Sweet Beginnings: Tips for a Blissful Engagement

For Brides

Happy ‘engagement season’!! If you are one of the lucky ladies who has, or will soon have, a beautiful something on her left ring finger, then this is meant for you!

Today we are kicking off a series that I have been dreaming up for many months. While I wish I could personally help every bride that comes my way, that is not the reality we live in. I also believe strongly in educating my couples, to ensure we are all on the same page. Also, I have learned so much since I was a bride that I want to share with all of you. So, we are going to help you through the engagement process, one blog post at a time. Yay!

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This is sure to be one of the most joyous seasons of your life. After you let it sink in, call your family and friends and stare at that beautiful gem on your left hand, you’ll want to get started planning your big day. Whether you’ve been dreaming about your wedding since you were young or not, there are a few housekeeping items that will make your planning experience much smoother sailing.

Odds are that this is your first time planning a wedding from start to finish. Sure, you might have played a role in helping friends and family with theirs, but this is your wedding, and that comes with extra excitement and a whole new feeling. There are certainly a lot of things to think about and details to decide upon. Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let me share with you my easy ten-step list to get started.

Today, we’ll cover the first four, so you can get your feet wet and test the waters. The last thing I want is to overwhelm you, lovelies.

Take it all in!

First and foremost, enjoy your engagement and soak it all in for a month or two. Unless you have a time sensitive situation, there is no need to rush into the details and contracts immediately. This is a once in a lifetime experience and there is plenty of time to get down to brass tacks. Do yourself a favor and just be engaged for a bit. Enjoy and savor every second of elated bliss!

Once you’ve done that and are ready to dive into the planning process, there are 9 more steps to begin planning your wedding.

Set a budget

The dreaded “B” word. I know this can be a tough one, but it is so important to have a budget before you start looking for anything. Trust me, it is very easy to get swept away and take your budget with you. First, you’ll want to discuss, with each other and your families, who will be contributing and how much. Then, I always recommend that my couples list their top three priorities for where to spend the money. This will be different for everyone. However, it helps to know what is important to invest in and what is not. That might seem trivial now, but it helps to avoid arguments and to make decisions more easily down the road.

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{photo via Robyn Photography}

Choose a few date options (2-3)

It is always a good idea to be flexible on wedding dates. With that said, start with the season you prefer. Between work and family schedules, weather considerations and other commitments, there will always be something to consider. By narrowing down your calendar to a few months, it can help immensely. Then, find two or three dates that work and take that list with you on your venue visits.

Why does this matter, you ask? Some venues book out years in advance and you might have better luck finding your dream location if you can be flexible with your dates. That being said, I know that many people have sentimental dates. That is wonderful and if you are one of those couples, do not get discouraged. Simply understand that if you are not flexible on your date, you might need to be more so on your location. Another idea is to use a month or day of the month instead of the actual day. After all, your wedding date will become your new anniversary!

Start compiling your guest list

Aside from the budget, this number will have the biggest impact on all aspects of your wedding, including the budget! When you think about the big-ticket items for your day- venue, food, favors, centerpieces, and so many other small details, they are based on the total number of guests that attend. (Tip: You should assume that at least 80% of your invited guests would attend)

No one wants to book the charming B&B, and then find out that it is too small to hold all of your guests. On the contrary, you don’t want to secure the grand ballroom and only have enough guests to fill half of it. That makes for a less than intimate setting. If you have your heart set on a particular venue or feeling for your day, make sure to allow your guest list to reflect that from the beginning. Similar to your budget, setting guest list guidelines up front will save time and alleviate stress in the long run.

I hope this series proves helpful to all of you and please feel free to submit any questions along the way. This is intended to help YOU! Next week, we’ll chat about getting into a few details and venue! Happy planning, lovelies!

Xoxo, Jenn

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