The time is here, wedding planning! Some say I'm wedding planning obsessed, and sometimes I think they're right but I'm okay with that. Here are a few details I've learned to get in order right out of the engagement gate:
* Get organized! Whatever your system is, get it together soon. My plan of attack was a large binder complete with a calendar, divider tabs, pockets, folders, paper ...you get the idea. This book will become my lifeline. It's intended to hold to-do lists, inspiration, wedding party information, vendors and contracts, guest lists, notes, registry information, etc.
* Set a budget. You've got this great organized book ready to hit the bridal pavement and start making those dreams come true. The reality of it is no one likes to window shop when you're planning a wedding. You need to get the cash plan together as soon as you can. Whatever your dream wedding consists of, start researching. Talk to recently married friends and family members to get an idea of what the real cost of doing wedding business is these days. Once you have a ballpark idea of how many additional jobs you're going to need to work is when you start putting the pen to paper. Are you and your fiance going to be paying for the wedding yourselves? Is family going to help or even pay for the entire wedding? These are important questions to talk through to find out how to set your budget. Once you have the budget in place is when you can start shopping and allocating money accordingly. If you've taken my advice and purchased David Tutera's new book, he has a great breakdown of how any wedding budget typically should be used.
* Appraise and purchase insurance for your engagement ring. Your honey spent a lot of time and money on that investment, so be sure to protect it!
* Start flipping through those wedding and bridal magazines to get ideas and inspiration.
* Begin thinking and wedding dates and venues. This will also be a key role in your budget that you've already set!
* Create a wedding website. There are many free sites that offer you a variety of ways to keep loved ones up-to-date with your wedding plans. I chose The Knot to host our website. That whole website is great for the planning process too!
* Get an idea of where you want to register for gifts. Start making a list of what you and your fiance are in need of or want for your new life together. However, know when to register and don't do it too soon if you're planning a long engagement. I know it's exciting but keep in mind seasonal and discontinued items. Seven to nine months prior to your wedding date is a good time to start firing away those registering guns! Also, try to include a store that guests can access online to shop/buy/ship your gift in case they're not close to the brick and mortar location.
* Have an engagement party! Many couples are hosting this party themselves or having family/friends host it for them. Remember to budget for this too and to not let it upstage the wedding and its planning. Pick a theme that's completely different from what your wedding theme will be. Gifts are not expected at these parties however if you love to shop, picture frames, bridal magazine subscriptions, and scrapbook supplies are all great places to start.
* Start that wedding/honeymoon fitness routine if it's been awhile since the treadmill took you out on a date.
* Take some time off. You've now plunged into wedding planning head first. Relax, breathe, and spend some time with your fiance without any talk of wedding planning. Remember to include him but not overwhelm him. Do not become a Bridezilla and so involved that planning takes over your life. Enjoy this time!