I remember it like it was yesterday. My then boyfriend, now husband, made dinner plans with me a WHOLE WEEK in advance, so I knew something was up. You see, we always had the type of relationship where we could just call each other and say ‘what are you up to’ and then find ourselves together 10 minutes later. But since he was taking the care and concern to make sure my calendar was clear a full week ahead of time, I had a feeling something was up. So much so that I left my work desk that day for a nice, sleek blowout at an area salon, and I made sure I was wearing a good outfit. 😉 I had a feeling we may get ENGAGED that night!
Sure enough, we went to dinner that Wednesday night at the top of one of Chicago’s iconic buildings so we could see the Navy Pier fireworks. And before dinner was over, we definitely enjoyed some fireworks of our own – I left the restaurant with a single red rose and a diamond sparkler on my all important ring finger. To this day, the rose, now completely dried out and faded, still sits on my dresser in our bedroom. And the sparkler? The best gift I ever received. Not because of the diamond or the metal from which it was made. More because of the promise that came along with it – the promise of a happy life together, the life we currently share.
We were engaged! But now what? What should we do?
No matter how quickly you plan to celebrate your marriage, you have to first celebrate your engagement! Go out for drinks whenever the mood hits – let your friends and family toast you and your new fiancé at any and every opportunity, gleefully accept and acknowledge all the well wishes coming your way.
Wedding planning, with all the Pinterest boards, magazine clippings, and intense discussions will start soon enough; you deserve those first couple of weeks to absorb it all and to let the world know just how ecstatic you are!
Second, HIRE A WEDDING PLANNER!
You saw that one coming from a mile away, right?
Hiring a professional, who will remain your objective ally until the wedding day and beyond, can really save your sanity and make your wedding planning infinitely less stressful and (dare I say) MORE FUN! With all the choices and options out there, a professional planner and designer can really streamline the process for you and help you go directly to the vendors who are best suited for your style and budget. You may even find someone like myself will save you money along the way, freeing up extra funds to add those additional decor accents you just can’t seem to forget, the ones that you know will just make everything feel complete!
Third, TALK BIG PICTURE!
Do you think your wedding looks like this? And your fiance thinks your wedding looks like this?
Hopefully you’re not THAT far apart with your overall visions for the day, lol. Nevertheless, throughout the process of planning a wedding, open communication will be key. It helps to start the process with an open mind and a will to compromise. One thing that may help everyone at this stage in the game is to make a list of priorities. Find where the important pieces intersect on your lists, and recognize the things you simply don’t care about including.
Hold on to these initial priority lists…..they will become a very valuable tool in developing a budget for the wedding!
Fourth, HAVE THE UNCOMFORTABLE BUDGET TALK
Are your parents hosting your wedding? Are you and your fiance taking the reins on paying for the celebration? In either case, one of the first steps you should take after getting engaged is to establish a budget for the wedding celebration.
The sooner the budget parameters can be defined, the better. Not knowing the budget doesn’t feel good, and makes each and every decision five times harder than it should be. “It’s too expensive” is not a useful thing to say. Too expensive for whom? Your idea of what’s too expensive might be far different than your mom’s idea of what’s too expensive.
Having a budget in place from the get go will make vendor selection and nearly every other wedding related discussion easier, more efficient, and create to an overall happier planning process!
And Fifth, PUT TOGETHER A GUEST LIST
It’s difficult to know where to host your wedding until you have a budget in place as well as a tentative guest list. Your first draft should include anyone and everyone you would ideally like to invite to the wedding. After you construct that first exhaustive list, go back in and start to label guests according to how important it is to you that they attend. Your A list will likely be obvious, even most of your B list will be pretty easy. The C list should really include guests who may get cut due to budgetary constraints and/or the capacity of the venue you select.
If you are newly engaged and looking to get off to the right start with wedding planning, I hope you will reach out to The Ideal Day to learn more about my services! I’d love to take the stress off your plate, so you can go back to 100% enjoying the engagement!