Congratulations - You're Engaged!
Updated: Oct 14, 2020
Getting engaged is one of the most exciting milestones in your life - you're telling the world that you've found your soulmate and are ready for the next chapter of your relationship to begin.
Although it's an exciting and amazing time, it can be easy to become overwhelmed. It's a big deal! But don't worry, this blog post has been written to reassure you and help with your to-do list. It doesn't need to be stressful.
Establish a rough guest list
Before looking at venues, it's a good idea to write down your prospective guest list. We all know that things change and circumstances can never be predicted, but it's good to just have a rough draft. This is crucial before you start looking at venues, as most places have a maximum number of guests allowed; you don't want to find your dream venue and then realise that there won't actually be room for all your favourite people.
Find your perfect wedding venue
Guest list completed, the next (perhaps obvious) step is to find and book a venue. This is of course important to secure the date and get the ball rolling, but is also usually the biggest expense, so is good to get it done and out of the way. Once you've found the perfect place, hopefully you'll feel a great weight off your shoulders. Your venue will then guide you with regards to booking your official ceremony (the legal bit), so no need to worry about navigating that one on your own.
Send out your Save the Dates and Wedding Invitations
Now the venue has been booked, the most exciting tasks can commence! Save the dates are a great way to quickly let your guests know the important details so that they can pop your date on the calendar. The good thing about save the dates is that your guests can guarantee that they won't double book, but you don't need to know all the specific details of your day yet (that will normally go on your wedding invitations). Just sending invites and skipping the save the date cards is perfectly fine, but just be mindful to send them out as early as possible to give your guests plenty of notice. (link to another of our blogposts about when to send out invites?)
Book your caterers
Some wedding venues come with recommended suppliers which can make the search for caterers much easier for you (however the recommended suppliers aren't always the cheapest, so perhaps do some digging if you're on a strict budget). All caterers will have different ways of doing things, but for example, our caterers met with us and discussed food options fairly early on (we also went to a menu sampling evening - yum!). This worked in our favour as we wanted to add menu choices to our wedding invitations so didn't want to leave this too late. Every venue and catering company will have their own timeline though and will guide you to make the planning as stress-free as possible.
Find a DJ/Band
As with the catering, most wedding venues will come with recommended DJ's etc. Do whatever is right for you - we personally opted for convenience and went with the in-house DJ at our venue, who was fantastic. We actually met with him and discussed our vision for the evening and our music tastes, which most DJ's/bands should offer. Side note - asking your guests for a song choice on their invitations can be fun and will get your guests involved!
Find a Florist
If you're having flowers, try and get this organised as early as you can. All suppliers that have anything to do with weddings can be booked up months and months in advance. If you're creative and would like a challenge, finding a flower wholesaler and making the bouquets yourself could be a cheaper and less time pressured option (less time pressured for the supplier - not necessarily for you!).
Find the perfect outfit!
Now that the official bits that require booking have been done, the next key thing is to find your wedding dress/outfit! This can of course be done at any time during this whole process, however the earlier the better. Fittings and alterations can take much longer than you think, so it's always best to start shopping earlier rather than later. Leaving it to the last minute WILL result in a stressed out bride, which isn't good for anyone...
Bits and Bobs
There are LOTS of things that can go in this category - from small things like organising gifts for your bridesmaids, to bigger things like writing your speech (if you're doing one). A good way to tackle these tasks is to write down everything that needs to be done, and then rank them in order of importance/time restrictions. Everyone loves ticking things off a list, right?!
Collate your RSVP's
Once you have all of your RSVP's back, you can then focus on finalising lots of things. Firstly, you can send over food choices to your caterers (who would be grateful for timely responses, I'm sure). Secondly, you can write out your final guest list and start to think about your table plan. This will always need to be a fairly last minute task, as people can pull out right up until the day of your wedding. I'd recommend giving yourselves a cut off point of no less than 2 weeks before your big day - anyone who hasn't 100% confirmed then should probably be included in the table plan, just incase.
Final few things
Following on with the point above, once you have everything confirmed you can focus on the decorations and last few bits of stationery. Table name cards can be created/ordered as you'll know the exact amount of tables required; place cards can be designed as you'll have all of your guest names confirmed; table decorating can be planned... The list could go on and on.
So, I'm just assuming that there are some ditzy people out there like my husband and I... An important piece of advice for you my friends - don't forget to buy your wedding rings! Believe it or not, we completely overlooked this teeny (hugely important) detail, until it was nearly too late... Thank goodness for next day delivery, is all I can say.
This list itself may overwhelm you and scare you a bit, but honestly, if I can be a laid back bride, anyone can be. We planned our wedding in just under a year, and it was kind of a breeze. Although this is a pretty long list, some of the tasks really take no time at all - it's amazing what you can get done in a day by making a few phone calls!
Set aside some wedmin time, make those lists, and get stuff done. You'll feel amazing for it and your visions and dreams will start to become a reality :)