Congratulations, you're engaged! Being someone's fiancee is such an exciting, short period of time in your life, and you should have fun with it! The problem is, you barely have a day to stop and enjoy the moment before everyone and their mother is asking you all about the wedding. The ring on your finger still feels like a foreign object and your sister wants to know if she's the maid of honor and what color your dresses are going to be. It can be a little overwhelming to say the least.
If you're flexible about the length of your engagement, take a little bit of time and enjoy this brief new period of life. If you know you want to get married quickly though, it is best to jump right on the planning wagon... But where to start?
BEGIN HERE --> Start with determining your budget! You don't have to figure out how much each aspect of your wedding is going to cost at this moment, but knowing your bottom line can help guide everything from wedding date, to guest list, to vendor choices. Knowing how much money you have to spend gives you a place to start. -->
--> NEXT. Hire a planner! Unless you know you're going to handle everything yourself, finding a planner at the beginning of the process can save you time and money. Planners are well connected with trusted vendors, have knowledge of all the best venues, and know how to work your budget so that you get the most for your money. Most planners (like me!...shameless plug) offer various levels of planning packages, so you get the services that fit your style. Onto the next move -->
--> CHOOSE ONE:
A. Pick a date. If you go this route, you probably already know the date you want to get married and it's special to you for some reason. Maybe a past anniversary, maybe the date sounds good, maybe it works with your crazy work schedule, time of year, etc, the reasons continue. Going with this option first can sometimes be more restrictive when it comes to finding venues unless you're going with an out of season wedding (like something in January or February.) Anyway, once you have a date determined, get to option B pronto.
B. Pick a venue. If you pick option B to begin over A, then you're probably more concerned with finding the right place to get married over being tied to a certain date. Choosing to go with picking a venue over a date allows you more flexibility and choice when it comes to booking a place you fall in love with. Sometimes a venue you LOVE might be too expensive during high season, but offers discounted rates you can afford in the off-season or on a weekday. When you don't care about the date as much, you can often make venues work for you. If you chose option B over A, determining the venue leads you directly to choosing the available date that works best for you, and voila! both tasks are complete. -->
--> FINALLY (well...what I would call the final stage of the "beginning"). Figure out what's most important to you. If you could care less about the dinner you're giving guests, and just want to dance, focus your attention on the DJ or band over the caterer. Maybe you don't like flowers... don't spend a lot of time/money planning for them! You absolutely LOVE cake. Make sure you visit a few bakeries and get to enjoy a few tastings before choosing which baker to go with. Determining what the most important aspects of your wedding are to you makes the whole rest of the process less stressful; you focus energy on the things that make you happy and excited, and don't waste time worrying about the things that aren't important to you.
All the best,