Yay, you’re engaged! Congratulations lovely, you’ve got a sparkler on your finger, you’ve shared the news with friends and family.. but now what!? Perhaps the reality of planning a wedding is setting in and you’re not sure where to start. Well don’t panic, read on for my top tips on what to focus on when you first get engaged!
Photo: Hannah Duffy Photography
1) Enjoy your engagement!
First of all, enjoy your engagement! There is no rush to do anything. This is such an exciting time and you won’t get this time back, so your engagement itself should be treated as the monumental occasion that it is before the wedding planning kicks in. Make sure your gorgeous new ring is insured and be prepared to spend A LOT of time staring at your hand over the coming weeks!
2) Set your budget
Ok, I know, it’s not the most exciting of things to do right at the start of your wedding planning journey, but it is an important one! There is no point in starting to plan your wedding without any idea of what kind of budget you are working with. Get the difficult conversations, such as who will be contributing financially, out of the way early on before emotions start to rise! Having a rough idea of your budget will make it much easier to go on to choose the larger spends such as your venue, with the rest of the detail following on.
Now is the time to have an honest conversation with your partner about what kind of day you would both like, and what your priorities are. Again, it’s important to clear this up early on in your wedding planning journey as you won’t make a lot of progress if your fiancé is hoping for an exotic beach wedding with 10 of your nearest and dearest but your Pinterest board is filling up with tipi wedding inspiration for 300 guests. If this is the case, you’ll need to spend some time working on a compromise!
It’s also a good time to go one step further, and figure out which elements of the wedding are most important to you both so that you can set aside a big enough portion of the budget. It might be that you’ve got your heart set on a particular photographer, you want to splash out on amazing catering, or you're after a day packed with entertainment for your guests.
4) Find your wedding day inspiration
Time for the exciting bit! Take some time out from the serious side of wedding planning and get searching for inspiration for your big day. Lose yourself on Pinterest, stock up on Bridal magazines and make use of the amazing resource of wedding blogs. We have some fantastic blogs in the UK that are packed full of inspirational shoots from the industry’s finest suppliers, and real weddings. Check out a few of my favourites: BLOVED, Want that Wedding and Bride & Tonic.
5) Define your wedding day style
Now that you’re inspired you are probably starting to get a good idea of what your wedding day style is and can visualise how you want your day to look.
Having a clear vision of your style will make life much easier when you begin to put together your wedding dream team. You will find that all wedding suppliers have their own style, so it will really help you to focus on the right suppliers for your style.
If defining your style is something you struggle with or don’t enjoy, now might be the time to consider hiring a wedding planner or stylist to help you pull all of your ideas together and source everything you will need to bring your vision to life.
6) Book your VIP suppliers
With your wedding day style now refined, it’s time to lock in your key wedding suppliers. Start off with your venue, so you can confirm your date.
Then move on to those suppliers who generally only work one wedding per day, such as photographer/videographer, wedding planner, and so on.
Next on the list to arrange are your ‘on the day’ suppliers, such as your florist, caterer, cake-maker and lastly you will need to think about those who won’t be there on the day but still need to work to a certain timescale, such as your stationer.
7) Get organised!
Once you get the ball rolling with booking your suppliers you really need to get organised. Make sure you are saving copies of contracts and terms & conditions and all of your payment receipts as you are going along. It would also be super helpful to keep a spreadsheet of money spent against your budget allocation, and details of upcoming payments. It may not be fun, but will streamline the whole process and way less stressful for you!
If this isn’t for you, some planners offer an adhoc admin service where you can pay them by the hour to manage your ‘wedmin’ for you.
8) Be kind…
…to yourself! Don’t get too caught up in the pressures of Instagrammable weddings and family politics. Once you’ve made a decision stick to it, and move on – don’t keep second guessing yourself. Keep in mind why you are planning this huge day – you’re marrying the person you love and it is a celebration of your love and life together. Everything else is a bonus!
Keep an eye out for more blogs in the coming weeks where we will delve in to some of these points in more detail.