As the holiday season comes to an end, many of you will have spent the past few weeks having festive family dinners, watching holiday movie marathons, and celebrating the New Year over a bottle of champagne with friends. Some of you may have come out of the holiday season with a fiancé, a new ring on your finger, and an incredibly romantic engagement story to share with the world. But how do you start planning your wedding after a holiday engagement? Once youve found the fiancé of your dreams, and the ring of your dreams, the question that follows is overwhelming, confusing and a little scary: what do I do now?
PLANNING YOUR WEDDING AFTER A HOLIDAY ENGAGEMENT
Here are a few helpful tips for planning your wedding after a holiday engagement!
Enjoy the engagement buzz
First of all, take some time to enjoy your engagement. Yes, there will be a lot of work involved in planning your wedding! Dont get so caught up in the details that you forget to enjoy the beautiful post-engagement time between you and your fiancé. Sure, family members and friends will want to know all of the details and plans. Dont be afraid to tell them that youre holding off on figuring out the details until youve had a chance to bask in post-engagement happiness. Take the time to experience the engagement jitters with your new fiancé!
Establish a budget
Once youve soaked in the romance of your engagement, youll have to focus on the most practical element of your planning: how much do you want to spend? The average cost for a wedding in the United States is roughly $33,900, according to a recent study by The Knot. Ask yourself the basic questions:
- Where is the money coming from?
- How big do you want the guest list to be?
- How formal of an event are you envisioning?
Knowing what you can afford before starting the process will help you avoid disappointment and stress in the long run. Check out this budget worksheet by Real Simple that breaks down your wedding budget into percentages by category! Or, go to The Knots wedding calculator to see what you can afford for specific wedding expenses like your dress or your venue.
Sort through your ideas
If youre like most brides-to-be, youve envisioned your wedding day in one way or another, down to the minute details or just as a passing thought. Either way, after your engagement, youll have to sift through these half-formed ideas and make some decisions about what you want for your big day. The best way to get these ideas out is to research your options. Make an inspiration board to record all of the ideas you have, which will help you come up with a cohesive vision for your wedding before you begin the planning process. Having an idea about what you want will aid you every step of the way as you navigate your wedding planning experience. Pinterest is an excellent place to start as you figure out what you like. You can use it as a tool to create your own inspiration board! As you form a style plan for your wedding, make sure you talk with your fiancé about both of your expectations for your wedding, your budget, and what works best for you as a couple. Your fiancé is your partner in this process remember to keep them involved!
Create a timeline
Make a timeline of important decisions you will have to make during the wedding planning process. How long will it take to order a wedding dress? When should you book a venue? Use your timeline as a road map throughout the process that will keep you on-track and minimize stress. In January, try to visit some venue options to see what setting fits into your vision of your wedding day do you envision your ceremony and/or reception at a rustic manor house, a modern venue near the water, or a luxurious ballroom? Selecting a venue will set the tone for the rest of the wedding and give you a starting point in the planning process. You should plan to start shopping for your wedding dress eight to ten months before your date. Your gown is made specifically for you, which takes months for designers to manufacture. After ordering your dress, it will take five to six months to arrive at the bridal boutique. After that, you should budget three months for alterations. In the meantime, plan on ordering your bridesmaids dresses about five to six months before the day. These dresses will come in about three to four months after ordering. One of the most common mistakes that brides make is not giving themselves enough time for all of their decisions. Starting early is much smarter than starting late! The Knot has an interactive twelve month wedding planning checklist to help you stay on track and avoid stress.
Take it one decision at a time
We all know that wedding planning is overwhelming. If you stay organized and focus on one decision at a time, youll make your life so much easier. If you feel like you need help with any of these steps, a wedding planner can help you conceptualize a concept for your wedding, create a timeline, select vendors, save money and eliminate stress during the wedding planning process.Our sister company, Moore and Co. Event Stylists, can help you coordinate your wedding to-do list as you get closer to the big day. Happy planning!