Yes girl! You just got engaged, created a new Pinterest board just for the occasion, and you’re left thinking… what the hell do I do now? Of course you plan to call up all the family and immediately change your Facebook status. Don’t forget a quick pic of that RING! But now what? All the videos posted on social media show you the bridal party proposals, the bachelorette turn up, and the whole wedding already wrapped up in a pretty bow. What they don’t show you is all the meticulous planning you’ve just signed up for. I’m guessing you’ve probably never done this before. Allow me to be that friend that gets you all the way together. I’m going to start with some of the most important steps to take first.

Set A Date And Talk Budget

This might seem like a no brainer, but things have definitely changed within the last year. You might already have a date in mind that’s very sentimental to you both. That’s a great start! However, it’s always good to have 2 of 3 potential dates chosen. The main reason is the possibility that your dream venue is already booked on your first choice date. Typically the most popular wedding days are Saturdays and Sundays. Remember there are 52 weekends in year and the busiest months for weddings are those with ideal weather. You might have to chose your wedding day around your venue choice, which leads me to my next point.

Start Saving

Remember there is nothing wrong with having a longer engagement. Like I mentioned before, this will probably ensure that you actually get the wedding date that you had in mind. Most importantly, you have as long of your engagement to save your money. Some couples I already have a large savings set aside in preparation for their wedding. If that’s not the case for you then it’s okay to start saving now. This might mean putting all of your disposable income into your wedding fund, or sticking to a more strict budget and shaving off expenses to accommodate more savings.

Tour Venues

Not only will this give you a good idea of what your wedding will look like but you’ll find out which vendors you’ll need to hire and you can narrow down your wedding date. Depending on the type of wedding venue you love, you’ll need to plan accordingly. Some are all inclusive, some have preferred vendor lists, some have certain restrictions that you’ll need to work around, etc. Once you see the space in person, your vision becomes that much more real. Ultimately, your final choice in venue is going to affect nearly every other aspect of your wedding planning process. Plus, if you fall in love with a venue and it’s unavailable on your first choice for your wedding day, you might have to choose an alternative date. It’s good to do this a year in advance at the very least (I highly suggest 18-24 months).

Research All Other Wedding Vendors

Once you’ve set a date and toured venues it’s time to start checking off all the other vendors on your list. I’d love to tell you that your photographer is going to be the most important to book but you might find it more beneficial to hire a wedding planner first. Then you can book your photographer. Seriously though, if you’re concerned that you’ll have a hard time navigating the planning part of this— don’t be afraid to hire a wedding planner early. With any vendor you’ll need to do your due diligence. Check websites, read reviews, ask around in Facebook groups, and most importantly… have conversations. I can’t express to you enough how important it is to speak to the people who are going to be working with you directly on one of the most important days of your life.

Relax And Enjoy Just Being Engaged

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Trust that everything is going to come together once the big day arrives. If you focus so much on making everything go perfectly, you’ll end up stressing yourself out for nothing. You’re going to have so much fun with your people. You’re going to look and feel gorgeous. Your wedding is going to be beautiful, do you hear me!? So keep going on those date nights, spending time with each other, and basking in this new change. You’ve been upgraded!

Want to know the most common vendors that you’ll need to hire for your wedding day? Click here to download a list of wedding vendors that you might still need to hire.

Get started touring the best venues. I wrote this blog all about what to look for if you want the best photos.

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