des moines, iowa and beyond

workflow & systems strategist

Sweet Beginnings: The First 5 Things To Do When You Get Engaged

For Brides, Sweet Beginnings

Congratulations! He asked you the question you’ve been waiting for and you enthusiastically said “YES”!! You have called all of your people, posted to social media and now you are overwhelmed with all of the possibilities and to-dos while eating ice cream and watching Gilmore Girls, right? What do you really need to do now? Many people will chime in and give loving advice, promise. After years in the wedding industry, I am here to tell you what needs to happen now and what you can do later – yay! Ok, my checklist loving bride, let’s break it down into your first 5 things to do when you get engaged!

Ultimately, I want your first priority to be soaking up the first few weeks of engaged life. It is a precious, once in a lifetime high that you deserve to be fully present for. Next, start working on the below main pillars to set you on your wedding planning journey with a firm foundation. Once you have the below items in place, you can get a bit more relaxed in your checklist push. BUT, don’t wait too long – slow and steady is the way to go. Don’t let yourself get behind to the point that you will be stressed closer to your day.

Agree on your budget:

The age-old challenge, right? This decision will inform all others in your planning process. You can see further recommendations and thoughts regarding wedding budgets in this post from Brideside and by yours truly.

Have a rough idea of guest list:

I know it seems early to do this, but you need to ensure your budget and venue will accommodate your guests!

Hire the vendors that are in highest demand:

The big three vendors that tend to book out the soonest are your venue, photographer, and planner. Try to get those three booked within 6 weeks of your engagement. The sooner the better. Especially with your venue, since that availability will dictate your wedding date and likely a lot of other decisions about decor, vendors, and more.

Agree on the most important things to you both:

Though you have already discussed budget priorities, your design visions and details that are important to each of you might be slightly different than the budget items. Before you book all of your rental and decor related vendors, be sure you have discussed the environment you want to create for yourselves and your guests.

Hire your remaining vendors:

I recommend that my couples have all vendors contracted at least 9 months prior to your date, if possible. This does not mean that you have all details confirmed, but you know who your vendor team will be.

It is true, there are a lot of moving parts when planning this marriage celebration day. If you are able to have a planner and/or designer on board, that will be a huge help. If not, make sure you use a tool like The Knot or a great planning binder to look at all of your tasks up front. While we tend to get caught up in every little detail and even the simplest of events still have a lot to sort out logistically, the main thing (and only thing) that truly matters is that you are married to your best friend at the end of the day. I encourage you to focus on the sacrament of marriage and the commitment you are making, your relationships and hospitality for your guests. If you tie everything back to those three things, you cannot go wrong. Happy planning, sweet bride!

xoxo, Jenn

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