Squee you're engaged!
Once the initial shock wears off and you've told your proposal story at least a thousand times you will need to start thinking about planning your wedding day.
Here are the first five steps you can take to get started.
STEP 1: Develop a Timeline
One of the first questions you will get after you announce your engagement will be about your wedding date. This can be a difficult date to nail down straight out of the gate because it will depend on a number of factors.
The average engagement lasts about 15 months, but that doesn't mean your engagement has to fall within that time frame. Some couples prefer shorter or longer engagement periods and it can depend on how much planning time you prefer.
You can start to get an idea of your timeline by narrowing down the time of year you would like to get married. Would you like an outdoor summer farm wedding? Or, maybe a cozy winter mountain wedding?
Once you narrow it down to the time of year you can create a range of preferred dates. Be sure that your dates do not conflict with holidays or family events and make sure it allows for a planning period that you are comfortable with.
STEP 2: Set Your Budget
One of the most important steps in wedding planning is your budget. You will need to work with your family to determine how much everyone will be contributing.
It can be somewhat of an uncomfortable conversation to have, but your budget will impact every wedding decision you make, so it is very important to get a clear idea of what you are working with up front.
Use this online wedding budget tool from The Knot to stay on track.
STEP 3: Create a Guest List
Your guest count can impact a number of things when it comes to your wedding. For starters, it can have an impact on your venue selection. If you have a large number of guests, you will need to find a venue that can comfortably accommodate your group.
Also keep in mind that a larger group means higher costs when it comes to catering, as catering costs are typically calculated on a per head basis.
Ultimately, you will need to decide if you want to throw a large party or have a smaller, more intimate celebration.
Just be sure to run your guest list by your immediate family, so everyone is on the same page. You wouldn't want your family to start verbally inviting family and friends that are not on your guest list.
STEP 4: Pick a Location & Venue
Once you have your budget and guest count nailed down, it is time to start looking for a venue. It is never too early to book your venue.
Some of the most sought after venues book up years in advance, so it is important to start researching and visiting venues early in the planning process.
Just remember that your venue will be the back drop for all your wedding photos, so select a venue that is special for both you and your partner. Additionally, you want to make sure the venue has all the appropriate amenities to ensure you and your guests are comfortable.
Once your contract is executed, your wedding date will be set!
STEP 5: Consider a Wedding Planner
Whether you have big, complex wedding plans or a super busy lifestyle, it can be a good idea to hire a wedding planner.
There are several levels of wedding planning that can be outsourced. You can hire a full service wedding planner that can help with the entire event from start to finish. If you prefer to handle all the planning yourself, but you want to relax and enjoy your big day, you can hire a day of coordinator to manage everything on the day of your wedding.
Either way, wedding planning should be fun!
If you find yourself getting overwhelmed or stressed, reach out for help!