Congratulations! You're engaged and everything about life just got a lot more exciting. The first thing you need to do is pour yourself your drink of choice and enjoy this special time before you get your gears turning about wedding plans too much. Tell friends and family, have an engagement party, stare at your beautiful new ring for hours, however it is you want to celebrate I think you should celebrate away.
Once you've got that taken care of I'm sure there will be a million things running through your mind. Often times I see couples jumping into planning worrying about the wrong things first. Trust me when I say this will lead to some frustration later on down the road, and I want to help you avoid that at all costs.
Below are three topics to discuss from the very beginning of the process that will set you up for success for the remainder of your engagement. They do this because they create a solid foundation for your wedding day and help navigate the many other decisions to follow. So here is where I suggest beginning...
DISCUSS YOUR PRIORITIES TOGETHER
I think before you begin anything you and your fiancé should sit down and have a real discussion about what you would like out of your wedding. What are your goals for your wedding? How do you want it to feel? How do you want your guests to feel? etc. Being open and candid about the "big picture" of your wedding day will help you define some priorities, and these priorities along with other things like the budget (more on that in a minute) will guide you through your entire planning planning process.
My suggestion is to come up with your "Top Three" priorities and keep those at the forefront of the decisions you make throughout planning. If you come to a roadblock down the line and you're having trouble deciding between two options, analyze which one is in line with your original priorities and go from there.
DISCUSS YOUR WEDDING BUDGET
Planning a wedding is an emotional process and dealing with money can be a stressful process, so the more you outline from the beginning the easier it is to keep your emotions under control.
It is likely that the money you have to spend on your wedding will be coming from multiple sources. Whether that be you and your fiancé, family members, parents, etc., you need to have a clear understanding of the amount you will be budgeting regardless of where the money is coming from. If you and your fiancé are contributing make sure you come together on a number you are comfortable with and set that limit. Talk with the family members who will be contributing or paying and be clear on what you will be working with. Once you have had the necessary discussions and the budget has been set you can then move forward allocating those funds.
DISCUSS YOUR GUEST LIST
The last major topic to cover after you get engaged is your guest list. Having a clear sense of the number of guests you will be inviting is extremely helpful (and probably necessary) before you move forward with other tasks like finding a venue. Some things to consider are:
- Roughly how many guests will be coming from your side vs. your finance's side?
- The type of atmosphere and ambiance you would like to create. Big party vs. intimate gathering, etc.
- Will you be allowing plus ones? Children?
Of those potential guests how many are in-town vs. out-of-town?
Knowing a number of potential guests is important information from the very beginning. It can be a frustrating task, but remember to stick to your original priorities and invite people who you want to join in on the celebration with you, not just those you feel you “have to” invite. Once you have your rough draft list begin collecting addresses and other important information so you aren’t rushing to gather all of it right when you calligrapher or stationer needs them for your invitations.
I can promise you that if these three topics are discussed from the get go (and you stick to your decisions!) you will feel better prepared to tackle everything else that comes along with planning a wedding. And needless to say, once you have a clear sense of your priorities, budget, and guest list size it’s also a perfect time to hire a wedding planner!
Cover photo by Amy & Jordan Photography