He put a ring on it, now what??
It’s that time of the year – holidays, festivities (and sometimes alcohol!) seem to create the perfect atmosphere for a successful proposal! If you are one of the lucky loved up couples who got engaged over the festive season you might now be coming down from the high and wondering what’s next?? Planning a wedding can be overwhelming and it’s sometimes hard to know where to begin, so here are a few tips to get you started.
What you need to do now really does depend very much on your timeframe, so a good place to start is to discuss a wedding date. You don’t need to pinpoint a specific date just yet but deciding on a preferred year and season is a good idea. This could depend on a variety of factors including your schedules, the schedules of important members of your family and close friends (especially those who don’t live locally), availability of venues and vendors, your budget and finances (for example, do you need time to save money or do you need to try and keep costs down by having your wedding outside of the peak wedding season?) and any dates of significance. It is a good idea to steer away from times of the year when you know you will be busy, whether it’s with work, family celebrations or other events.
Once you have a rough idea of when you want to get married you might want to start thinking about what sort of wedding you want, as this will have a bearing on the venues you will consider (although sometimes it works the other way around where you find a venue you love and work the style of wedding around this). By this I mean thinking about whether you want a church or civil ceremony, a formal sit down reception or a relaxed cocktail style, a lunch or a dinner, a modern or vintage style, a seaside wedding, winery wedding, farm wedding, destination wedding or other, and how big or small you want your guest list to be. A great place to start is by checking out wedding blogs, Pinterest and the websites of local wedding industry vendors such as photographers, stylists and florists. Creating at least one Pinterest board dedicated to your wedding is a great idea as it will help further down the track when you start trying to explain your style and vision to your vendors.
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As you are exploring blogs and Pinterest in search of wedding inspiration you are likely to come across some vendors whose style you love. You might have a list of local vendors that you are interested in contacting. If you do, I suggest doing it as early as possible. Many popular vendors can get booked up to 2 years in advance these days. If you know that you want someone then meet with them as soon as possible to find out more about their work and pricing. Don’t necessarily think you have to lock in a date and venue before speaking with potential vendors – sometimes if you find a vendor you really love your date might end up being influenced by their availability. You are also likely in your exploring to have worked out what is most important to you. Are you a sucker for flowers? The tiny details? Beautiful photos? What is it that you are happy to spend your money on and whay are you happy to sacrifice?
It might surpise you that I only mention budget here and not earlier. That’s because I have never had a client who knows how much everything costs from the outset. I’ve had clients who have wildly underestimated certain costs and others who have overestimated on certain items. So whilst you might have a rough idea of how much you want to or can afford to spend overall, I suggest looking into particular venues and vendors before working out a budget. You can then determine which of the items on your wish list are realistic and where you might need to think about cutting back or making substitutions. Even if you might have a set total figure, don’t think of your budget as set in stone in terms of how the money is allocated to specific items – you will probably tweak your budget continuously throughout the planning to make room for things you really want.
If you can get some of the bigger details locked in early then you should be able to relax a little until a bit closer to the date. The details like specific colours, what sort of candle holders you want, which flowers you want in your bouquet, who will give speeches, what sort of furniture you want – these are all things that you will work out over the next year and don’t need to stress about right away if you don’t want to. (And may not need to stress about at all if you hire a wedding stylist – just sayin’!!)
Planning your wedding is a big job and no matter what you do it will consume your life for the next year or however long it is until you are getting married. So the best thing you can do is try to enjoy it and choose vendors who you feel comfortable with and can trust without feeling you need to micromanage them – this will make a huge difference to the process for you.