You're Engaged! YAY YAY YAY YAY YAY! He got down on one knee, gave you a beautiful ring, and now your life is about to change in the best way. After all the jumping up and down, happy dancing, tears and endorphins, the reality of having to actually plan a wedding might start to bring you down from your engagement euphoria. You've found the love of your life, you want so badly to be married.... but where do you start???
BE IN THE MOMENT
You are probably so excited that you want to get right to wedding planning, but take some time to enjoy the feeling and let it all soak in. Make phone calls to your family and friends to tell them you are engaged, sit and stare at the ring on your finger, plan a getaway, or some romantic date nights with your fiance, and spend this time focusing on the amazing relationship that got you here in the first place. When you have some free time, sit down together to think about how you want your wedding day to feel. Do you want it to be romantic and intimate? Or fun and relaxed? Maybe you just want to throw the biggest party of your lives. Come up with three words that describe how you both want your wedding day to feel, and look back to these words to guide the decisions you make about your wedding day. This is also a great time to start a wedding Pinterest board and save anything that catches your eye so you can go back to it later when you are looking for ideas and inspiration.
Get help! No one wants the stress of planning a wedding alone. Remember, it is supposed to be FUN. If your significant other isn't really into it, recruit someone else who will be all in on everything from favors to flower arrangements. Sorry, your mom who got married in the pre-Pinterest age might not be the best resource. Your friend who got married last year... yes! Or a wedding planner who does this all day every day.... even better!!!
If there was one thing I would have changed about my wedding, it would be having a planner or a day-of coordinator to take the stress off of my shoulders. Wedding planners know the ins and outs of weddings, and they have great relationships with other wedding vendors in your area, so they can guide you to the DJs, caterers, venues, bakers, and florists who will be a great fit and make your day amazing. Hiring a wedding planner is like having a best friend who is an expert on weddings and has no care in the world except making your wedding day perfect. If there is any way to make it work with your budget, spend it on a planner, you will be happy you did.
Are you getting married in Colorado? Here are a few of my favorite planners to check out!
April Marie Events: https://aprilmarieevents.com/
Love Letter Events: https://www.loveletterevents.com/
Blossom Design: https://www.blossomdesigngj.com/
PICK A DATE.... and stick with it!
This may seem simple, but this one step will make it all seem real. If you and your fiance have a favorite season, that is a great way to decide your wedding date. Do you want it to be on a weekend so everyone can travel and come? Or if you want to save on your budget, consider a weekday when many venues and vendors will offer a discount. You may need to be a little flexible with your date if you have a specific venue in mind, as they may already be booked for several weekends.
BOOK THE BIGGIES
Once you have a date in mind, start thinking about where you would like to get married. Do you want a big venue that specializes in hosting events? Or somewhere unique like a cool VRBO or your favorite mountaintop? The possibilities are endless! Talk about how many people you plan to invite, and what amenities you will need. Are you looking for a place with a dance floor and a full bar? Or an outdoor space where you can set up a tent? Will you have your ceremony at one location and your reception at another? Or do you want everything in one place?
These questions will help narrow down your options and guide your towards venue choices. Also think about the setting you like - are you a couple who loves the mountains? Or is a vineyard more your style? Or do you want a desert boho vibe? Is this something that is available where you live, or do you need to make your wedding a destination to get the scenery you are looking for?
Many couples travel to Colorado for their wedding because of the amazing variety of backdrops available here. We have everything from amazing mountainscapes to beautiful, rustic barns and vineyards, to beaches and deserts. Anything you want can be found here, and guests love traveling to Colorado to attend a wedding. If travel is something you are considering, coordinate closely with a planner or other vendor such as your photographer to find the location of your dreams. Elopements and destination weddings are becoming very popular, and there is no reason your wedding can't also be an amazing, memorable vacation for you and your guests!
Once you have a few venues in mind, make plans to visit them in person if possible. Take time to walk the grounds and explore the space, envisioning yourself there on your wedding day. Make sure to ask questions about all of the fees involved with renting the space so that there aren't any surprises later. Do they offer in house catering or bar service? What do they charge? Do they have an area for getting ready, or will you need to find another space to have your hair and makeup done? Is there a cutoff time in the evening for music?
If you find a venue that checks all your boxes and gives you the feels, you will want to make your deposit and book your date as soon as you feel comfortable. Most venues are only able to host one event, so they book up quickly, and your date might fill up. When you find one that feels right, you want to reserve it so that no one else can take your date.
After booking your dream venue, start to think about how you want to capture your wedding day. Do you want a beautifully edited video put to music? Or photographs that you can share with everyone and hang on your wall afterward? Photographers and Videographers usually have limited availability, so if there is a photographer whose work you love, you want to contact them as soon as possible to make sure they don't get booked for your date. You can totally stalk their Instagram or website to see if their work speaks to you and matches the style you are looking for. If you can, set up an in-person meeting to really get to know them and see if their personality is a good fit for you. You will be spending a lot of time in close proximity with your photographer or videographer, so it is really important to have someone that you feel comfortable around and who makes you feel special and adds to your day.
It is always a good idea to have your photographer take engagement photos with you and your fiance so that you can get to know each other in a more relaxed setting before the wedding day. This way you can get a sense of how your photographer works and the way they interact with you. It is a great opportunity to get to know each other better and to become more comfortable with the camera before the pressure of your big day. Engagement photos are also great to have for your save the date announcement, invitation, or wedding website. A lot of couples will also use their engagement photos to make a canvas or a photo guest book that people can sign at the wedding.
DRESS THE PART
Gather your bride tribe and make an appointment at a few dress shops where you can sip mimosas and have a day of feeling beautiful trying on every dress in sight. Have everyone take lots of camera pictures of you in each dress, the front and back, so you can refer to them later when deciding on a favorite. Don't be afraid to try on something that doesn't fit the style you have in mind, you might find be surprised what looks great! Ask the dress shop employees to help you make selections, they know their inventory best and what will flatter and fit your body. Alterations can take months, so make sure to get your dress early to ensure it will be all set for the big day.
What is my favorite wedding gown boutique? http://www.annelisebridal.com/
This is the fun part! It's time to take all those Pinterest ideas you have been pinning and bring them to life! Show your board to the florists and bakers you meet with so they can provide you with quotes. Consider finding a calligrapher to make custom signs or invitations for you. Schedule tastings with caterers and meet with DJs to talk about your music. This can seem like a lot, so some couples find it helpful to have planning days where they set up a few meetings in a row and knock those items off of their list.
If you are having a hard time finding vendors in your area, you can check out directories like The Knot or Wedding Wire who list reputable wedding businesses. If your town has a wedding expo, this is a great way to browse vendors and check out their work without having a formal meeting. When considering vendors, always read reviews from other clients to make sure the businesses are experienced and reliable. A little research goes a long way to making sure you have the best team for your wedding. If the number of vendors seems overwhelming, ask your planner or venue for recommendations. Many venues can provide you with a list of "preferred vendors" they recommend working with. Make sure to set up a trial or test run with your hair and makeup professionals to practice the look and make sure everything looks just right before the big day.
TIME TO INVITE
Get that guest list put together and send out your beautiful invitations. Make sure to give guests a "reply by" date so you can get a final head count for the caterer. Want to save on stamps? Many wedding websites allow guests to RSVP online and save you the headache of tracking who is coming. To design a free, beautiful wedding website that is easy to customize for your event, check out Zola.com, The Knot, Wedding Wire, or minted.com.
Create a detailed timeline for your wedding day so your bridal party, vendors and family are all on the same page. Include contact information for everyone with phone numbers and addresses of the sites for getting ready, ceremony and reception. Organize it by time and list who needs to be at each location at each time. Include delivery times for decorating and delivery times for flowers, cake and food. Also include what times bridal party and family need to be available for photos. Many times your DJ or photographer will have a timeline, but you will want a master timeline that includes everything everyone needs to know. If you have a planner, they should take care of all of this for you!
PLAY AND RELAX
The time leading up to the wedding should be joyful and exciting! Enjoy being showered with love and gifts from your family, celebrating with bachelor and bachelorette parties, and spending lots of time dreaming of the day to come. Try not to stress the little details, and remember that something will go wrong at almost every wedding. Even if there is a mishap at the wedding - something breaks, a guest drinks too much, a crazy storm rolls in and blows your decorations away - keep in mind that it is all part of what will make your day memorable and will make a great story one day. Stay focused on the intent of your wedding and what brought you there, marrying the person you love most in the world, and the rest is just icing on the cake.
All the planning, dreaming, and doing.... and it's here! Your wedding day is going to go by SO FAST. Try to plan moments during the day when you can take a breath and let it all soak in. Whether it is a special first look with your fiance before the ceremony, letters your can exchange, special gifts, or a break together as the sun sets, build in memories that will last. The more personal you can make it, the better. Sit down together and think about what makes you as a couple you. It can be anything, big or small, but try to bring it into your day. Remember that your wedding is yours and no one else's, and that it can be anything you want it to be. If it is true to you, it will be beautiful. And you know that if hired a great photographer, you will be able to look back at those memories forever and have all the emotions of the day flood back to you. Make sure you print your photos after the wedding so that they will be on the wall where you can see and enjoy them every day.
Remember that wedding vendors like myself book out fast! If you are looking for a super fun, laid back photographer for your event, reach out and set up your complimentary photography consultation now! Let's connect!! I'm firstname.lastname@example.org.