The first few weeks of being engaged can feel really exciting, but also kinda overwhelming, right? Telling everyone, knowing what you need, want, making everybody happy, where to look for everything… it’s a lot to take in! 😳 So where do you start?
First, enjoy it and try to not let wedding planning consume you. Just take it bit by bit. Then, talk with your fiance about your top priorities. A lot of sites will give you a budget guide. Those can help, but don’t let them pigeonhole you. Every wedding is different and what you want won’t necessarily be what your sister or friend wanted let alone what a random guide says you should want. So for instance maybe you want a really great photographer 😘. Or, you want to have a really nice dinner with a great view. Or maybe you love music and a live band would make the night all the more perfect.
Think – what are the most important things we experience on our wedding day? So take those top priorities, and list them in order. Work your way down from big picture to little details. Who are you with (guest list), where are you (venue), and what takes precedence vs what can get cut? It can mean you focus on better food or spending more on a dj than buying guest favors. It can mean a small backyard wedding or a big party. It can mean eloping. It can mean throwing traditions aside to have a day that feels like you, not just another wedding. Remember, just because someone else had it at their wedding does not mean you have to.
Once you know your top priorities, have the budget talks and see where you might get help. Yeah, it can be super awkward, but knowing the budget early saves *a lot* of headache. It gives you a better idea of what you’re working with, and a starting point for where it’ll be allocated. You’ll find a gamut of options for every area from budget to luxury. So that priorities list? Rough out how much you’d like to put into each area.
My suggestion is to first start with finding a wedding planner. They can help you find the right vendors from the start. Seriously, I’m pretty dang crafty (I mean really, I went to art school) – but loving diy is not the same as orchestrating an event. Hiring someone that knows the wedding industry and can take care of everything on your wedding day allows you to be a guest instead of the go-to person. But, if it isn’t in the budget, (which hey- no shame!) start with your venue. A good rule of thumb for finding the right wedding vendors is to read the reviews and ask a lot of questions.
Then, set a date. Well, first set a season, then set a date by booking your venue. My tip is be flexible, and reach out to your favorite vendors early. As a wedding photographer, my busiest months are June, September, and October. These months and popular holiday weekends can start booking over a year away. This is pretty common with more experienced vendors. But, always reach out! You never know if your day is open and if it isn’t, most people will offer recommendations to help you out. Personally, I love when couples ask for vendor recommendations after they’ve booked me so I can help *and* know we’ll have a great team on wedding day. ❤
And finally, ask for help! Life doesn’t just stop when you’re planning a wedding! It’s not every day you put together an event especially with a lot of people. I also know couples who have a lot of people wanting to help – but they don’t know what job to give them. Here’s the thing – if you’re respectful and not just bossing your crew around, most people who care enough to spend the money and time it takes to be in a wedding care that it’s a good experience for you. If you’re overwhelmed at any point or, just need to give someone a job – take the simple stuff off your plate. Would you help me put these together? Could you pick this up on your way? I can’t decide between these, what do you think? The small stuff adds up. Know that you don’t have to be in it alone.
What’s most important is that you enjoy this relatively short phase of being engaged for what it is – the beginning of much more. Remember your wedding is one awesome day and your marriage doesn’t hinge on that. Weddings are beautiful for how they celebrate your commitment, bringing the people you love together most. So take it in, and have fun with it. You’ve got this!