I hope you've all had a wonderful holiday and Christmas season! I certainly did... maybe too much considering how long it's been since I blogged and how tight my jeans are fitting. Oops.
Many of you have had the most magical of holiday seasons because of a new accessory you're sporting on your left hand. Maybe you were just given that accessory last night to "ring" in the New Year ;) Whether he proposed after you were stuffed on Thanksgiving or as you watched the ball drop, if you're newly engaged, your head is probably spinning with what to do next. Don't panic; don't go on Pinterest overload; let's get organized!
If you're newly engaged, start with these 5 steps:
1) Set a budget! Money isn't a fun topic of conversation, but it's one of the most important when discussing your wedding. I can't stress this enough, DO THIS FIRST! Don't pick a venue, a florist, a dress or any other pretty detail until you know your overall budget. This often means talking with parents and family and looking into your own savings account to see what you can afford.
2) Determine an approximate wedding date. Why approximate? Well, it's never made sense to me when couples pick a date and are firm on it, only to find out that the venue or DJ they really wanted isn't available. Start with a season and a year, like spring of 2015. Have a preferred month in mind, but be flexible, if possible.
3) Hire a planner. I know what you're thinking, "of course she's going to say that." But, it's true! This should be high on your list of priorities and I'll tell you why: even if you don't intend to hire someone for full planning, the earlier you book, the bore bang for your buck. Like some other planners, I don't limit the amount of correspondence that I have with my clients. None of them, not even those who hire me for month-of coordination. This means that if you hire me a year in advance, you have a year's worth of advice for the same price as someone who hires me with only 3 months before the wedding. Not to mention the number of budget-cutting ideas, etiquette advice, and vendor referrals you'll get along the way. It just makes sense!
4) Book your venue and top priority vendors. Your venue is so important. Immensely important. Your venue will have the biggest impact on the style and feel of your wedding: if you want a rustic reception, you're not heading to the W Hotel. Think about the ambience you want, how much logistical work you're willing to take on--hotels and country clubs are much less, while a private residence or other off-site venue will be more--and of course keep your budget in mind. After you've secured your venue, move on to booking your priority vendors. Have a photographer that you just have to work with? Start there.
5) Get your other vendors on the books. Popular wedding magazines often spread this task out over several months, but I disagree. If you can spend a solid 2-3 days in meetings with potential vendors, your brain might be a little fried afterward, but you cna cross off some serious items on your wedding to-do list. Don't think that you have to know all the details about your wedding before you book your vendors. You don't have to decide between pink and coral before you secure a florist and you don't have to know if you want 1 big cake or 4 small ones before you book a bakery. Feeling a connection with your vendors, staying within your budget and getting your name on their calendar--that's what's important.