“Congratulations!!” The question was popped and the answer was a resounding “yes!” While spreading the news and enjoying the inability to remove the smile from your face, you may start to get a nagging tug at the back of your brain asking “What do I do first?!” My advice?
- Head to the closest newsstand or bookstore and stock up on some wedding magazines! This is the perfect time to dive into what’s new and exciting, what colors and flowers you find yourself drawn toward, ideas from weddings featured in the pages, local resources and planning pages, hairstyle ideas, makeup inspirations, etc. etc. When you start to hyperventilate from the overwhelming amount of things to consider, step away from the magazine and take a deep breath. There is a reason most weddings average 9 to 12 months to plan. You have time. Plenty of time.
- Brainstorm with your partner about ideas: its their wedding too and even if you think you know what they want or like or think, you may be surprised to find differing opinions or level of importance on their list of priorities. And don’t be surprised if parents start offering you suggestions or advice. Whether you asked for it or not, you have to consider how important and precious the wedding will be for them, too. Now’s the time to practice graciousness. It’ll be an important virtue to hone.
- Start a Pinterest board. What better place to manage all that visual information than on a digital pin board? And now that Pinterest offers a privacy setting, you can use the board as a planning tool and still keep the brainstorming of your event under wraps. And Pinterest is portable via their mobile app. So when you are out shopping and inspiration strikes, snap a photo on your phone and post it to your board right there and then!
- Next comes the ultimate task – and the most vital one at this stage – the budget. Before you call your first venue or vendor and schedule an appointment, before you purchase anything or commit to any contract, you must – I repeat, MUST – create a budget, you must have an idea of what you want to spend on your wedding. This will require an estimate of your guest count (and be realistic about that estimate, because it plays a part not only in the financial aspect, but also in your contract negotiations with locations and vendors.) Putting the cart before the horse on this task will end up with regret somewhere along the line. WeddingWire.com offers a wonderful, interactive budget calculator to get you started. A wedding planner can help with this task as well. Which brings me to my next point..
- Hire a wedding planner. Seriously. It will be your wisest investment. A wedding planner is an adviser and consultant – an expert in every aspect of a wedding and the events surrounding it – and believe me, you’ll need one! Many times, their suggestions and referrals can result in discounts or embellished services that end up paying the cost of their service. Check out my previous blog post about Choosing The Right Kind Of Wedding Planner posted at WeddingAces.com
That preliminary check list will carry you for a couple of weeks (or months – you pick the pace that’s most comfortable for you.) I’ll post soon about Selecting a Wedding Venue (its hard to firmly set the date or start hiring vendors without a location contracted.) In the meantime, post your questions or comments (or add to this list!) and let the fun begin!