Congratulations! You are engaged!! It is definitely a time to celebrate and bask in the joy of it all! I remember being told on a daily basis to enjoy the engagement period after my husband proposed. It can sometimes be hard to focus on how amazing it feels to be engaged when there is the never ending wedding ‘To Do’ list to get through. It can seriously become a full time job! BUT, I am here to tell you that what feels like a HUGE task can actually be simplified and therefore, dare I say…fun?
Step 1: Set aside 30 minutes every night or even just once a week to talk about the wedding planning and why not pour yourselves a glass of wine while you’re at it? You might as well make it a fun ritual. During this time together create a master checklist because getting your ‘To Dos’ on paper frees up mental space in your brain. Also how amazing does it feel to cross something off!? Discuss bridal party, budget, and guest list. When the time is up, resume normal everyday conversations and if something comes up that you want to talk about, write it down for tomorrow night’s Wine and Wedding chat.
Step 2: Go venue hunting. Turn this into a day date by wine tasting if you are looking for venues in the wine country, or get lunch at the restaurant on site if the venue is at a hotel. Also to relive planning stress, look for venues that are all inclusive so you don’t have to worry about renting tables, chairs, linens, providing alcohol, and catering. Sometimes the venues even come with a day of coordinator which is a major score! Check out this great site for narrowing down your search: www.herecomestheguide.com
Step 3: Start a Pinterest Board to create a visual story of how you want your wedding to look and feel. There is almost too much inspiration out there so having a board will help you to narrow your focus. You can create one for lots of different categories including Dress, Hair, Flowers, Photography, Color Palette etc. This is something that will be helpful to share with your vendors as well!
Step 3: Book your Team. I say ‘team’ because that is truly what you are building…a team that will bring all their individual skill sets together to create something magical for You! It is crucial to meet with your vendors in person to make sure you not only love their work, but you love them! You can book most of these vendors according to the amount of importance you place on them. Here is the order I suggest:
Wedding Coordinator: Can provide you with guidance, tons of resources, and vendor suggestions. They can be just a day of coordinator or someone who helps you plan every last detail.
Photographer: That’s where I come in 🙂 99% of my couples tell me that the photographer is the most important person they book on their wedding day because the photos will be something they will cherish forever. Photographers can book out as early as a year in advance so if there is one that you really connect with, best to book them ASAP. Plus the sooner you book your photographer the sooner you can get your engagement photos done for your Save the Date. Click Here for everything you need to know about doing an engagement session!
Live Band or DJ: Like a photographer they can only do one event per day so they can book out early. Plus a live band or DJ really sets the tone for the party so important to get a good one!
Caterer: Food is another very important one to a lot of my couples. Most may only be able to accommodate one large event a day so book this team early especially since a catering company may also provide you with tables, chairs, linens, and a coordinator! Boom, a lot of your stress can be handed off to one vendor!
Dress: Yah! This isn’t a vendor, but sometimes the price of a dress can be equivalent to one, and well, since you will be wearing it all day, it is indeed a crucial part of your team 🙂 Get your best girlfriends together for brunch then head to 3 or 4 bridal boutiques to try on dresses! Make sure to have appointments set prior to your arrival. Most alterations places will need about 6 months or so to get your dress perfectly customized to your size and liking soooo…lucky You! This may be one of the first things you get to go hunting for!
Invitation Designer: This team will often times do your Save the Dates as well as your Thank You cards to give your guests after the wedding. A great company that has a huge selection of beautiful and unique invitations for reasonable price is PaperLess Post. Save the Dates can go out as soon as you have a date and a venue, but in general they should go out 6 months before the wedding if it is a destination wedding so guests have time to book hotels and flights. If it is a local wedding then 4-6 months before the wedding is perfect. Finally, Wedding Invitations typically go out 6-8 weeks before the wedding.
Florist: This is a very important person in your team! They can take your vision and bring it to life! Meet with them and get a feel for how they work. Is their a creative process or do you simply give them your colors and let them run with it? You can really tell right away which ones take a lot of pride in their craft. They can accommodate many weddings in one weekend so that is the only reason they are in the 2nd tier of priorities.
Videographer: This is an important team to capture the live story of your day and the good ones can do it so beautifully that it will brings tears to your eyes as you relive your wedding day. Like photography, it can eat up a large portion of your budget so it is one of those vendors people book if they feel passionate about having a wedding video. It is important to check out their previous work and ask how they normally work alongside a photographer.
Cake Designer: Just like with a florist, a bakery should be able to accommodate multiple weddings and it’s something you can book a little later in the planning process.
Hair & Makeup: A lot of times this is the same team. It is important to book these people early so that you have a team you are confident in and know will make you look your best! It is also great to have this team in place on the earlier side so they can also do your makeup for your engagement session. It can act as a makeup trial and you will be able to see how it photographs! The first step to looking your best is having amazing skin as a foundation for your makeup artist. A great place to start is with a daily skin care regime. Click Start Consultation for a one minute quiz to find out which premier skin care regime is right for your skin type. For amazing longer fuller lashes that are 100% yours try this amazing miracle product LASH BOOST. I use it, and OMG my lashes are so long!
Officiant: This person can be someone that is near and dear to you, someone you find at your church or even online. Either way, they need time to prepare, get certified if not already and/or get to know you both as a couple.
These are the last priority as they are all mostly optional teams for your wedding day and can accommodate several events in one day: Rentals, Lighting, Transportation, Ceremony Musicians.
Don’t forget that this doesn’t have to be a grueling process! In conclusion, make a checklist, set goals for getting things done, plan lots of date nights (threw that in there cuz we all need more of those), and have fun!…oh and drink lots of wine 😉