From Engaged to Married: First Steps of Planning Your Wedding
Once the initial shock (and glow!) of your new engagement sets in, it’s time to start the fun wedding planning.
Once the initial shock (and glow!) of your new engagement sets in, it’s time to start the fun wedding planning. Where do you start?
Before you set up dress shopping dates, start with these important first steps to make sure your wedding day goes as smoothly as your wedding planning.
Have the “talk.”
Before you start ordering tuxes, sit down with your fiance. Discuss all the major details of your wedding, such as location, guest list, budget, and any ‘wants’ they have for your big day. (You may be surprised to find out what they ‘really’ want at their wedding!) When you’re done, have conversations with any important family or friends who have shown interest in helping cover costs or give their time.
Once you have input from all the important people in your life, it’s time to get organized. Use a folder or binder to keep everything together. If you and your fiance are splitting up wedding tasks, make sure you set deadlines to make sure everything gets done. Remember that the sooner you book the major items (i.e. venue, caterer, entertainment, etc.), the more likely you are to get all your first choices on your big day.
Set a date.
There are two different approaches you can take to set your wedding date: choose a special day or select a time of the year and find out when your favorite venue or vendor is available. For example, if you want a September wedding, call your preferred caterer or venue and ask what dates they have available. The date they have available is your big day.
There are lots of ways you can choose a day or time of year: by a special date (i.e. parents’ wedding day, you first date, day you met, etc.), your favorite season, when you are available because of work, or a special holiday (Valentine’s Day anyone?).
Book your venue
Your venue is the basis for all your other wedding plans: your venue, caterer, invitations, the works. Find and book your venue as soon as possible, but make sure it’s the right venue. The right wedding venue should check off all the important boxes, such as location, style, adequate space for your guests, budget, and all the amenities you need for your big day. Approach finding your venue like Goldilocks: you want a venue that’s not too small or too large (for your budget too!) and fits the atmosphere you are trying to achieve.
Hire a caterer.
Bad food is one of the biggest complaints from wedding guests; make sure they’re not complaining about your wedding reception dinner by vetting your wedding caterers carefully. Ask each caterer these questions (as well as these other questions about wedding tastings):
- Do you have an opening on my wedding date?
- Have you served at my venue before?
- What services do you offer?
- Are there any services you don’t offer (coffee service, equipment rental, etc.)?
- Do you provide a banquet manager?
- Can you accommodate my guests’ dietary restrictions?
- Can I order a wedding cake (or one of these cool non-cake desserts) from you?
- Are tables, chairs, and other supplies included?
- Do you provide place settings (plates, napkins, silverware)?
- Are catering staff included (and, if so, what staff)?
- What will your staff be wearing?
- What is the range of costs for my meal? (Let them know if it will be a sit down, buffet, food station, etc.)
- Can I get a full quote with ALL fees and taxes included?
- Can I customize the menu?
Book your entertainment.
You’ve almost tackled all the major details you need to select invitations; now it’s time to book your favorite band or DJ so you can make sure your guests have a great time at your wedding. Whether you want a band or DJ, make sure you book entertainers that come with great reviews. Get a full list of approximate charges so you don’t get an unpleasant surprise (big bill!) on your wedding day. Ask your wedding venue if there are any sound restrictions you need to pass on your DJ or band. A little homework early in the wedding planning process can ensure a smooth—and fun—wedding day.