You have recently become engaged. The two of you are giddy with happiness. Now, what do you do to prepare for the day that you have dreamed of for as long as you can remember? After the joy of letting your family and closest friends hear your happy news, the planning will begin. In the first few days or weeks following your engagement, here are thirteen important things to do right away.
1. Purchase a wedding binder and/or download a wedding app onto your phone help organize all your wedding tasks and details.Having a hard copy wedding binder to organize the details is still recommended for both convenience for both the tech and not-so-tech savvy, alike. It serves well as a backup in the event of data loss. For those who love great apps, check out the fabulous EverNote. It is free for Windows and streamlining it to your mobile device is only $25 annually. For a completely free mobile alternative, that you are sure to love, try Noeeva. This mobile app also includes a Wedding Boards feature similar to Pinterest, a wedding song playlist, a wedding planner, checklist, appointment tracker, honeymoon planner, and a budget planner with payment control. Noeeva keeps all your wedding vendors and contacts in one place. Keep in mind that Pinterest is also a great place to collect wedding ideas and inspiration, and to collaborate with your everyone essential to creating all your wedding details. Helpful Tip: Be selective about whom you share all your wedding planning details with. There should be an element of surprise for your guests on your wedding day.
2. Plan a wedding budget with your fiancé, or family.
It is important to keep your expectations for your wedding in line with your own budget. Decide on the total amount that you would like to spend, and then list every aspect of the wedding. Determine how much you are willing to spend on each item. Once you have decided on a budget plan, you can create a spreadsheet or use the budget calculator on your Smartphone wedding app to help keep you on track. If you are planning a honeymoon, don’t forget to include it in your wedding planning costs unless you have set aside a separate budget for that.
3. Decide on the general location for your wedding day.
Choosing a venue or destination for your wedding is first about logistics. The first thing to consider is whether you want a destination wedding or one closer to home. Additionally, these days family members and other guests that you would like to invite often lives miles apart. Things to consider are whether the bride and groom’s parents live in the same area, and if not, who will travel. The same is true for those on your guest list and selected wedding party. Once you have decided on the most convenient location, or whether to have a destination wedding, you will be able to narrow down the available wedding venues for your ceremony.
4. Decide on a theme/style for your wedding.
Choosing a wedding theme is a lot of fun. It reflects yours and your fiance’s personality and style, and can incorporate cherished memories, and special moments that will make your wedding completely unique and memorable. Some things to ask yourself is whether you want an indoor or outdoor wedding. Do you want a traditional wedding or a modern one? Would you like to be married in a church, a barn, a warehouse, or in a field, or on the beach? What is your decorating style, your favorite colors, foods, and fashion style? Do you and your fiancé share a favorite hobby or pastime? What elements or personal items do you want to include in your wedding? Answering these questions and others that will come to mind will have you well on your way to creating the wedding of your dreams.
5. Decide on a guest count and begin creating the guest list.
First, establishing your wedding budget will help you to decide the total guest count that you will have attending your wedding. For example, the 2014 national average guest cost for food was $68 per person. With an additional cost of $5-$7 per serving for wedding cake, the cost can rise to $75 per guest. Keep in mind that this does not include any wedding invitations, programs, or party favors that you may wish to include. Also, note that the area where the wedding will take place will also determine the fluctuation in prices. The style of meal can greatly alter your budget, so deciding whether to have food stations, a buffet, or serve a formal dinner to your guests will help you to determine the number of guests you can afford. One you have calculated your guest count, you can decide how to trim down your guest list.
6. Decide on a wedding date.
When couples get engaged, they haven’t always readily decided on an actual wedding date. One thing to consider when deciding the date is when your employer is able to allow you the time you need off from work. The ideal guest list and the guests’ availability to attend your wedding also factors greatly on setting the date. Meanwhile, deciding on the season or time of year that you would like to get married will help you to create your style or theme, and begin making wedding plans as you and your fiancé determine your wedding date. Please note that you should your wedding date decided before trying to book a venue. Having your date decided as soon as possible will help to ensure that you are able to reserve your preferred location.
7. Notify employers and arrange time off.
Your employer should be the first person you tell at work of your wedding engagement. Make certain to inform them right away. If given enough notice, most employers will try to accommodate your plans. Depending on your profession, you may have designated times that you may take time off for your upcoming wedding and honeymoon. It is a good idea not to announce a wedding date to friends and family until you have made arrangements at work for the time off.
8. Book a venue.
After deciding on the geographical location for your wedding, you can begin the process of selecting the perfect wedding venue. Make a list of venues that reflect your wedding theme or style. Are you looking for a venue with a chapel, a rustic barn, an elegant estate house or hotel, or warm sandy beaches to dig your bare feet in the sand? Once you find the venues that fit your style, find out which ones have your wedding date available and can accommodate your guest count before scheduling a tour.
9. Hire a wedding consultant.
Hiring a wedding planner can save you a lot of time and stress. Planning a wedding can take up to 500 hours. You want your wedding planning to be an enjoyable experience, not a stressful one. Having a wedding planner not only assists you with planning your wedding details, but he/she can also help you select reputable vendors in your area. A wedding planner will coordinate with your vendors, create your timeline, and orchestrate your wedding from the rehearsal to your grand exit, enabling you and your parents to relax, and focus completely on enjoying your wedding day, not spending time worrying about whether things are going as planned. Being present for all the moments allows for wonderful lasting memories instead of the blur that will occur when you are busy with the working, and behind-the-scene details. Wedding planners offer different services and fees. There are full service planners, wedding consultants, and day-of-coordinators. Find out what services you require and your potential planner has to offer. Fees will be determined by the level of service provided. Make sure your planner provides you with a written contract outlining the services, fees, and obligations each party has agreed upon.
10. Request wedding and/or honeymoon destination brochures.
Planning the perfect destination wedding or honeymoon location begins as soon as you become engaged. There are countless destination location websites online where you can request free brochures, and additional information. One example of a great destination wedding and honeymoon website is Sandals Resorts. Plan your honeymoon and your wedding is free!
11. Open your wedding registries.
It is never too soon to start registering for wedding gifts. Registering early allows guests flexibility to purchase gifts. Some people will also want to purchase a gift for the engagement party, or bridal shower. Registering once and early will save you time, and you can always add more items as your planning moves along. Many couples are now opting for contributions to their honeymoon expenses through honeymoon registries, such as Sandals Resorts, and Wanderer, or donations to their favorite charity via the wedding registry at the I Do Foundation.
12. Create a wedding website.
Creating your own personal wedding website has never been more fun or easier to do. There are many wedding vendor sites such as Wedding Paper Divas, Wedding Wire, The Knot, and others that offer free wedding websites to keep your friends and family informed. Most offer sites offer additional planning tools, and guides to help keep your wedding planning organized and stress free.
13. Insure your wedding rings.
The unexpected can happen even in the most careful situations. Insuring your cherished valuables will help protect your investment and peace of mind. Be sure to check the rider on your home owner’s or renter’s insurance for cost saving coverage.
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