The holidays are here, which means it is officially engagement season! If you're not familiar, nearly 40% of all proposals happen between Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day, which is why it's often referred to as "engagement season". Out of that 40%, the majority of the proposals happen in December with Christmas Day being the most popular date for engagements to happen all year, followed by Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day.
If you're newly engaged and just finding this blog, CONGRATULATIONS! It's such an exciting time, and likely something you've been looking forward to for a long time. I highly recommend you take some time to enjoy the newly engaged moment with your family and friends, soak in all the happiness and good vibes, and then dive into the actual planning.
And once you're ready, this is exactly where you want to begin, because today, we're going to review one of our most popular wedding planning guides called the First Things to do After Getting Engaged.
Step One - Set up Your Accounts
The first step in wedding planning should be setting up your accounts. Once the planning starts, you're gonna be flooded with vendor emails, quotes, inspiration pics, and spreadsheets. Taking a few moments to set up these four accounts at the begining will help you keep everything organized.
1. Wedding Specific Email Address
First up is getting a wedding specific email address to help keep your wedding related communications separate from your work or personal emails. Gmail is a favorite, and you can use your wedding date or your names to come up with an easy to remember address.
As you get further into wedding planning, you'll be giving your email to MANY vendors and companies, and you'll want to be able to easily keep everything organized. It will also keep your work or personal accounts clean from the email lists you'll want to be included on (ahem...are you on our email list yet? All you need to do is grab one of our Free Wedding Planning Guides and you're all set!)
2. Google Drive Account
If you aren't already using Google Drive, you're definitely going to want to get familiar with it. I recommend this over regular Word or Excel because you can share documents with your fiance, family, wedding party and vendors super easily. This can really come in handy when it comes to collecting addresses, working on the budget, and sharing timeline and other details with the group.
3. Pinterest Account
The third account is Pinterest, and chances are you already have a wedding Pinterest board or two started. But if not, now is definitely the time to get started!
As you may know, I definitely have a love-hate relationship with Pinterest, (just check out this recent episode if you haven't yet). Pinterest is very helpful to find wedding inspiration and communicate your likes and dislikes with your vendors.
4. Zola, WeddingWire, or The Knot Accounts
And finally, the fourth account is either a Zola, WeddingWire or The Knot accounts. These are all great sites to help you with your wedding planning. While Zola is usually my favorite for the majority of the features they offer, I find that the vendor listings and reviews are better on WeddingWire and The Knot.
Step Two - Discuss Your Wedding Priorities
Many couples skip right past this step, but it's so important that you review your wedding priorities BEFORE you start booking anything. Make sure that you've identified what the main priorities are for your wedding, starting with the location, time of year, and the size of the event.
Equally important, however, is to also discuss the wants and needs that come along with each different category within the wedding, and this is the part that many couples will skip. You can use the worksheet in the download that outlines the main categories, and it'll help you go through a brain dump of all of the things that are important to you when it comes to the wedding.
As you get further into planning, you're going to be faced with so many decisions, and unfortunately, many of those decisions won't come with an easy to see right or wrong answer. If you don't have a solid understanding of where your priorities are, those decisions will be very difficult to make.
Now, this isn't to say your priorities are set on day one, and they never change. They certainly can, but doing this in the beginning stages of planning helps you keep an eye on the things that are important so you can make sure that you are planning your wedding with purpose and intention.
Step Three - Discuss the Budget
In this step, your goal is to get the big picture number of what your budget is gonna be. I highly recommend that you have a solid understanding of your budget before booking your venues or vendors. I know this can be really difficult, it's so tempting to start looking at venues, or feel like you'll set your budget once you book your venue. But booking anything before you know what your budget is can lead to a ton of issues down the road.
The first step for getting this big picture number is to talk to anyone that may be contributing to the wedding. Most of our clients' budgets today are a combination of both sides of the family, as well as the couples themselves. Have an open conversation with those contributing, and do your best to get the actual dollar amount that they're comfortable putting towards the wedding.
We'll talk more about the budget in upcoming posts, but I can't stress how important this is to do before you start booking any of your vendors.
4. Create your Guest List
I'm not gonna lie, the process of creating your guest list can be a painful one. You'll most likely need to involve both sides of the family, which can lead to some conflicting opinions. But don't worry, because that's why we went through those priorities first! Hopefully, you've already decided on the general size of a wedding you want, and you can build the list around that.
A few questions that you can ask to kind of get started on this is:
1) What size wedding do you want?
2) Will you be inviting kids?
3) How many will be in your wedding party?
4) Will all adults be given a date?
5) Do you plan on having an A, B, or C list?
Once you have these four steps completed, you're gonna be in a much better space to start looking at actual venues and thinking about booking vendors. If you don't go through these steps in enough detail, it's easy to put a deposit down on a venue, and then realize it simply won't accommodate all of the people you wanna invite. Or maybe you've just committed way more of your budget than you meant to because you hadn't really thought through all of the wedding priorities for you.
So much more wedding planning help coming your way soon! Follow us on any of these platforms to make sure you don't miss anything!