You're Engaged! Now what?
Whew! You’re engaged! Maybe it was a whirlwind romance and a complete surprise or maybe it happened in the comfort of your home over dinner with your life-long best friend. Either way, congratulations! What a huge moment!
Now that you’ve taken some time to celebrate and let the reality sink in, it’s time to start planning! (btw if you haven’t taken some time to soak it in, stop and do that first!!) But where to start? We know that getting engaged and quickly go from exciting to overwhelming money sucking hole. Here is how to get started and hopefully keep that newly engaged glow about you while you do it.
Talk Money + Potential Timeframe. Have a candid conversation with each other and your families about what is being contributed to the budget. Be realistic about what can be counted on financially in the timeframe in which you’re looking to plan. Also, talk about what is comfortable to spend - not just what you can spend. For many, just because you have it doesn’t mean you want to spend it and knowing your spending COMFORT ZONE is just as important as knowing your realistic budget. Keep in mind that your wedding expenses will be deposit/retainer heavy on the front end and final payment heavy on the back end, with some vendors (like us!) offering payment plans throughout the middle.
Talk Guest Count. Now that you have a budget set, start talking about that guest list. You don’t need to have addresses and full family names captured yet, but an idea of who you’d like to invite. Now, reconcile that number with your budget, by multiplying your guest count by 400. We’ve found that $400pp is an average overall spend in our market, depending of course on specifics, but it’s a good place to start to pulse check if your target budget is possible. If it’s less than $400pp, We’d recommend starting to cut your guest list down to an A and B list and consulting with a local planner to discuss what is possible in your comfort zone.
Decide if you’ll work with a Planner. You’ll always get the most out of your investment in a Planner by working with them from the start. Wedding Planners can help you avoid expensive mistakes in the venue search process, but depending on your goals and comfort with planning, you might not find this a necessary step. Either way, it’s best to be intentional about this decision from the beginning. If you decide to work with a Planner from the beginning, now is a great time to start having those initial interviews.
Start Doing Research. Start looking at different wedding styles, venues, and vendors in your market. Saving looks and teams you like. Start consuming content (blogs, IG captions, tiktoks, etc) made by local vendors to start digesting the realities of the market you’re getting married in. Timeframes you should start planning in, months that venue and vendor availability is most competitive, average costs for various services, etc.
Get organized. We’ve talked about ways to plan your wedding without losing your mind before. Get a planning timeline to work in, get a checklist, and put some systems in place to help keep planning simple + predictable.
Start Venue Shopping. Now you’re ready to start shopping for your wedding venue! We recommend cutting down to a short list of 4 or so to tour initially so you can narrow into what you really like and once you’ve narrowed that list down, MAYBE add in a few more for comparison. It can feel daunting to find the right wedding venue for you, but remember that no venue is going to check all the boxes. Some with check many, some will check only a few. Decide in advance what your most important boxes are to help make the decision simpler. Expectation setter: You’re probably going to have to take a day or 2 off of work to get this done. Venues are usually hosting events on weekends and evenings and when they’re not, they like time off too :)
Wondering if you need a Wedding Planner?