With our wedding roughly 2 months away, and planning completed, I figured I’d document the process to help other brides to be. Part I of this guide is going to focus on the things you need to do before you actually start planning your wedding.
So you’re engaged, congratulations! First things first: Have you celebrated enough?
We often spend far too little time honoring momentous occasions; moving on to the next step and bypassing true joy because it feels too grandiose or self indulgent to get completely wrapped up in. But you really deserve to feel that way and to take the time to be present to those feelings.
This is a hugely exciting time in your life and will (hopefully) happen only once. Before you begin to plan the wedding you should really celebrate the heck out of this moment. Whether it’s with an engagement party, mini vacation, a fancy dinner out with your new fiance, or popping a bottle of bubbly at home, you really owe it to yourselves to make a memory that lasts forever out of the elation and excitement you feel.
We were actually on vacation when John proposed so the trip itself was a great celebration. We partied a ton more when we got home with dinners out and toasts and an eventual engagement party 6 months after the fact. Even now we still take the time to give each other cards or flowers to honor this awesome journey. Heck, we even went out for a special afternoon tea to celebrate our engage-iversary!
Now, starting the planning!
Step 1 to wedding planning is to figure out how and where you’ll get all the information you need to plan The Big Day. I am a research nerd so I explored many options. Here’s what worked and didn’t work for us:
Magazines: What a waste of time and money! Sometimes you can get a great DIY idea or find a picture that is exactly how you want something styled but those are rare and not worth the cost. Some of these magazines can be upwards of $10! Yikes! Magazines are great as a gift but don’t buy yourself more than the requisite one.
Friends & Family: Such a huge, huge resource. At every moment of planning I felt like I had someone specific to turn to depending on the question. This isn’t limited to married folk, asking your single friends is good practice too! Many of mine had a very different perspective, fresh and super creative. Don’t count anyone in your personal network out. Plus, in general, I found everyone was willing to lend an ear whenever I needed.
The Web: The most useful resource for the nitty gritty details of planning. I used Yelp a ton to get details and specifics on vendors. Local Yelp Lists were great to read, I even started my own! Googling, as always, worked like a charm for options and ideas. And special kudos go to A Practical Wedding and Offbeat Bride for their constant support, helpful tips, and realistic approach to wedding planning. OBB has a killer message board that was my go to resource for instant questions and answers.
Etiquette References: It won’t kill you to check out the Emily Post section at your local library. That’s where I started. Asking friends/family and searching online worked too but you should consult The Master at least once.
Books: Not at all necessary but they were entertaining and provided a little distraction. Here’s my Reading List.
Have questions? Ask away!
Keep an eye out for Part II of my Wedding Planning Guide series which will focus on priorities and the most important aspects of wedding planning.