Yay! You are engaged! You have been awaiting this day for some length of time – whether you have been planning and dreaming about this since you were a little girl, or once you realized he was “the one.” More likely than not, this is your first go round and you aren’t too sure what to do first.
Here are five suggestions to get you started on your wedding planning journey:
1. Do some research.
Stop by a grocery store or bookstore, like Books-a-Million in Lake Charles, LA, and check out some wedding magazines. (You might even want to purchase one or two to take home and reference later.) We highly recommend Southern Weddings Magazine which can be found at Target in Lake Charles, LA or online.
What are you looking for exactly? Flip through the magazine and see what stands out to you the most. Do you really like a color scheme that you see being used for a wedding? Do you like the rustic country look or a modern and very sophisticated look? Are you drawn more to the lace wedding dresses or the princess dresses? Would you like an outdoor wedding or an indoor wedding? What time of year would you like to get married?
2. Compile your ideas in one central place.
Once you start getting an idea of what you would like your wedding to look like, start writing things down. Cut out photos from the magazines (okay we know the magazines are really pretty, you can totally make a copy of the pages and cut the copy out if you prefer) and compile them in a binder or folder. A great resource and place to keep all of your wedding ideas would be The Southern Weddings Planner (check out our review here!).
3. Pick a date.
Picking a date can be a big deal or just a detail depending on each individual couple. Some couples choose a specific date that is very special to them for their wedding, some choose a date during the time of year that they love most, and others just choose a date based on how long they will have to plan or around other important life events (ex. 6 months, 9 months, or a year from their engagement). Picking a date is actually a crucial first step as all the vendors you chat with will want to know what day you would like to book to make sure they are available for your wedding day!
4. Discuss your budget.
While you won’t always be able to plan your budget to the dollar at the very beginning of your wedding planning adventure, it’s a good idea to ballpark a budget that you would like to stick close to. The more research you do on vendors, the more precise your budget planning will get. A really great tip for budgeting that we used when we were planning our own wedding and absolutely swear by, is to each pick one thing that is most important to you about your wedding and allot a good bit of your budget for those two things. For me, the photography was the most important thing, because the photographs were the memories we would have and look back on for years and years to come after our wedding. For my husband the most important thing was planning a great honeymoon – he wanted to go somewhere fun, relax, and really have a vacation together. Once we decided on the two things that were most important to us, we focused the budget to make sure those things were paid for first and foremost and then if we had to cut back we did so in other areas of planning. Looking back this really helped us so much in not only our wedding planning, but also in the over-all experience we had with everything because we were able to enjoy the things that were most important to us.
5. Book a ceremony/reception venue.
Once you and your fiancé have selected a date for your wedding (or at least a general idea of when you would like to have it), go ahead and make a list of venues that you would like to have your ceremony and/or reception at. Once you have at least three options for both the ceremony and the reception, or ceremony and reception together, check out their hours of operation and call to see if you can schedule a time to come and take a tour of the venue(s) they offer for weddings and discuss booking fees, etc.
There is plenty more wedding planning to do, but we hope this gives you a good starting place! Keep researching and feel free to register your wedding and get our exclusive Lake Area wedding Vendor List (to find some awesome local vendors for your wedding), plus tips and information about planning your wedding in the Lake Area!