Would you believe 40% of all engagements will happen between the months of November and February? I have suspicion, that out of these, many of them happen right around Christmas. If you're one of the lucky ones who have just gotten engaged, you're probably feeling a little overwhelmed right now. People are sure to ask you questions you're not ready to answer, and giving you all kinds of advice (not always good advice either.)
If all of this "stuff" is putting a damper on your post-proposal excitement, take a break and read these 10 helpful tips sure to put you on the right wedding planning path.
1. Breathe-Take some quiet time with just you and your husband-to-be. You are soon going to be entering a stressful and challenging time in your life, be sure to take the time to absorb this wonderful new chapter in your life.
2. Figure out the budget- Everyone's asking you about dresses, locations and dates. But, before you can decide on any of that stuff, you need to know how much you have to work with. Don't set yourself up for disappointment by choosing a venue only to find out later it is not within your wedding budget. Knowing your budget will also help you stay focused on what direction you will go throughout your planning. This conversation is not the most comfortable, but it is by far the most important. If your parents or future in-laws will be contributing, be sure to sit them down and include them in the conversation if possible.
3. Select your bridal party- All of your girlfriends and close family members are going to be asking (or assuming as the case may be), about your bridal party and who's going to be in it. It is important to set the number early with your fiance, and to ask those individuals early on. This will reduce any confusion and expectations, and will free you up for more important tasks. Plus, if done right, you will have a maid of honor to delegate tasks to.
4. Draft a guest list- This will play an important part in the venue you will be able to use as well as how your budget works. Knowing the amount of people you expect to invite will go a long ways to planning the other aspects of your wedding such as favors, food, drinks, etc.
5. Figure out your personal style- Is your style rustic, bohemian chic, or beach babe? Do you and your fiance have similar visions for the look and feel of your wedding day? Knowing your style and the general direction you want to go for wedding decor will help tremendously. It will reduce the amount of distractions you have when looking for wedding stuff, and help you to focus on what will serve you best on your special day.
6. Choose the time of year you want to get married- Have you always dreamed of a seasonal wedding, or getting married on the beach? Thinking about this ahead of time will help you plan accordingly. Also, if you are on a tight budget, it may be wise to avoid peak wedding season, and have a wedding in the Winter or late Fall (off-peak dates may vary based on location, so check with venues in your area).
7. Seek out a wedding planner or consultant if you plan on using one- Getting a wedding planner or consultant early will take a lot of stress off of you, and alleviate a lot of confusion or undue stress. If you find that hiring wedding help doesn't work for you or work into your budget, there are tons of online resources to help you along the way. Create a binder, and print out checklists, to-do's and information about local resources in your area. Keeping all of these items in one place, and readily available will go a long ways to making you more organized and more relaxed as a direct result.
8. Pick a venue and set the date- A lot of couples make the mistake of picking the date prior to checking out venues. Because some venues may be booked more than a year in advance, or fill up very quickly, your date needs to be somewhat flexible to keep you from experiencing disappointment and stress.
9. Consult with vendors- Start calling around to vendors and get necessary information including, pricing, availability, and services offered. Be sure to note all interactions in your wedding planning binder.
10. Pick out the dresses and rings- The next big step in the wedding planning process, and perhaps the most important is the dress and rings. Be sure to do some research prior to going shopping so you have a general idea of what you'd like to try on. Be prepared to remain flexible however. Whether it be the dress or rings, what you think you will love may change when you see it on.
Now that you've got the most important wedding planning details locked in, you can have some fun picking out decorations, favors, accents and invitations. Keeping organized and calm will make for a stress-free and fun experience.