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So You Are Engaged… What Next?

 December 28, 2023

Recently engaged? Planning a 2024 wedding? Congratulations!

We are here to help ease your wedding planning process. Getting started is often one of the most daunting parts, so we’ve collected the starting steps for you. Here are the 6 things you should plan first:



1. Decide on your priorities.


Photo Credit: Looyenga Photography


Setting expectations and getting on the same page as a couple is important to do from the start. Take some time with your significant other to decide what your priorities are. Is it photographs, the food, or a particular venue? Don’t forget about wedding-adjacent activities, such as a reception dinner or bachelor/bachelorette parties! You may even want to create an overall mission statement that gets at the goal of your wedding. To go a bit further, you can even determine which common wedding items/activities are low priority. 



2. Create a budget.


Next, determine what overhead cost or range you want to fall in. Now that you know what things are most important to you, you can give a little extra budget towards those! Because miscellaneous or surprise costs will likely arise, consider allotting some wiggle room for those, too. Make sure you also discuss how the wedding will be paid for and who will be covering what, to avoid confusion later.



3. Put together a guest list.


Photo Credit: Red Cedar Studios


The guest list will continually be changed and updated as you go through RSVPs and more. However, getting a tentative idea of how many guests you would like to invite will help you determine the size of the venue you need to reserve, one of the other steps in this list. Because the number of guests is one of the largest determinants of costs, having this number plus your desired budget will aid in determining what other vendors are in your budget later in the process, too. 


4. Plan for planning.


Starting and staying organized will help eradicate some of the later headaches of wedding planning. Choose an organization system that works for you: Do you have an organization or to-do list software you love? Are you into old-school paper to-do lists and folders? In addition, consider starting a Google Drive folder or other system that allows you to share information with your significant other, planner, vendors, or wedding party as needed.

Next, set aside time in your schedule to plan regularly, such as weekly, bi-weekly, etc. Allocating the time upfront helps avoid last-minute, rushed planning. You can also set aside time to not plan or to get away during the time leading up to your wedding!



5. Hire a wedding planner.


If you are considering bringing in a professional to take some of the planning load off, then getting them the earlier the better! Wedding planners often offer different levels of service, so even if you want to be heavily involved or have budget constraints, a planner could still be a good fit for you.



6. Book your venue.


Photo Credit: Looyenga Photography


Your venue is often the first vendor to book. It frequently determines the other vendors you choose and how you book them. For example, the venue will likely determine the date and time range you book others for or the venue may have limitations on the activities allowed. Importantly, the venue may also include certain services, offer a deal for using certain vendors, or limit you to a select list of their preferred vendors.


With these 6 steps, you’ve made some of the most important decisions, and you are well on your way in planning your wedding! Next, you can get into the fun stuff: Use Instagram and Pinterest to gain inspiration and determine what feel you want your wedding to have. Check out our vendor directory to get a start on booking your planner, venue, and other vendors!