Now that the holidays are over and Valentine’s Day is on the horizon, many lucky couples out there will find themselves celebrating an engagement! If you’ve always dreamed of planning your wedding, it is tempting to get right online in search of great ideas and start shopping for all the fun stuff . . . dresses, cute signs, favors, etc.
My best advice? Slow down! First savor the celebration of your engagement. What a huge milestone in your life as a couple. Don’t pass over it to get to down the aisle faster. Shout your joy from the rooftops, plan an engagement party, polish your ring every day and show off your fiancé with pride.
Then when it’s time to start planning, try to resist the temptation to just do the fun stuff first. Go ahead and create a “wedding” board on Pinterest and start pinning images that inspire your vision for the big day, but before you start signing contracts and making purchases, make sure you take time for these important steps:
- Determine the Budget. What will you have to spend and where are the funds coming from? The answer to this question will dictate almost every other decision you make along the way. Have the important conversations with all contributors so that you understand exactly what you have to work with.
- Set Priorities. Make sure that you know what your wedding priorities are. Make a list of everything your budget needs to cover; i.e. flowers, rings, transportation, food, etc. Literally rank the items beginning with what’s most important to you and ending with what is least important. Making spending decisions according to this priority list will ensure that you make the best use of your funds and any necessary compromises will be on the things you care the least about.
- Consult a Planner. Once you know how much you have to spend and what your priorities are, schedule a consultation with a local Wedding Planner. A professional Planner can help you create a timeline for your planning process, find reputable vendors to fit your priorities and budget and offer insider information and tips to make your planning less stressful. Keep in mind that you don’t have to hire a full service planner to take advantage of their expertise. Most planners provide complimentary telephone and email consultations to clients who contract them for day-of coordination and/or offer hourly a la carte consultations to anyone looking for guidance as they plan their own weddings. Paying a small consultation fee now can save you a lot of time, money and aggravation later.
Follow these steps and you’re on your way to not only surviving the planning process . . . but enjoying it.
Happy planning everybody!