Recently Engaged? Here are your dos and don’ts for getting started planning your wedding. / by Kristen Bradley

Ok, so you’re recently engaged; congratulations!  Now what?!  

A quick Google search, “first steps to planning a wedding”, will tell you to work out your budget, pick your wedding party, and start the guest list.  While all of these things are essential to the planning process, we are here to coach you on taking a different approach.  Read on to learn more about the dos and don’ts of getting started.

DO start with reflecting on what is important to you and your fiancé, including what your overall vision is.  Focus first on the deeper meaning of your wedding.  We recommend picking up a journal or a planner that you can dedicate to your wedding, and it use to record your thoughts and inspos.  Anthropologie has some beautifully crafted notebooks, and we also love the Create 365 The Happy Planner because it’s completely customizable.  This will help you stay true to your core values during the planning process.  

Planner

DO create a digital vision board to share with your wedding planner.  If you aren’t hiring a wedding planner, you can still use your vision board to guide yourself and others who are helping you in the planning process.  You can browse Pinterest and pin images and color themes that you feel a connection to.  Focus on what’s really most important to you.  For example, is it more important to you to have the most spectacular photographs of all time, and small aesthetic details such as floral placement rank high? Or, is it more important to you that your friends and family have a blast and you focus on guest experience?

DO identify your natural points of stress in advance.  Are you breezy about going over budget or do you find yourself becoming emotional about over spending?  Do you contract at the thought of giving up control over some of the small details or do you welcome the extra help?  Are you a decisive person, or do you feel overwhelmed with the infinite options for customizing your dream day?  Creating awareness around these points will help you pause in the moments that you are faced with your triggers and move through them like a champ.  

Champ

DO start to draft a guest list with your honey so that you have a basic understanding of the size of your wedding but DON’T reach out to anyone just yet.  We repeat, do not invite anyone yet!  In our experience, there are always additional costs that even the most savvy brides haven’t taken into account, and one of the easiest ways to reduce your overall spend in by managing your guest count.   By having a rough estimate in advance, you will be able to choose the right venue but you will not feel pressured to stretch your resources to accommodate people you perhaps invited in the initial engagement excitement.  

DO be a superstar but DON’T be a superbride.  “Wedding planning was the most stress-free experience of my life,” …said no bride ever.  While becoming engaged and planning a wedding is a joyful experience, even the most organized brides need a helping hand!  There are simply too many spinning plates to balance them all by yourself.  Of course as a team of planners, we believe in hiring a professional, but we too have been brides in the past.  In our personal experience, working alongside of an objective expert can help you navigate all of the small and big details with ease and grace.  Bonus, you will actually have a blast in the planning process with expert hands on deck.  

After you have worked through these dos and don’ts we recommend researching the average prices for the big things you will need to book for your wedding day and creating a budget you are comfortable with.  This is where your wedding planner can provide a ton of value, as a they will include things you hadn’t considered, and a good planner will help match your expectations with your budget.  Once you have done this, shop around first for your venue, officiant, and photographer, because they can usually only accommodate one or two weddings per day.  Caterers and florists can wait for now, as they can usually support multiple events in one day, and have a bit more flexibility with bookings.  

Let us know in the comments below if you have any top dos and don’ts to share based off of your own experience.  We’d love to hear from you!