Newsletter - First Things First...6 Wedding Planning To-Do's Before I Do
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First Things First....6 Wedding Planning To-Do's Before I Do
by Allison Bergstedt

The 6 Important To-Do's After Your Wedding EngagementCheers to you, you're engaged! First and foremost, take a long pause and relish in your happiness. Tell family and friends the good news, sit back, and enjoy all the congratulations that are coming your way.

After you've had a chance to let it soak in that you're getting married and that didn't dream the proposal....and yes, that diamond on your finger is real, it's time to Plan, Plan, Plan! Whew. Now, don't get overwhelmed just yet. It may seem like there is so much to do and so little time. By tackling these 6 important to-dos first before you start getting into the smaller details of your wedding planning process, you will have eliminated a lot of the stress that can sometimes come with wedding planning. If you take care of these few details right away, you won't have to worry about scrambling at the last minute to find a venue or photographer.

6 Things to Do After You Get Engaged

1) Set Your Timeline - How long is your engagement going to be? Are you going to plan your wedding within a year or more than a year? It is important to decide how long you will wait to get married. The best way to figure this out is to decide on the budget and size of your wedding. The larger and more expensive your wedding costs, the longer you may want to make your engagement period which will allow you more time to save money and secure the ceremony/reception site of your dreams.

2) Set Your Budget - Talk with your fiancé (and any other fabulous people helping with the cost of your wedding). Determine what you will be able to reasonable spend on your big day. Setting a wedding budget will help you decide on the number of people you will invite and how much cash you can throw at the ceremony/reception site, the dress, etc. Once you've set your budget, start splitting your wedding into sections. Determine how much of your budget will go towards your venues, how much towards vendors, how much for food, drinks, attire, gifts, decorations, etc.

3) Book Your Vendors - Venues and photographers can book up a year or sometimes two years in advance. Be sure to make booking your vendors a top priority. Do some research and find the DJ and photographer that is a good fit for you. Finding the site for your wedding to be held will help determine the length of your engagement, the size of your wedding, and your wedding date. (Don't forget the officiant! Someone to marry you is just as important and can sometimes book up just as fast as the ceremony site).

4) Pick Your Date & Share the News - So you may be a bride that has known the exact date of her wedding (even before you got engaged). But more often than not, the available dates of your ceremony/reception location will determine your actual wedding date. Either way, once you've decided on your wedding date and booked your vendors, be sure and announce your big news. Throw an engagement party to celebrate and send out save the date magnets to your loved ones. Your engagement photos are a great place to create a perfect photo op for unique save the dates. Check out this blog post on unique save the date ideas for more inspiration.

5) Go Gown Shopping - To much surprise, many bridal gowns can take 8+ months to come in once they are ordered. Don't put this off until the last minute. Make sure and start researching wedding gowns right away. Take into consideration the time of year you will be getting married. Summer wedding? Think airy chiffon or tulle. Fall or winter wedding? Think more heavyweight type fabrics like satin.

6) Start Filing Away Ideas - Pinterest is a great place for filing away wedding ideas. It's like a virtual tackboard for your favorite photos! However, if you're like me and need the feeling of a magazine between your fingers, create a file folder for your magazine cuttings. Make separate sections for the flowers, cake, table settings you find along the way. At the very least, be sure to get a binder to file your receipts and vendor info in. Make sure it has a calendar for important dates and contact info.

What can wait until later? Be sure to take care of these important six points first before diving into the cosmetic parts of your wedding day. The colors, centerpieces, and favors can wait until your have set your date and budget. Congratulations to you and happy planning!