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You’re engaged!! Now what?

First, let me say congratulations on your engagement!!!  That is such exciting news!  I’m starting a blog series that will guide you though planning your wedding!  I’ve been a bride (and am now a happy wife!) and I’ve worked in the wedding industry and been photographing weddings for five years now.  I’ve gathered a lot of information that most brides just don’t know.  (Because this is your first wedding and my… well let’s just say it’s been a lot.)

So what is the first thing you should do when planning your wedding?  Figure out your budget.  Absolutely this is the #1 thing you have to do first.  It will affect every other decision you make.  You can’t make any decisions until you know what budget you are working with.  So sit down with your fiancé, and anyone else who is helping pay for this wedding and decide how much you are comfortable spending.

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Once you know what your budget is I would recommend that you think about what style wedding you would like.  Do you love spending time outside?  Are you laid-back and casual or more formal?  Would you rather have an intimate affair or a huge party?  This is one of those wonderful times where you can’t be wrong!  This is about you and your fiancé.  Your wedding should reflect you as a couple.  So do what you love!  Of course that being said, whomever is paying for this wedding does get some say in who gets invited.  So if your parents are paying and they want a huge event with hundreds of people and you only want 20 people you are going to need to have a conversation.

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Once your budget is set and you have an idea about style for your wedding (or you are at least gathering ideas) you should go hire a wedding planner.  Seriously.  Go do it now.  I hear two arguments against hiring a wedding planner so I’m going to address them right here.

1.  “They cost money and it isn’t in my budget.”  Yes.  Wedding planners cost money.  However, they are worth every penny for all the work and stress they will save you.  You will get the chance to enjoy your engagement, and everyone else involved will get the chance to enjoy your wedding instead of trying to make sure that everything is set up and running on time.  A good wedding planner knows how to stick to a budget (so you won’t overspend!) and will make sure that you use your money in the most effective ways possible.  They will also save you so much time by knowing who the best vendors are, and time is money.

2.  “I love planning and want to plan my own wedding!”  Having a wedding planner doesn’t mean that you don’t get to plan your own wedding!  You can do as much as you want!  A wedding planner will help make sure you don’t over extend yourself and guide you through contracts (which can be complicated.)  They will help you find the right vendors to create your vision!

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The earlier you hire a wedding planner the easier this whole process will be!  And if you are looking for a good one let me recommend a few:

Johanna @ Simplicity Events by Johanna.  I love working with her!  I have seen her save weddings from unforeseen circumstances that could have ruined the day more than once and you would never know!  They all came off flawlessly and beautifully!  She focuses on events in Northern VA.

Tyler @ Voila Events Studio.  Always well thought-out, classy, beautiful events so perfect for northern VA and DC.

Kat @ Dear Sweetheart Events.  Kat has the sweetest, bubbliest personality!  Her weddings are always beautiful and romantic.  She is based out of Harrisonburg but travels all over VA.

Margo @ Bright Occasions.  Margo is charming and so are her weddings.  I love the little touches she does and the pops of color. She is based out of MD.

Jennifer @ MayJune Events.  Jennifer’s weddings are so soft, beautiful and classic!  She is lovely to work with, and travels all over Northern VA.

And of course I know more planners, if for some reason all these fabulous ladies are booked.  But you should go grab them while you can!

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So go get all of this done and then come back to the blog next month to see what you should do next!

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