A good friend and colleague of mine got engaged over the weekend, and was full of questions when she was back to work. Most of them built up to one bigger concern – where should she even start? If you have a tentative wedding date in mind as soon as you’re engaged, there are a few things you should consider before you start looking through specific details for your day. Before you start picking out centerpieces and trying on dresses, jot these down in a newly purchased wedding planner:
Figure out a guest list
You won’t need a set-in-stone guest list until you send your save-the-dates or invites before your wedding, but all of your other decisions depend on at least a fuzzy picture of who you expect to be attending your big day. A guest list of 50 versus 100 will change the way you spend your $5,000 budget. Much like the earlier budget decision, your thoughts on your guest list composition will color the picture you’ll start to craft of your ideal wedding. This decision is best left for after determining your budget. You can always scale your budget down, but it’s harder to do that with a guest list once you have your heart set on the friends and family you hope to see on your wedding day.
Figure out a budget
It’s easy to get swept up in the romance of a new engagement, but making decisions, even small ones like linens and candles, without a budget can really throw a wrench into the wedding experience. If you get your heart set on a venue or guest list without first figuring out what you can afford, you’ll find yourself disappointed way ahead of time. Even if your wedding is far off in the future, or you know that you’ll need to save up a bit before you start committing to definite plans, know what your end goal is before searching for inspiration online. Have a dollar amount in mind so you aren’t reaching for the moon during your preemptive planning. Weddings can be spectacular on any budget, so don’t fret!
Enjoy the moment!
For the moment, stop planning and start enjoying being engaged. Take your nose out of Pinterest and enjoy some time to yourselves. This is especially important now, as relatives and friends will likely be asking about wedding plans in droves. A simple “we really haven’t started thinking about it yet” will allow some time to digest your ideal plans in favor of some more realistic ones before you start leaking details. Let it settle, enjoy the enthusiasm around you, and start seriously planning a few months down the road.