You’re engaged, now what?
Making the first few wedding-planning moves after engagement is definitely the hardest part. You’re overwhelmed with emotion, love, and you probably have 5 million wedding ideas floating in your brain. I can bet the only thing you’re able to think right now is “where do I start?!”
If you’re experiencing any of this, don’t you worry. All you have to do is take baby steps, and I’m going to help! My goal is to break down wedding-planning into bite-sized pieces for you to easily (and without stress) digest and conquer. So today we are just going to start with the first five steps of wedding planning. Let’s dive in!
The First 5 Steps you should take after Engagement
#1: Book a Venue
Booking your venue should be step number one. Your venue will determine a number of factors that will affect other planning decisions- most importantly, your wedding date. Most venues book a year (or more) in advance, so don’t bank on a date until you actually speak to your desired venue. Your venue will also determine your available head count, the overall look and feel of the wedding, and other vendor choices. A lot of venues have a preferred vendors list that you have to hire from while others have onsite vendors built into their packages. You wouldn’t want to book a bunch of vendors and then find out you can’t or don’t have to use them!
Make a list of some venues you’re interested in and give them a call to schedule a tour. From there you can narrow down your options and mark this first “to-do” off the list! Click here for some helpful (and money-saving) venue picking tips!
#2: Hire a Wedding Planner/Coordinator
I may be a little biased here, but I’m telling the truth. And you’ll see this step listed in the first steps of every “Wedding-Planning Timeline” you find on Pinterest. If you are planning to hire a wedding planner, you should do it early on. Not only do planners book out very far in advance, you want your planner to be in the loop from the very beginning. Even if you are only opting for a day-of coordinator, it’s great to be able to have your coordinator to turn to if you are stuck on a tough wedding decision. It’s also super helpful to update your planner periodically (even before your official times starts with her/him) so everything isn’t a total surprise when you start working together. You’ll also want plenty of time to get to know your planner/coordinator – she will be running your wedding the day of!
If you’re interested in the Jackson & June team planning, coordinating, or designing your big day, click here for more info!
#3: Purchase Your Wedding Dress
This is one that most brides don’t factor into their planning timeline as far in advance as they should. Working in bridal has taught me so many things about the dress process – most importantly: it takes a long time. It takes a few weeks to get everyone together and schedule your bridal appointments (you will need appointments for most places), then you actually have to find the perfect gown. This could take a day, or it could take a couple of months, either way, you want to have time.
You’ll want to have time because most wedding gowns take at least 6 months to arrive after it has been ordered from the designer. Then, after the dress arrives, you will 100% have to have alterations, which takes another 8-12 weeks. Keep in mind that everyone has to alter their wedding gown- they are actually made to be altered so it fits each bride perfectly! So say it takes you a month to find a dress, 6 months for it to arrive, and 12 weeks for alterations – that’s 10 months right there!
#4: Hire a Photographer
Ya’ll they book so far in advance, and they are SO important to your big day. You don’t want a sub-par photographer documenting your wedding because you waited too late to hire a good one, right? I think not! You’ll also want to hire a photographer early on so they can do your engagement photos! Some offer packages or discounts if you do both engagement and wedding photos and it will guarantee a consistent style between the two.
#5: Book a Videographer
Just like with the photographers, videographers book up so quickly! And your wedding video is something you’ll find joy in for years to come – trust me, I watch snippets of ours every time I have a bad day. You’ll also want to have time to do plenty of research on your videographer. Make sure that you look at portfolios and like their shooting style, music, special effects, and editing style. It’s a big investment- you want to choose one that aligns perfectly with your vision! You can watch my wedding video and find out more about my videographer here!
You’ve Got This!
Now that you know the first few steps of wedding planning, take a deep breath and get started! If you view your Wedding To-Do List in smaller chunks, you’ll immediately feel some stress lift. Take baby steps and mark things off as you go. You’ll be celebrating at the most beautiful and well-organized wedding in no time! We’ll cover the next few steps soon, so stay tuned for Part 2! Sign up for our email list here so you don’t miss it!
Happy Wedding Planning,