Newly Engaged? Here’s How to Start Planning Your Wedding

Hooray, Gorgeous! You're getting married. You've made the announcement, you’ve posted a photo of your beautiful ring on Instagram, and you’re receiving hundreds of phone calls, texts and Facebook notifications with sweet messages from your family and friends congratulating you! And already a curious relative has asked you, "so, when's the wedding?" Cue the planning anxiety. 

Megan Braemore Photography

Megan Braemore Photography

To get you on the right track towards your big day, I have put together a short guide featuring the “First Six Wedding Planning Steps” to begin your wedding planning journey. And, if you're interested in a little more wedding assistance from Always Yours Events, read through to the bottom of the post for access to another planning tool from AYE!

At AYE, my intention during a couple’s initial consultation is to essentially start them off on the right foot, lay down a good foundation and, most importantly, prevent stress. Many of my brides tell me that the first thing they do after they get engaged is hop onto Google and Pinterest, beginning the endless search for venues, caterers, photographers, stationers, etc.  And every one of them says that within a few days, they are completely overwhelmed. So when a bride books with me, my goal is to skip the overwhelm and get her on the right track towards a gorgeous wedding. Below is my “First Six Wedding Planning Steps” guide, outlining touch points I use during my initial consultations to help my couples start from scratch.

Megan Braemore Photography

Megan Braemore Photography

1. HAVE A LITTLE REVERIE

You’ve been dreaming about this day since you were seven, so don’t stop now! Have a little reverie about the aspects you hope to incorporate into your Wedding Day. Jot down these ideas and take a good look. I’ll bet my bottom dollar that you will see the makings of a wedding style/theme starting to form. Farm tables, flower crowns and floral garland -- you might be dreaming of a botanical, rustic affair! Pink peonies, gold rimmed glassware, black and white striped linens -- you’re on the Kate Spade chic track!

2. THE “WHERE”

Do you have a general location in mind? Will you get married in your hometown? Or maybe your fiance’s hometown? What about where you spent the Summer as a child? Or are you are you dreaming about jetsetting for an intimate destination wedding in Bora Bora? You don’t have to specifically pick your venue at this point. Just hone in on your ideal location.

3. DEFINE YOUR BUDGET

I know, this is the scary conversation. But trust me, you want to do this now. This is going to allow you to set parameters, which, believe it or not, will actually make the journey easier and wedding-related decisions less daunting. If you haven’t already, speak with both sides of the family about whether or not they feel comfortable contributing to your Wedding Day budget. Then sit down together and come up with an estimated figure. Here is one of my favorite resources that will help you generate a budget: http://theeverylastdetail.com/first-things-first-setting-a-wedding-budget/

4. CREATE YOUR GUEST LIST

You’re thinking, “this is going to be tough” (cue Steve Martin in Father of the Bride ruthlessly cutting names from his daughter’s guest list). But it doesn’t have to be! Create your list with your fiancé by working from the core outwards. Start in this order: immediate family, close relatives (first aunts, uncles and cousins), best friends, distant relatives, family friends, work friends and colleagues. You can refine later, but at this point you will have a pretty good handle on your estimated guest count.

5. NARROW YOUR VENUE OPTIONS DOWN (THEN BOOK!)

Now take your dreams, general location, budget and guest count and do a little research. Go to review websites such as thevenuereport.com or theknot.com and review venues in your ideal location that will work with your guest count and overall wedding vision. Call all of your venue options and set up a time to chat with your venue representative about potential dates. Set up site visits with each venue that has availability. And once you find one that you love, consider booking immediately so the date you desire is 100% yours!

6. BOOK YOUR WEDDING PLANNER

This step can come before booking a venue OR after. Some brides book a wedding planner before reserving their venue, therefore their wedding planner will be very actively venue scouting with them. When looking for a wedding planner, look for experience, good recommendations and take a gander at his or her portfolio. Most importantly try to find someone that you connect with immediately. A personal connection with you planner will make the experience that much more enjoyable.

Megan Braemore Photography

Megan Braemore Photography

And there you have it! AYE’s six "next steps" that will help you jumpstart the wedding planning journey and lay down a fantastic foundation for your the big day. I hope you found this guide helpful, and I hope you feel more confident moving forward with this very exciting experience! 

In the comments below, share with me ideas for posts you would like to see in the near future! And for more gorgeous wedding inspiration, design ideas, tips and tricks straight to your inbox each month, sign up for the AYE Monthly Newsletter here!

xoxo, Keri

Photography by Briana Moore Photography

Wedding Planning by Always Yours Events