Part One: Now that you’re engaged
After part one, read Part Two: After the Engagement “To Do” list
You’ll want to bask in the happiness that surrounds you, enjoy every opportunity to introduce your man as “my fiancé” and let those well wishes about your upcoming nuptials linger!
Once you’re engaged, it’s time to turn your wedding vision into a reality.
After the engagement don’t float among the clouds too long, because girl… you have a lot to do! If you are like most women, you’ve dreamed about your wedding since you were a little girl. You may have a fairly clear idea of what kind of wedding you want. You already know what style of dress you’d like, and you’ve imagined the whole affair many times over… often without a beau in sight! Why not? Weddings are magical events, filled with love, romance, and hope. It is a beginning and one of the happiest days of your lives.
What do you do first? Make a plan.
Think of your wedding as a production, or an event and you are the producer. Of course you’ll want to include your fiancé, he can co-produce and help you decide on the overall look and feel of the event, after all, this is his big day too. So, keep him in the loop. Many soon-to-be grooms feel left out and it’s important to remember you are both celebrating this union.
As the big day approaches, you will place your production in the hands of a “Director, “someone you can trust; perhaps a reliable friend, relative, or wedding coordinator. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, because whether your wedding is a huge and elegant extravaganza or a small and simple celebration, you need to plan and coordinate every detail.
First, determine your wedding budget. Traditionally, the bride’s family will take on the bulk of the costs. However, today, many brides and grooms choose to pay for their own weddings. Whatever your financial arrangements may be, establish a budget and stick to it.
Black & White Engagement Photography
Courtesy of: Lawrence Crandall Photography
Setting the Date
Some couple’s select a date that is meaningful to them, or plan around family schedules. Sometimes the date is dependent on the availability of a location or a specific vendor’s availability. So, set the date and secure your location and…congratulations! You’ve already taken care of two of the biggest details; now let the wedding whirlwind begin.
Quite often a bride will start to feel overwhelmed by everything she needs to do. And because it is one of the most important events of your life, you want it to be absolutely perfect. To help you focus, create a wedding organizer, a step-by-step guidebook that lists every detail you’ll need to address. A binder or notebook will suffice. You can also create an online organizer, however, many brides like to keep their organizers with them for reference while shopping or meeting with vendors. Whatever works best for you, just make sure to keep track of EVERYTHING.
Your wedding organizer should include a calendar to schedule and track important dates and deadlines; a “To Do List” or “Checklist,” your guest list, and a contact list with all of the pertinent information for your location(s), caterer, floral designer, cake provider, wedding dress and formal wear shops, wedding party contact information, and all other vendors and participants.
Make your organizer a reflection of your wedding journey. Journal your thoughts and activities, add photos and cut out and paste pictures of bridal gowns and bridesmaid dresses, or examples of flower arrangements or cakes that you like.
You will also want to create a time line of events. Many wedding arrangements need to be made in advance. Wedding dresses made to your specifications generally need to be ordered eight months in advance. However, if you are in a hurry, there are some bridal shops and boutiques with gowns you can buy right off–the-rack.
Traditional wedding invitations are also usually ordered eight months before the wedding and delivered no later than two-and-a-half months before the big day. Remember to order at least twenty extras and save one as a keepsake. Mail invitations to your “A-list” guests about eight weeks out and if you receive responses from some who are unable to attend; you still have time to invite additional guests.
If you do not have six or eight months, don’t fret. For those with a short time-line, there are online options that can deliver wedding invitations in one or two weeks. Ask the vendor to send you the envelopes in advance so you can start addressing them. You need to receive the invitations at least six weeks before the wedding. This will give you ample time to stuff, address, and pop them in the mail five weeks before the wedding. Your friends and relatives will appreciate as much notice as possible to arrange their schedules.
Special Thanks to: Kevin Covey of Slay Events
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See Part two: After the Engagement “To Do” list
Engagement Photography Southern California