Congratulations! You are engaged to get married and have excitement and eagerness to get the planning underway! Through my years of planning I've noticed that even though there are many wedding planning resources that give you tips on what to do and checklists of when to do them to get married, a lot of couples either don't use these tools, or veer off into their own direction of tackling the to do list. That, ladies and gentlemen, is what causes stress and wedding drama. Instead, we will break down of your, in bite size, digestible pieces by providing you with the Top Three Things To Do Upon Engagement:
Compile the Guest List. As a couple you both should agree on who should attend and be invited and where to draw the line on your invited guests. You're going to want to shout from the rooftops and tell EVERYONE the news. The reality is, however, that this may cause friction down the line. You may blab to your co-worker and cubicle neighbor Suzzy and tell her your wonderful news. She gets involved in giving advice, inducing ideas and you both think she will be at the wedding and WANT to have her at the wedding. But three months later, when you are working out financials (because you did not do step #2 below as instructed) you realize Suzzy may need to be on the B list and fear losing your work BFF, so you find yourself headed to the break-room for coffee in hiding and avoiding her so you don't have to break the news. When compiling the guest list, involve both your family's input and give them parameters. Mom may want her work BF office mate to attend too, but you have never met her and don't have room for that 'extra person' (and in some cases their plus 1). Instead, having a candid conversations (including your fiancee) to set parameters and expectations can alleviate torture down the line.
Determine the Budget. I know, I know....BORING! Well, if you don't have your numbers set, then the rest of the planning will be absolute torture. Couples who do not have a dollar amount associated with wedding planning end up being sticker shocked and disappointed or disillusioned of what is realistic and what needs to be cut from the original vision. This does NOT mean you have to have an accounting degree. The best way to go about this it to create a running total of what finances will be allocated to which portion of the wedding, and include any and all funds that are gifted to you by your friends or family toward the wedding. Discuss an agreed upon total dollar amount that you are willing to spend.
Hire a Wedding Planner. Planners will ask you about questions one and two below and can help you determine many factors which will affect the planning process. Most effectively, they can help choose a wedding location appropriate for your guest count and budget. Wedding Planners have knowledge about how much things cost, and can help you with different stages of the planning. If you are a hands on and want to do things yourself kind of couple, that's great! Enlist your wedding planner into minimal planning and helping you by having check-points throughout the wedding coordinator to make sure you are on track and don't suffer from Sleepless-Wedding-Planning-Nights syndrome. Concerned about the budget, well, hiring a wedding planner to help in this area and make sure you set up realistic numbers and allocations will help keep you within your budget and vision.
There you have it, top three to do's before moving on to other wedding checklist tasks, easy peasy. Happy wedding planning!
1st Image: Elizabeth Messina
2nd Image: Allyson Madga Photography
3rd Image: Melissa Musgrove Photography