You’re engaged, now what? 9 steps to start planning your wedding

One of the greatest moments in life is when you get engaged to the love of your life. After taking the time to live on cloud nine and posting photos of your ring online, it is finally time to start planning.
The wedding itself is a magical day but wedding planning can be daunting. As a couple, you have to be able to remove the fantasy-Pinterest wedding off your mind and focus on the reality that most of us have, limitations, on the kind of wedding we can afford or would like to have. Going from the joy of the engagement to actually organizing a wedding can be shocking.
There are so many details and opinions that many couples have on what to do for their wedding, enough to start leaving couples feeling overwhelmed pretty quickly.
As a wedding planner, we want to make sure that couples know how to get from point A to B without losing the joy and bliss. Here is a list of where to start your planning:
Set your goals
As a project manager will tell you, the first goal of creating an event is to set a goal. Of course, the end goal for a wedding is to get married, but the goal should be how do you see yourself getting married. Is your end goal to be on a beach, do you see yourself in a backyard or out in the woods, in a grand ballroom? Do you want it to be a peaceful intimate wedding or a dance party that lasts until 4 am? How do you want to feel?
List your priorities
Once your big-picture goal is determined, set up your priorities. The best way to start is for you to get a piece of paper and write down what you truly care about as an individual and as a couple. Scribbling down items that you come up with and then going down the list and crossing out things you could go without, and highlighting your “can’t live without”. An example of items to think about is the decor more important than the dinner, or the dress more important than a wedding cake. Priorities can change over time as your budget gets updated or you change your mind on things, but your wedding goal should stay the same.
Family Priorities
Yes, it is YOUR wedding, but it’s also an important day for your family. It is crucial for you as a couple to figure out what your priorities are for the family members. This is the part where you decide not only what their roles will be, but how much input do they get to have on your big day. This step can save you a lot of heartache and family drama because it will let your family know from the start what to expect. Will you allow your parents to add guests to the list? Will they be paying for the wedding?
Create a Guest List
Most professionals will tell you that making a budget should be your first step, but I believe that your planning should start with your guest list. Weddings are personal and they should start with people and not with money. When you walk down the aisle, who do you envision being there?
Choose a date or dates
To be safe, make sure you have your ideal date and at least two backup dates in mind. Think of the time of year you wish to get married and think about the weather, work schedules, holidays and major sports games.
Location, Location, Location
To know how to budget for your wedding, the best thing to do is to research of how much things cost in your state and city. A venue in the city of Chicago can range between $8,000-$25,000 but in the suburbs can range between $3,000-$19,000. By researching your area you can determine where the best place would be to have your wedding.
Crunch the numbers
Ugh, budgets (eye-rolling). Budgets are scary, intimidating, boring and there is nothing cute about it, but it is very necessary. Once you have a clear sense of what you are trying to create, your talk about numbers begin. Budgets start with guests plus location plus how much you have to spend. These numbers will drive most of your planning decisions.
Get a professional
I know that I’m a bit bias here because of my profession, but I truly do believe this is an important investment to your sanity. Wedding planners have great relationships with vendors and are familiar with the details of planning. They keep the couples on track of their budget and the best part, they take the responsibility away from the couple, to let them truly enjoy their day stress-free.
The first step to hiring wedding vendors is to figure out which ones you need or can offer to hire. When looking for a vendor, you want to make sure that you begin with the ones that can only do one wedding a day, this means like DJs, photographers, and caterers. The second on your list should be florists, cake bakers, and limo drivers. The vendors that you choose should understand you envision and try not to insert their ideas into yours. No matter who you hire, make sure you do your research, use your common sense and read the contract.
Do you want to get more advice on how to plan for your big day? Go ahead and leave us a comment below or email us at

Advice, Love, Weddings




You’re engaged, now what? 9 steps to start planning your wedding

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