Congratulations on your engagement! I’m sure you’re super excited and have a million things running through your mind. Who should you tell first? How should you make the announcement? When do you want to get married? Where should you get married? And so on.
So how should you start planning for your big day?
Well, your first step is to BREATH. You have plenty of time to prepare and map out details. Take a step back and focus your energy on enjoying the moment.
Once you’re ready to organize your thoughts, you can begin to create structure within your planning. Try to your best to keep calm and relaxed. And while it may seem overwhelming at times, trust me, it will all fall into place. The more prepared and focused you are from the get go, the easier it will be to navigate through the process.
CREATIVITY AND LOGISTICS
The early stages of planning are a combination of goals and objectives (your roadmap if you will). It consists of both creativity and logistics.
Effectively merging these two aspects may feel challenging and difficult to accomplish. However, there’s an easy way to break it down…
Start here. When you think about creativity – think large scale. It’s the unedited big picture.
You and your fiancé should sit down and chat about your overall vision. A vision without any boundaries or restrictions. What do you ultimately want for your wedding?
Logistics narrow down these wants. The logistical components create limitations for your creativity. This side of planning helps to examine your wants in realistic terms and directs you toward your wedding needs.
DEFINE WHAT YOU WANT
Your vision will serve as an outline for all the elements and decisions to come. Picture your big day and ask yourselves:
• What do you see?
• What do you feel?
• What stands out?
Put all your responses in writing so you can refer back, organize and revise.
DEFINE WHAT YOU NEED
Knowing specific details about the wedding are not necessary at this point. But you should have a broad sense of expectations and what you want. Apply them here. Let’s start with some basic questions:
- The Where: Location – Are you staying locally? Do you want a destination wedding? How far is too far?
- The How: Financial Goals – How will costs be covered? Where is the money coming from? Are finances a concern? Will family be able to help with expenses?
- The Who: Identify Attendees – You don’t need names or a total number of invitees just yet. But a rough idea is good. Is this a large scale event? Or smaller and more intimate?
- The When: Time of Year and Time of Day – I’m not suggesting you hone in on a date right this moment. When you start exploring venues, their availability will most likely determine your exact date (and possibly the time of day as well). But are you looking at a summer wedding? Winter? Mid-day? Evening?
When you define what you need you can narrow down the vision to focus on essentials. Your
needs force you to gradually prioritize everything and put your wedding dreams into perspective.
By starting big (creativity) and scaling back (logistics), the planning begins to take shape. It also breaks
down potentially overwhelming ideas into manageable tasks.
DEVELOP A SYSTEM
Advance wedding planning will save you a significant amount of unnecessary stress. And believe it or not a large part of planning is your ability to be organized. Figuring out a system for staying on top of things, will save you a huge headache.
I recommend the following steps before moving forward:
- Lists: Sit down and make a “to do” list (or print a checklist from an online wedding source). This list will of course grow and evolve throughout planning, but utilize this method from the get go.
- Files: Set up a filing system. This can be electronic files, email folders, binders or physical file folders. It’s anything that will allow you keep track of all the details: quotes, contracts, budgets, etc.
- Emails: Set up a separate email account. This step isn’t absolutely necessary, but may be a good idea. If you plan on signing up for websites, newsletters, wedding freebies, or anything else that requires an email – you can expect a lot of information (including spam) to head your way. Might as well keep it all contained.
- Notes: Be prepared to take notes at all time. You never know when inspiration will hit or a forgotten “to do” will pop into your head! Carry around a mini notebook (or use your phone for notes).
Be equipped and prepared. Putting a system in place from the start smooths out the entire planning process.
EMBRACE THE PROCESS
Planning a wedding comes with a unique set of challenges. It’s a lot like putting an intricate puzzle together. If you start by building the border (your frame), filling in the pieces will be easier in the long run. Even if it sometimes feels like you’ll never complete the final picture, you will, bit by bit.
Wedding planning is a process. And not a process that needs to be done overnight. Take your time, stay organized, and build both a strategy and foundation.
The important thing is to not get discouraged or frustrated. And resist the urge to put added pressure on yourself! Remember what this day is truly about. The wedding is a symbol of love between you and your significant other… don’t lose sight of that.
What are some concerns you have for planning your wedding? Share it below!