CONGRATULATIONS! The man of your dreams asked you to marry him and you said yes! You get to spend the rest of your life with this wonderful man...AND THEN...it hits you...I'M GETTING MARRIED! Now what?
Well, first of all take a deep breath and enjoy all the wonderful emotions that are surrounding you right now. Tomorrow will be a new day and you can start your planning then. Today/tonight...enjoy the time with your fiancé. BUT, if your engagement was in a public place, like a restaurant or your favorite spot, then you need to make some phone calls before spending that one-on-one time with your fiancé. You always want your family and closest friends to know before someone else tells them. I know that in this day and age, everything is about social media and the first thing you want to do is post a picture on Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat BUT what if your family doesn't have that or doesn't see it...you don't want them to hear about it from their neighbor or that aunt that knows everything. Be sure to take the time to call those special people in your life and let them know or better yet, go visit or even Skype with them if they are out of town so they can see the beautiful ring and be there with you!
The second thing to remember is to get the ring sized and insured. I would hate for you to lose it because it's too loose and it not be insured. That would be a horrible way to start off your engagement.
Now the fun part begins. The WHERE...the WHEN...the HOW...the WHAT. Do you have that binder notebook with past invitations that you loved, pictures of the wedding dress you want, examples of the venues you like and pictures of the cake you can't wait to try? If so, you are on your way...if not, it's time to plan. Go to the store and buy your first wedding magazine. Believe me when I say you will be overwhelmed at the number of different magazines.
First things first, how much time do you have to plan your wedding? Do you work full-time, are you in school, is your schedule crazy? If so, do you need to think about a wedding planner to help negotiate contracts, work with venues, plan your day of coordination and most importantly, reduce your stress? Or, are you looking to cut costs and have time to plan the wedding yourself?
Now, let's talk dates... do you want to be a June bride, a fall bride or a Christmas bride? One of the first things that people are going to ask you is when you are getting married. Depending on your time table, you don't have to have an exact date yet but an estimation would be good. Are you looking at getting married this year or next? What time of year? People will feel included if you can say, we are looking at fall 2016 or early 2017. It will also help give you a little direction on where to start planning. [For help on SETTING THE DATE...and things you need to think about, check out our Blog Post on January 14th]
Now that you have a general idea of when you want to get married, it's time to think about your wedding party. Do you even want one? Brothers...sisters...best friends...little cousins or children...how many to include? So much to think about. There can be a lot of demands on your bridal party so think very hard about who you want to ask before asking them to be a part of your special day. [For tips on CHOOSING YOUR BRIDAL PARTY..., check out our Blog Post on January 28th]
So, now you have a tentative date for getting married, your bridal party and you've decided on whether to plan the wedding on your own or get some help. The next question is how you are going to pay for it. Will your parents be helping you with the wedding or is this something you will be paying for on your own? No matter which way you go, you will want to start a savings account. Along with that savings account, you will need to make a REALISTIC budget. No matter how careful you are, things will cost more than you expect and unforeseen costs will arise. BUT keep in mind that a realistic budget will help you when planning your wedding and picking your guest list.
Before you start thinking about your venue, think about your guest list. Do you want a small wedding or are you planning on a larger one. You will also need to ask your parents about their lists of the people they would like to invite as well. If you are planning on a limited number of people at your wedding, you may consider letting them know the number of people they can invite and remind them that the list is preliminary and that it may need to be cut later on. [For things to know about SETTING YOUR WEDDING GUEST LIST..., check out our Blog Post on February 11th]
Believe me when I say this is definitely NOT the only things that you need to think about but it's a great place to start. There are plenty of websites to choose from with great planning lists...and here at LaurieLouis.com, you will find lots of weekly blogs and information to help guide you through your planning needs. You will find over the next few months that you will get advice from everyone...just smile, nod and say thank you... You will also find that people you would never think to invite will make assumptions that they are included. Once again, just smile and stick to your plans. Above all, HAVE FUN! Plan some periodic "alone time" with your fiancé and rest. You want this to be one of the best times of your life.
Next week, we will sit down with First Colony Winery in our Vendor Spotlight and on January 14th, check out our blog on what you need to think about before SETTING THE DATE.