Congratulations! The first thing that you should do before getting started on this list is to take some time to celebrate your engagement. This period of being engaged will fly by, so make sure to take a few days or weeks (or even months!) to just enjoy this stage in your relationship. Make sure to share your news with family and friends, but don’t feel rushed into the wedding planning process.
I believe that there is no such as too long or too short of an engagement! You can wait to set a date for a wedding for 2 years or you can decide to elope and get married tomorrow. The decision should truly be up to you and your future spouse.
Once you do decide to get a start on planning your wedding, these are the five first steps that I recommend you start with.
1. Establish your budget and your priorities
The first thing you and your spouse should do is sit down and both write down your priorities for your wedding day. These can be anything from a live band or a specific venue to making sure your wedding day has a welcoming vibe or finding a special way to include your pets. Make sure to get specific with exactly what you want! I recommend picking no more than three individually, then coming together as a couple and looking at both your lists and picking your top three together. Any more than three and they are no longer priorities, it’s just a to-do list!
When I say budget, often time people start to panic, but it really shouldn’t be too difficult. Can it be stressful? Absolutely! Money is a stress-trigger for a lot of people. You’ll probably be talking about spending quite a bit of money (weddings are expensive) and often it will include other people’s money. But this initial step is just to get an overall picture of how much money you are planning on spending. Talk with your spouse about how much you both will be contributing from savings or from anticipated earnings throughout the wedding planning process. Also, chat with your parents or any other family members who may be contributing to the overall wedding day budget. I have a full budgeting post coming out in February, but in the meantime, check out this video I made for the basics.
If you are hiring a planner, now is the time! The earlier you hire them the more they can help you with all the things. The only thing that must be finished before you hire a planner is your budget (so you can make sure your planner is within your budget). If you are planning a Colorado wedding, check out our wedding planning packages.
Even If you are not hiring a wedding planner, don’t think that you can just skip this step. You should figure out what system you are going to use to organize all of the details, contracts, and notes that you will be collecting throughout the planning process. There are both digital and physical versions depending on your preferences.
3. Start Envisioning your Wedding Style
Spend some time browsing Pinterest, looking at wedding websites, checking out wedding hashtags on Instagram and start collecting images that speak to the type of wedding you want to create. I love using Pinterest to collect images, but you can create a folder on your computer or phone. While you don’t need to pick napkin colors, you should have a good sense of your overall vibe. Are you thinking of a casual or more formal event? Rustic or modern? Soft and romantic or bright and glamorous?
While sometimes this step is put further down on the wedding planning timeline, I think it is important to have a sense of your wedding style before you start looking for venues. Your venue tends to be the largest contributor to your wedding’s style. It’s much more difficult to create a cozy mountain wedding in a modern hotel ballroom. Your style will certainly evolve as you book your venue and your vendors, but you should start with what you want!
While you certainly don’t need to finalize your guest list this early in the process, you should at least give it some serious thought. Take into consideration what you want your wedding day to feel like and your priorities. Are you envisioning a small and intimate wedding or a huge party? Also, keep in mind that typically the more people you invite the higher the costs, so if other items like photography and catering are top priorities, your budget may require you to have a smaller list.
Start gathering names from you and your fiancés’ families and friends and putting together a tentative guest list. While you don’t need to finalize anything yet, you want to have a pretty good estimate of how many people you are inviting, so you can book an appropriately sized venue.
Next, you’ll want to pick a venue! This is one of the most important steps in planning a wedding. (I have a whole video coming soon, but in the meantime here are a couple of blog posts to get you started!) It will be the first thing you book (besides potentially a planner) and will dictate a lot of the other choices you’ll make throughout the planning process. Until you book your venue, you really won’t be able to do any other wedding planning. Until you have a venue booked, your date is not set!
Hope this was a helpful guide to getting started! If you have questions or are interested in our wedding planning or coordination services send us an email at DFTCevents@gmail.com.