You're engaged! YAY! Life is suddenly a happy whirlwind of Instagram posts, ring emojis, Facebook status changes, congratulations from friends...and questions. Lots and lots of them.
'When is the wedding?' 'Do you have a venue?' 'Have you chosen your bridesmaids yet?' 'What are your colors?' 'Who's doing your flowers?' 'Will you have live music?'
Oh boy. Before the stress of all the Unknowns hits you like a tidal wave, grab a cup of coffee (or a glass of wine!) and follow YWW's 5 Simple Steps to Start Your Wedding Planning Process:
1) Plan dates to talk about Your Wedding Day.
Setting aside special, focused 'dates' to discuss your dream wedding is smart no matter how you cut it. It will give you and your fiancé something to look forward to -- and time for each of you to do a little (enjoyable -- we promise) homework! Before your first date, grab a notepad and start a list: what kinds of weddings have you been to in the past? Where did they take place, and what moods or feelings did they evoke? What did you like or dislike about them? Write down all of your favorite (and least favorite) elements from past weddings and events you've attended, to compare with your sweetie's.
Yohana says: For your first 'discussion date', keep things light, fun and fanciful. From barn to ballroom to Paris elopement, bat ideas around with your beloved, compare notes and do a little brainstorming. Save the serious stuff for your second date.
2) The Money Talk.
We know what you're thinking. 'There goes the fun!' But realistically, you can't start planning your wedding until you know how much you can invest. It doesn't matter who's footing the bill -- be it you and your fiancé, your parents, or all of the above, there's a number out there upon which everyone can agree. And that number might evolve! But as a starting point, you need to know what's already in your reserves, and how much you can realistically save before your ideal wedding date.
Yohana says: Give yourself a safety cushion. Once you come up with a dollar amount, deduct 15% off the top. Tuck that 15% away for unexpected extras, and use the remaining figure as your wedding budget.
3) Who's Coming (and Who Isn't)
Okay -- another somewhat tedious subject. But you must decide how many guests you're inviting before you can start looking at venues. We recommend creating two guest lists. List A is comprised of the people who have to be there no matter what -- friends and family members who have been part of your journey. You'll be sending them Save-the-Dates as well as formal invitations, with plenty of time to RSVP.
List B includes guests you want there, but don't plan on sending Save-the-Dates. You can also mail these folks their invitations closer to the wedding. Don't forget to ask each of your parents for their lists, too!
Yohana says: If your mom, aunt, sister or friend is requesting that so-and-so be invited, that's lovely. But if you or your fiancé haven't heard 'so-and-so's' name before, it doesn't belong on your guest list!
4) Pick a venue.
Feel free to pin down an 'ideal' wedding date, but keep an open mind -- it may ultimately depend on your venue's availability. Seeing potential venues in person is a must (and can be a pleasure to do). But before you schedule tours, be sure that you and your honey have a list of 'must-haves' to hand. For example, if you're already planning on hiring a caterer that you love and trust, there's no need to visit venues that include in-house catering.
5) Plan on having fun while planning!
When anxiety sneaks up, breathe deeply and remind yourself what this 'big day' is really about: marrying your best friend. Sure, there will be logistics to discuss -- dates, times, vendors. But take them one at a time. And never forget that your wedding is both an expression and a celebration of who you are together. If you hold onto that truth throughout the planning, fun will always be at your fingertips.
Yohana says: Plan 'no wedding talk' dates throughout the process. And try not to get upset if he doesn't know the difference between 'blush' and 'pale pink' -- you're not marrying him for his taste in colors (I hope!).
~Best wishes -- and happy wedding planning!