in the park especially when you come from a big family but make sure you lay everything on the table - budget, guest numbers, date, location, I mean everything. Again, once expectations are set from the beginning with family members it can cut out a lot of frustration that can occur with family members taking over wedding plans, butting in and just causing chaos. Oh, you might still have a few of that but this is where we come in ;)
6. Get a wedding planner: Yes, that's me in the image above taking my couple round their reception before it starts. You want to get a wedding planner to help you put together all the plans, vision, ideas you have for this wedding. A wedding planner comes with wealth of knowledge of venues, vendors, what works and doesn't work, basically saves you from countless research and making mistakes - as I always say it is your wedding day, you get this one chance for it to be perfect, why don't you get a professional to put this together. Don't worry if you are the planning type you will still be involved with the planning, you just have someone execute the various plans, ideas and vision you have. As you're already here why don't you get in touch.
7. Inspiration time: I bet you already have loads of boards on Pinterest on the different parts of your wedding but for those of you who haven't you want to use social media to gather inspiration for your wedding. Social media is not only a powerful tool to gather inspiration, but you can see real weddings, meet real brides, find and speak to vendors, learn new wedding trends. Now more than ever there is so much information on planning your wedding and so much inspiration so don't forget to save these so you can go back to them. Or simply take a snapshot and create a wedding folder on your phone. You need somewhere handy to store these beautiful photos as trust me the amount of times you will refer back to them, you will be thanking me. You will whip out your phone every single time you speak to a vendor "where is that centrepiece I saw the other day" "I have a picture of the dress I absolutely love hang on one minute" yes, you will be using these inspos (inspiration) ALL the time.
8. Get to organising: Wedding planning comes with a lot of documentation - contracts, invoices, emails and so on. You want to make sure you are organised or else you might get frustrated. First, you need get a wedding email, a simple Gmail or Outlook will do. This email will be used for all wedding enquiries so you not only stay organised but you and whoever you give access to the email can go in should they need anything. You also want to have a wedding folder, Dropbox or G drive will do. This is for you to file away any contracts, invoices, etc that you might need to go back to. Lastly, you might want to get a wedding website. This is important for a number of reasons, firstly somewhere with all the information on your wedding (which you can actually update) your wedding gift registry, FAQ section for anyone who has any questions about your wedding, especially in these times.
9. Ask your bridal party: The part you have been waiting for! Whether you also get down on one knee (seriously, people do that) or you post personalised gift boxes, ask your girls to be your bridesmaids as early on as you can. You will need all the help with wedding planning even if you have a wedding planner. It's very special for your girls to be a part of it from the beginning. They can help you scout for wedding planners (Yes, I've had bridesmaids email me for my packages, I know so cute) or go wedding dress shopping with you. Bridesmaids can be very valuable, oh and while you are at it, choose the right bridesmaids (another blog post coming soon).
10. Start wedding planning: Congrats you are ready to start wedding planning! *sends badge of completion on this Just Engaged course* See, there are just some fundamentals you need to get out of the way before you go searching for a venue, looking for a makeup artist or going wedding dress shopping. You need to have set expectations with your fiance and your families so you know what to expect, you need to have also set a realistic budget so you don't go choosing a venue or vendors you might not be able to afford amongst other steps I mentioned above. Now, you are ready to pick your venue, start choosing your vendors, design your wedding etc. One last tip I can give you is to make sure you have a wedding checklist. You need some sort of document that can guide you during wedding planning, so you know what needs to be done at what time and you also do not forget anything. I have a bride who forgot her dress in the hotel room (true story, that may or may not have been me at my wedding. shhhh). But seriously, I have an ultimate wedding checklist coming out and you do not want to miss this. Register your interest by subscribing to our newsletter and you will be the first to be notified when this is out
Thank you for reading this book (because it's really that long) haha. If you need a wedding planner you know where I am. Hit that contact button, I would love to hear from you. Till then, wishing. you a great wedding planning experience and a wonderful marriage ahead