Congratulations you got engaged!! You are so freaking excited to marry your best friend and love of your life, and were excited as well!
But listen, we know how overwhelming wedding planning can be, so before you join and post in all wedding groups on facebook, or sign up for every wedding website known to the internet, lets' chat!
There are a few things you'll want to do before you start diving into major planning. Even before you set your wedding date....
#ONE - CREATE A WEDDING EMAIL
Likely my biggest piece of advice I can bestow on you. Make a wedding specific email address. Seriously, you can make fun of it all you want, but trust me, when your wedding comes and goes you will thank me for this advice. Don't pay for one, just create an outlook or gmail account specific to your wedding.
One of the biggest reasons why this is so helpful is that it helps keep you totally organized! Everything to do with your wedding is in one spot, and it's all digital! You wont loose any of your wedding emails in with your personal or work emails!
Secondly, you can share access to this email with your fiancé, and you wont have to worry forwarding emails, or signing up with both email addresses. They also wont have to sift through all your personal and/or work emails.
Lastly, all those wedding websites, and wedding shows you sign up for, the email you gave out to all the contests, and free gifts? Those don't fill up your regular inbox, and you can delete this email after your wedding and never receive an email regarding wedding planning again! Thank you for your service wedding email, I don't need you anymore! Or if you wanted to keep it for nostalgic reasons you can just simply login every now and again.
#TWO - HIRE A PLANNER AND/OR BOOK YOUR VENUE
Doing a consultation with a planner is a great way to get advice, and sort out what is most important on your wedding day, and what parts of your budget go too what. Please make sure before you speak to a wedding planner, that you have some idea of your budget. No matter how small or large it is, a planner will show you what available to you, and truly help put together your dream wedding. But make sure you are upfront with your planner on your budget!
Your planner will help you source venues, and direct you to some you may not know existed! Rather than spending hours on google, or days of phone calls, lean on your planner to make suggestions, they will have a whole list of spots that match your vision. They're kinda like a realtor, but for weddings! Planners can also get you in touch with the best wedding professionals for all the other details, such as photographers, dj's, rental companies etc.
If your budget doesn't have room for a planner, and you'r DIYing your wedding day, then your next step will be finding a venue! I say to look for your venue before you pick your wedding day because this may open up venue's that you may miss out on having a firm date. If you love a venue that much, you'll pick the date that they have available.
You NEED to have a venue booked and/or a date confirmed before you can start booking other vendors. We need to know when we would be working, and of course where! Especially if it's a destination wedding.
#THREE - HIRE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER
I say this, as a photographer myself, we are one of the first venders you should be booking! Why? Because we're one of the only vendors that gives you something to take away from your wedding day. Aside from a spouse of course. Our job is to document all the planning that went into your wedding day. Sometimes years of preparation goes into your wedding, and not having it photographed the way you want it to be is so disappointing.
Photographers typically book 12-24 months in advance, and the good ones book up really fast. Because were visual artists, you'll fall in love with a photographers work, long before you meet them! So if you have your heart set on a certain one, book them right away!
Most wedding photographers offer engagement sessions with their packages as well. Booking them first, gives you the option to have your engagement session right away, and get all those photos you'll need for save the dates, invitations, etc!
Start with these three things, and you'll be well on your way to planning the most beautiful wedding you can dream up!
A few of my favourite sites for wedding planning are below!
Congratulations again, and even though i'm third on this list, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org