For many, the time in between when you first say “yes” and begin wedding planning is a flood of emotions and a flurry of activity. A big question that almost immediately pops into everyone’s mind is “how to start planning a wedding.” In this article, I’ll break down the things you should focus on first in 10 easy to follow steps.
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You’re Engaged! Now How Do You Start Planning A Wedding?
First of all, congratulations on your engagement! These are happy times and you should first and foremost take all the time to celebrate. No matter how many times you get asked for a date, or if you’ve picked a venue, there is absolutely no pressure to jump right into planning.
What we’re going to focus on today is your first 10 steps after saying yes. This will cover all of the fun and exciting first steps you shouldn’t skip after your engagement, and all of the upfront steps you should take to get well prepared to start your wedding planning journey (whenever you’re damn well ready!).
So, pop the champagne, take a deep breath, and let’s dive into these initial steps to begin creating the wedding of your dreams.
#1 | After Your Engagement, Take a Moment.
There is nothing wrong with picking up the phone and immediately spilling the exciting tea to all of your closest family and friends. However, I strongly encourage you to take a few moments (or days) to soak it all in, together. When I got engaged, it happened to be Mother’s Day. So, we already had plans with both of our families one after the next.The whole day was over in a flash because we spent most of it recalling the proposal story to everyone that asked.
That being said, if I were to do it all over, I would have enjoyed the day to just relish in our own little bubble of happiness. Your partner has probably been working up to this for months, so give this big moment the space it deserves, if you can. Afterall, this is about you two. There is plenty of time to involve your family and friends. So bask in it. Soak up all the sunshine you want before sharing it with everyone else.
#2 | When You’re Ready, Share the News & Celebrate
After you’ve taken a few moments for yourselves, it’s time to share the news with your nearest and dearest. Let’s talk steps for letting the cat out of the bag:
Make Your Important Announcements First
To avoid hurt feelings, certain people should be told about the engagement before you post on social media. First, your parents and immediate family, followed by friends that are essentially family, and your extended family. Everyone will appreciate the opportunity to congratulate you directly instead of hearing it second hand, or seeing it on Instagram.
Get a Manicure & Post that Ring Selfie
Personally, I did not follow this step, and I certainly regret it. Afterall, your hands will be in the spotlight for the next couple of weeks. Do yourself a favor and book that manicure. At the very least, make sure your nails are clean and shaped. Once your nails are in prime shape, go ahead and share that beautiful ring selfie with the world. And, don’t forget to make your new status Facebook official.
Plan an Engagement Celebration
Last but not least, celebrate! Whether it’s a formal engagement party with your family and friends or a mini engagement-moon with your fiance. Before you get into the throngs of full-out wedding planning take a moment to formally celebrate it.
#3 | Get Your Ring Insured & Sized
I know, this isn’t the most exciting or sexy step, but your ring was an investment. And all other major investments in your life are insured, like your home and your car, so yes, your ring should be too. Plus, you can add it as an extension to your existing homeowners or renter’s insurance policy, so it’s low effort and surprisingly inexpensive.
Along with insurance, chances are your ring is just a bit too big or too tight. Don’t fret, this happens to all of us. As much as you and your fiance may have tried to get this right, it’s more often than not something that needs a bit of adjusting. After you’ve posted your pics, go get it properly sized so you don’t lose it down the toilet one day.
#4 | Consider Taking Engagement Photos
Now, this isn’t a must-do, but I highly recommend completing this step as part of your start to wedding planning for two reasons:
- There are going to be many occasions where photos of the two of you are going to appear between saying “yes” to saying “I do.” Think engagement party, wedding shower, rehearsal dinner, and even your wedding day. It’ll be nice to have some professional photos taken that aren’t selfies of you and your fiance at the bar for your friends and family to use.
- It’s a great way to trial run a potential wedding photographer. Many actually offer engagement photos as part of their package, but you can also book just an engagement session to get a feel for their style and vibe to make sure they are the right fit for you.
#5 | Select Your Wedding Party (if you’re having one)
I’ll just say this first, it is completely acceptable to not have one. It is also acceptable for your wedding party to be lopsided, if let’s say you have more close friends and family than your significant other. So first, consider whether having a wedding party is right for your wedding day vision.
So, how do you decide? Well…does the idea of celebrating your special day with a close-knit group of friends and family excite you? Or does a feeling of anxiety, or maybe dread come over you? This gut check is the deciding factor on whether you should incorporate a wedding party.
If you decide, “yes,” a wedding party is the route I want to go, then I recommend selecting your VIPs early and making the big proposal. Why? Because then you’ll have more support as early on as possible. But, before popping the questions to your crew, take a moment to outline your vision for your wedding party. Here are some considerations:
- Are you aiming for a specific number of bridesmaids or groomsmen?
- Who among your loved ones do you believe is the best fit for each role?
- Is designating a maid of honor or best man a necessity?
- Maybe you’re considering joint honorary roles?
- Do you want a ring bearer and flower girl?
Prior to proposing to your wedding party, invest some time in contemplating these crucial questions. You want this to be a great experience for everyone involved, most of all you, so make your choices carefully.
#6 | Get Organized Before You Really Start Planning a Wedding
Next, before you do any real wedding planning, make sure you’ve got a way to stay organized to avoid overwhelm.
Three key items I recommend setting up are:
1. Wedding Planning Organizer: Wedding planning binders, books and checklists are a great place to start. Whether you DIY your own wedding planning binder, purchase one, or use a digital organizer like a spreadsheet, find a place to keep all of your to-do lists, ideas, and notes in one place from the get go.
2. Wedding Vision Board: Another great organizing tool you should use is a vision board. Pinterest is the best place to do this in my opinion, but you can also make a physical vision board to pin inspiration photos and ideas as you go. Once you’ve got this in place, start collecting all of your ideas for your wedding day vision.
3. Wedding Website: Create a wedding website early on, even if you’ve got literally zero details to fill in. Many wedding websites provide valuable planning tools that can streamline your preparations, such as seamless registry synchronization, RSVP management, and dedicated message boards for both you and your guests. Research which wedding website is best for you and your partner’s wants and needs and begin building yours out.
#7 | Discuss Your Wedding Budget
Next, get the budget conversations out of the way. It’s one of the toughest steps, but also so incredibly important to inform everything else you do. After all, you can’t make a big purchase (car, house, or… ahem, a wedding!) without having a realistic budget in mind.
The discussion starts with you and your partner, but don’t forget to include important family members in this conversation as well. Though it can be uncomfy to talk about budget, without knowing who would like to contribute and how much, you won’t be able to set a realistic budget to begin planning.
#8 | Decide on Your Top Priorities
One of the big first steps in your wedding planning process is to discuss and align on your top priorities with your partner.
- Do you want the most magical venue?
- Or, do you have your heart set on a specific menu? Or band? Or florist?
- Maybe you just want your wedding reception to be the most epic party your guests have ever been to?
Decide on your top 1-2 wedding priorities. This will be your guide to help you weed out must-haves vs. nice-to-haves (where you should splurge, and where you need to compromise) as you go through the wedding planning process.
#9 | Draft Your Initial Guest List
Next, create a rough guest list. Literally jot down everyone you would consider inviting to your wedding. Don’t self-edit just yet. See where things shake out first. While it doesn’t have to be final at this stage, having an idea of the number of guests will help you choose an appropriate venue.
Don’t forget to include plus ones, and children in your initial count, if you think you’d like to include kids in your wedding celebrations.
#10 | Consider Possible Dates & Venue Locations
The most desirable wedding dates and venues get booked far in advance, so if you’re hoping to get married in the next year or two, it’s smart to begin considering possible dates and locations early on. If you have a specific date, season or venue in mind, tick this off your checklist as soon as possible so you have a better idea of where to start with your other wedding planning to-dos
To start this process, here are some things to consider:
Wedding Date Considerations:
- Is there a time of year you and your partner ideally want to get married (did you meet in the Fall? Was your first date an early spring hike?) Think about the time of year or a particular date in which you’d like to get married.
- You’ll also want to consider peak or off-wedding season and if you’re looking for a weekday or weekend wedding because all of this impacts the price of your celebration.
- Last but not least, consult family and friends to make sure there aren’t any potential conflicts for any dates you’re considering.
Wedding Venue Considerations:
- Are you more of a traditional couple or non-traditional couple?
- Do you envision getting married indoors or outdoors?
- Do you want to stay local or plan a destination celebration?
By answering these questions, you’ll have a good compass to begin your venue hunt. And, once you have your venue and date locked in, everything else can follow.
You’re Ready to Start Planning a Wedding!
Whelp, there you have it. These are the critical first 10 steps to start your wedding planning journey off right. I know wedding planning can be overwhelming, especially considering the information overload between all the blogs out there, Pinterest ideas, Instagram influencers, and tips from family and friends. So, when you’re starting out, my advice is to take it one step at a time, communicate with your partner, and remember that this is the start of an exciting adventure.
The Savvy Swarey