[Continued from Part 1 of “Congrats! You’re Engaged…Now What?”]
I decided to split up this post to prevent any of you new brides from getting overwhelmed with the first steps of planning your wedding. It’s a whole new experience, and it is SO much fun! (Warning: You will spend HOURS looking at photos of decor, flowers, dresses, cakes, etc, etc, etc) These next recommendations involve taking the steps towards making your wedding come together.
- Hire a wedding planner and establish a budget. I include both of these steps in one because it really is incredibly important to have a wedding planner involved in your wedding. Now, you can’t really do much of anything without knowing your budget. There are resources online, such as TheKnot and Brides.com to help with planning your budget, but a planner can also help you understand the costs of everything that a wedding entails. Whether it is just for consulting, planning the entire event, or just for the day of coordinating, I can’t even imagine what a wedding is like without a planner being involved. (And that is the honest truth speaking as someone working in the wedding industry, not as a wedding planner.) I will delve into the need for a planner more in another post, but for the time being, you can read this previous post or check out this article by Melissa of Masterpiece Weddings.
- Find your venue. The venue decision of course hinges on what kind of wedding you decided you wanted in Step 2. However, the urgency of finding a venue could depend on your location. If you are getting married in an area that has plenty of venues, you can take a little bit of time to look around. It is recommended to have your venue booked at least one year in advance. If you are in an area that only has a few venue options (such as my hometown), I would recommend booking a year and half in advance if you can, because the dates will fill up fast! But don’t forget to consider the type of wedding that you envision as well as your budget!
- Book your photographer. This step and the previous step can be interchangeable, depending on the amount of time you have, the level of importance you put on photography, and the availability of venues. However, photographers also book up to a year and half in advance! If photography is something that is important to you, you should start your search now! Be sure to read these previous posts on choosing your photographer, and don’t forget that you aren’t limited to only choosing a photographer who is in the same city as you! That’s something that as a bride, I didn’t know!
These are my recommendations of the things that should be done pretty much within the first few months of planning your wedding. And don’t worry, it’s normal to do a lot (booking venues and photographers far in advance), and then have a lull of planning activities. The online resources with checklists are helpful, but not completely inclusive. If you have a wedding planner, she will provide you with a list of things that need to be done by a specific month, and it will also include details that are commonly overlooked.
If you ever have any questions, need advice, or need someone to bounce ideas off of, please feel free to email me or leave a comment! Welcome to the world of planning your wedding!
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