Just got engaged? Congratulations! You are about to be bombarded with hundreds of wedding-related questions.
You can still enjoy your engagement, as you rightly should, throughout all of the wedding dress, wedding party and wedding date questions, though. All it takes is a little organizational help.
If you take small steps, one at a time and in the right order, you will 1) avoid the vast majority of the larger wedding stressors, and 2) have actual answers to those ever-present wedding questions you’re going to get from everyone.
Newly engaged? Here’s what to do next:
1. Tell your friends and family that you’re officially off the market. Between phone calls, text messages and shout-outs on Facebook, announcing your engagement to friends and family will initiate a long series of congratulations and questions about your pending nuptials. It is about to get crazy, but you are going to be just fine.
2. Research, research, research. Look at as many articles, blog posts and photo galleries as you can handle. The more you are exposed to, the more questions will form in your head and the more ideas you will come up with for your own wedding. You can never really be too prepared.
3. Start (or continue building) your wedding Pinterest board. We love this tool. It really is a newly engaged bride-to-be’s best friend. Start collecting photos of ideas from around the internet that you are considering incorporating into your own wedding and reception. This will help you (first and foremost) remember your ideas, and it will also help you narrow down those ideas that revolve around the same theme. Sometimes, after you go back and look at some of your old “pins,” you will notice a pattern to what you like, and items like wedding colors and themes will become clearer.
4. Collaborate on your wedding “vision.” Make the wedding vision decision together. What does each of you see as your dream wedding? Some common get-the-ball-rolling questions include: outdoor vs. indoor, local vs. destination, time of the year to marry, preferred length of engagement, big vs. small wedding, church/temple vs. venue wedding, etc.
5. Choose your wedding party. Talk this over with your fiancé, of course, before you make any executive decisions without him (or her). You will want the same number of bridesmaids and groomsmen, so collaborating on that number alone might take a little back and forth before you have settled on a number.
6. Set a wedding budget. This conversation might involve more than just you and your fiancé. For example, one of both of your parents might be willing to pay for your some or all of your wedding. It is best to know your numbers before you go any further in the planning process.
7. Choose a date, or dates. Based on some of the conclusions you and your fiancé came to in step #4, choose a date and backup date(s) to bring with you on your quest for the right venue.
8. Start a guest list. Also based on your budget and wedding vision decisions, create a guest list. You might want to break it into several “levels” of guests, such as the family and friends you must invite, then the potential guests that you would like to be there but do not feel obligated to invite, followed by the next set of invitees, such as neighbors and colleagues who might get an invitation, and so on. A general wedding rule of thumb is that approximately 75% of your invitees will attend the wedding.
9. More research. This time, focus your research on specific things, such as your venue list and your caterer list. Again, we recommend using Pinterest to help you organize the wedding venues and wedding caterers you like. We have a venue locator tool that searches through venues throughout the Chicagoland area based on your guest count, location and indoor/outdoor preferences, which is a great place to start. Search each venue’s website and take a look through all of their photos, giving you an idea as to what their capabilities are and if they are up to the level of service for which you are looking. Can these venues be transformed into your dream wedding? Do your caterers have stellar reviews and glamorous wedding photos that you can see before you schedule a meeting? Pin all that apply.
10. Make a list of venue and catering options that fit with your vision. Not all venues and catering partners are made equal. It is your job to create the vision, but their job to help see it through. If you’re in love with the idea of an outdoor wedding while your favorite flowers are in bloom, then you have to make sure that your outdoor venue options have lush gardens—amongst other amenities—and that they are available on the date(s) in which you are interested. Caterers tend to have slightly more flexibility when it comes to dates, but it is still best to contact your catering contenders in advance so that you can ensure priority on your preferred wedding date. Once you do this, you can work on scheduling site visits and tastings with the ones you really like.
Once you meet with your list of venues and caterers and decide on which ones you would like to be your wedding partners, then the planning gets much easier because you just hired on two additional teams to help plan your wedding. Our newly engaged clients are especially happy to work with professionals because from the moment we start our first conversation to the day after the wedding, they feel we completely take care of them. We love honoring the wedding visions, satisfying budgets, creating wonderful wedding menus and providing exceptional additional services.