Congratulations, you’re engaged! After posting the perfect Instagram engagement announcement and starting a wedding Pinterest board, you may be wondering, what on earth do I do next? Don’t panic, we’ve put together some of our top tips to help you figure out the next steps to begin wedding planning after you get engaged.
Create a wedding planning schedule
Planning a wedding isn’t something that will happen overnight, and it can be difficult at times. It can take weeks, even months of planning so getting ahead of the game and setting a wedding planning schedule can make all the difference. It’s a helpful way to remember countless upcoming events, fittings, and appointments to help ensure you don’t miss anything. Many brides discover that setting a dedicated period of time, even if only once a week, can help to reduce the amount of stress brides face and can be a nice bonding exercise bringing you closer together.
Make sure to get your ring sized and insured
Although your ring is irreplaceable, you never know what could happen, so it’s important to make sure you get it insured as soon as possible. If you already have home or contents insurance, you may be able to ask to have this included in your current plan. If you’re unable to get cover, there are independent companies that won’t hesitate to insure your beautiful new ring.
Sometimes the ring just isn’t the right size, don’t panic, there are loads of places to get rings resized, but its best to get it done now, otherwise you’ll be worrying about it slipping off your finger. Most jewellers can get it done for you within a short period of time, so you won’t have to part from your ring for too long.
Choose a wedding date
Everyone has their own version of their perfect wedding. Do you see yourself as a summer bride or do you want a winter wonderland wedding? The time of season will have a big impact on the style of wedding you have, but it will also have an impact on venue availability. The most popular time of year to get married is still summer and some venues are more than likely to be booked years in advance, so if you have a special venue in mind, there is a chance you will need to be flexible and might have to consider a different time of year to get married.
There are also other factors that will have an impact on your choice on date for the wedding. If you have a big list of guests with children, you might want to consider a date that isn’t in the middle of the summer vacation period when people are likely to be away or unavailable. And it’s never a bad idea to avoid dates that clash with big sporting events so you don’t have people sneaking off to watch the game on their phones.
Depending on how far in advance your planning on having your wedding, you don’t have to get an exact date set in stone at the early stages of being engaged, but it’s never a bad idea to start thinking about the time of year and it’s always handy to have an answer to the inevitable “when’s the wedding going to be?” conversations.
Book your venue
Your wedding venue can be booked years in advance if you’re organized enough. However, before you start looking at venues, you should consider if you want a religious ceremony in a Chapel, Church, Synagogue or a civil ceremony at a licenced premises, or a registry office. It’s also important to keep in mind where you’re thinking on having your reception. If both your ceremony and reception are at the same place, it should be simpler to book a date as you won’t have to communicate with the two places individually about availability. Furthermore, you won’t have to worry about sorting out transport from location to location.
It’s also a good idea to think about the location you are going to get married, not just the venue itself, as this will have an impact on your guests as it might require them to book overnight accommodation or make travel arrangements. An important factor you have to think of when finding a venue as well is the catering arrangements, as this is often an additional cost with extras and add-ons including food and drinks costs. So be sure to add this to your list when considering the cost and logistics around booking your dream venue.
Begin Coming Up with Your Invitation Concept
Invitation concepting can begin at the same time as the Save the Dates if you’d like, or else their concepting will follow shortly after. Don’t wait too long to begin concepting your wedding invitations. Tighter timeframes may limit your production options. Invitations will include the main invitation, response cards and inserts for the reception or additional information.
When looking for a designer to help you concept your invitation suite, make sure to choose one who fits your design style and will be able to customize elements to fit your vision and budget. The sign of a good stationery designer is one that can walk you through the process, step by step, making sure there is a cohesive vision from Save the Dates all the way through to Thank You cards. If you’re unsure of what you’re looking for, feel free to request samples from designers ahead of time to get a better idea of color, font, and paper options.
Work out a wedding budget
It can be very easy to let yourself get swept up in planning your dream wedding, and before you know it your wedding can end up costing a small fortune. So, before you begin looking a dress, or anything wedding related for that matter, it’s best to sit down with your Fiancé, parents or anyone who might be helping with the payment of the wedding and discuss what you can afford. From there you can set your priorities and choose where you could cut costs if required.
On average, weddings tend to cost around the $35,000 mark, but this varies and only you know what you feel comfortable spending. It’s important to decide on a budget ahead of time and stick with it. If you over-spend on one area with something you must have that’s ok, but remember you’ll have to cut back on other areas. However, there are loads of ways you can save money if you need, from shopping around online to find the best deals or borrowing decorations from friends and family. DIY is also always a good way to save money and have some fun in the process.
Start working on a guest list
Deciding on who is coming to your wedding can be a huge part of the process, and sometimes a very difficult part. Especially when considering how many people to invite, whether to invite children, second cousins, and old friends. You don’t need to have names set in stone, but it can help reduce stress closer to your wedding to start thinking about these things ahead of time.
Similarly, where you have your reception venue and the type of function you have will also have an impact on the number of guests you can have throughout your wedding day. For example, the drinks reception might accommodate 120 guests while your sit-down-dinner might only fit 100 guests, so you will have to decide not only who is coming, but at what part of the day they can attend. Sometimes separate day and evening guest lists can be a good way to ensure you have everyone you want at your wedding. Lots of venues offer standing as well as sitting limit numbers, which will help to give you a rough estimate and will help with planning, so it’s always best to ask and find out.
Find your dream dress
Finding the perfect wedding dress of your dreams can take a long time, so it makes sense to start your search early on. You can find inspiration everywhere from magazines to what you see on the telly to walking down the street. Use this information on style to narrow down your search and start to mark down which ones appeal to you. Websites such as Pinterest are great for finding idea for the dress you want.
After doing this, you should have a better understanding of the type of dress you are looking for. Now you can start making appointments to try out the different styles to see what suits you best. This is an important phase as sometimes you will have a design in your head that you love, but when you see it on you might decide to go in an entirely different direction.
It’s a good idea to have an idea of the common shapes of wedding dresses ahead of time, such as mermaid, A-line, princess and fishtail. This will help you to better explain to the stylist what you’re looking for. Take your time and enjoy yourself – there is plenty of time to find your dress, so don’t panic if you don’t find the perfect one straight away.
Send out save the dates
Save the Date are the first stationery to be mailed, going out 6-9 months before your wedding. Often Save the Dates use engagement pictures, but they don’t have to. Many times, Save the Dates are the one piece of stationery that doesn’t tie into or derive from the invitation design, because these are sent out sometimes before colors for the wedding are finalized.
Don’t forget day-of items!
Day-of items are often forgotten about until the last minute but are often one of the most important stationery orders to remember. Things such as place cards, menus, table numbers, and ceremony programs. Production often starts about a month before the wedding, with place cards being that last thing produced, as table assignments can often be switched around just prior to the big day due to last minute RSVPs.
Ready to get started?
Great! Feel free to get in contact with us and we can help you put together a custom order for your dream wedding suite to match your style and wedding theme.
Or, have a look at our ready-to-order range of wedding invitation designs here.
In need of some inspiration? Head over to our Pinterest for all our favorite designs and more.