So the day of your dreams has finally arrived when your boyfriend pops the long awaited question. The world of family and friends are overjoyed as you show off your ring and tell the story of how it happened. After the first few weeks of living on cloud 9, the reality starts to sink in – where do I even begin with planning!? The internet is full of suggestions along with bridal magazines, opinionated family members, co-workers you name it! There’s so many options and ideas that flow into your mind. How do you capture all the right aspects to make it the perfect day for yourself and your fiancé? Well, I’ve been there and understand the feeling of excitement, panic and overwhelm all at the same time. Below, I included some tips that helped me narrow down my thinking and make the planning process easier.
Pick the Season: You’ll most likely go with your favorite season. For me, I chose fall specifically October since I love the harvest along with the rich colors. The season you have your wedding will also determine the amount of time you have to plan it. For example, my fiancé proposed to me in December and we decided to have our wedding this October. Knowing I had little time to plan, I started right away. If you prefer to wait and have a longer planning period, I would suggest about a year and a half to two–year engagement. Your season will also play a big factor in solidifying your venue and theme.
Identify your Theme: This is the fun part especially if you love decorating. Since I chose fall, my color palette includes burgundy, light pink, rose gold with touches of browns and orange tones. Think about your season, what your bridal party will wear along with the colors you want in your flower arrangements. Pinterest is a great tool to help identify your wedding style. Also, think about what colors will looks good in pictures. Photographers suggest wearing more saturated tones so this is something to consider for your bridal party and flowers.
Solidify your Budget: Have this conversation right away so your families and fiancé know what will be expected during the process. Ask what each party is willing to contribute first so you know what you have to work with. I suggest making an excel grid breaking out all expenses and assigning them out with a rough estimate of the budget for each section. Once this is complete, send this out to the person who will be paying. This upfront approach in the beginning will allow everyone to plan appropriately or redistribute if they feel if the payment is not manageable. Your first priority in your budget should be the venue since this is the next step.
Find your Venue: Your venue choice is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make so I suggest starting early. A great planning tool that helped me find my venue is called The Knot which is a free app. It gives you the option to search for venues in your desired area based off zip code in your price range. My fiancé and I love the Delaware River area and wanted a venue that would overlook the water. Luckily, we found our venue in our price range on the water quickly thanks to this app. Also, keep in mind the size of your guest list when looking since venues have minimum and maximum capacities available. In addition, ask if your venue provides their own food or if they only work with outside caterers. This can make a big difference in the overall expense.
Start planning your Bridal Party: Choosing my bridal party was tough. Like many of you, I have special relationships from different walks of life including childhood, high school, college, living situations and of course family. First, identify which category is priority for your special day. For me, this was my family. I have a large bridal party with eleven bridesmaids total. Of that group, four are family members. Next, my priority was friends who knew me the best and longest. These people have seen me grow from all stages and remained close friends along the way. Of this group, I chose five. My next group was tough these were friends I met later in college and in my adult life. Since I already had nine up to this point, I decided to choose two who were closest to me. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to include everyone but remember all your friends will still be a part of your big day. Keep in mind, the bigger the party the more accommodation is needed. If you’re a person who wants to keep things simpler, I would suggest going with a smaller group. If you feel a big party is the way to go, start the dress and tux fitting early to give everyone plenty of time. Also, ask your bridal party at least nine months before the big day to give them time to prepare.