An engagement is such a wonderful and happy time in a couple’s life. It’s a shame that so often brides and their husbands-to-be can become overly stressed directly following their decision to make a lifelong commitment to one another. It’s not necessarily the commitment part that scares the living jabeezes out the two, but it’s the daunting process of planning a perfect wedding day that can literally make a happy, beaming, so in love couple turn into a couple of Debbie Downers. Luckily there are a slew of ways to make planning a wedding that caters to your every dream be an experience that you actually enjoy! Below I have listed the first 5 things that you should do following an engagement to ensure that your planning experience is a success.
Make Your Own Time line
There are a wide variety of wedding planning time lines available to today’s bride. You can find basic time lines outlining a month to month schedule through a simple google search. Use these as a rubric of sorts to design your own month to month plan of action. When developing your time line, keep in mind how you like to handle things. Are you a person that gets the job done quick and makes decisions easily? Do you like to take your time and space things out into easy to bite size pieces? Develop your wedding plans as such. Don’t try to make it more stressful on yourself than it should be. Only work with what you know you can handle.
It’s also important to set “Goals” for yourself NOT “Deadlines”. What I mean by this is that instead of marking on your calendar that you HAVE to book the reception venue, buy your dress, and book the photographer by the 15th of this month, you should say something to the effect of…”It’s my GOAL to book these things by the 15th of this month. It’s a way to take a positive outlook on the planning process as opposed to a negative outlook.
This next part may sound a bit backwards to you, but I believe it’s of great benefit to a couple to actually plan the date of the wedding AFTER you develop your calendar. This way you are not trying to cram everything into a few months or try to space everything out longer than it needs to be. Once you have created a comfortable time line, THEN pick your date.
Decide on the Size/Style of your Wedding
Next up is to decide on the size of your wedding. You’ll want to be careful with this part. First think about the type of wedding you envision. Will it be a destination, large gala, simple chic, or medium sized affair. Don’t worry about what your great Aunt Patty wants you to have.. what do YOU want your wedding day to be like? The size and style of your wedding will ultimately determine the type of venue that you will need to secure for the ceremony and reception.. which brings us to our next point.
Book the Big things First
The top three big things to book are as follows: The church, reception site, and photographer. These are the top three things that are necessary to schedule a great deal in advance. Especially if you live in a small town where there is a small selection of venues and vendors, it’s important to book them early so that you’re not left to compromise for a different wedding date than you had planned. It’s not important what order you book these three. Perhaps the photographer that you want is only available on a certain day. Go ahead and research available churches and reception locations and if it works out to book the photographer first, go ahead. The key is to be flexible with your specific date choices. It’s totally fine to just pick a month that you want to be married in, and then review your options for availability to find the specific date.
Enlist the Help of Friends/Family/Volunteers
Now is your time to shine! After an engagement you typically have a flood of eager beaver volunteers to help you plan your special day. Don’t look at the extra help as a bad thing. Although a lot of family and friends will have their own opinion on things, use they’re eagerness to help to your benefit. Make it clear that you are so grateful for their help and you already have an idea of how you want things to be so they will be a great help to you in order to reach your ultimate wedding day bliss.
Ryan and I were blessed to have a ton of family helping us out, considering we were planning our wedding from 3000 miles away! Mothers, aunts, sisters, friends…they are all fantastic resources and are usually very willing to take on a little responsibility when it comes to the wedding day. Just be careful not to become the delegating bridezilla from wedded hell. Be considerate and thankful for the help you receive.
Decide on One Night a Week For you and Your Significant Other to Work on Your Wedding
One of the best decisions Ryan and I made early on in the wedding process, was to designate one night a week to focus on our wedding planning. We had a lot of fun with this and it quickly became our favorite night of the week. We called it “Wedding Wednesday” and we would simply head to our favorite coffee shop, bring our wedding planner book, and pick one topic a week on which to focus. This allowed for a lower level of stress when planning things simply because we were only doing one thing a week. It is actually possible to plan your entire wedding just by simply completing one goal a week. It’s a great way to brain storm and really put a unique spin on important pieces of your day. Both Ryan and I often had different ideas in mind, but through our “Wedding Wednesday” we were able to collaborate on everything and created a fantastic, unique, and memorable wedding.
So those are my top 5 most important areas to focus on directly following your engagement. Don’t forget to be absolutely elated about your recent commitment and have a wonderful time planning your wedding because it will fly by and in no time you will be walking down that aisle ready to say ‘I do’!