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So I understand that discussing how to begin planning may seem somewhat unusual, but with as large as an undertaking as a wedding is, it should make sense. Especially if you are trying to create your dream wedding while sticking to a budget, planning is important. In fact, I cannot stress it enough. Plan, plan, plan, and plan again. Let’s just break down that process a little and see what you need to do first as you begin preparing for (or dreaming about) your wedding.
1. Start Planning Early
I understand that an engagement is usually a surprise and most people don’t want to wait too long before they actually get married; however, if you can get a little extra time up front, it will really help you be able to spread out your expenses and take your time to prepare. My husband and I were engaged for 9 months, and that seemed like just about the perfect amount of time to plan for our wedding. I’d suggest giving yourself anywhere for 7 months to a year to plan.
2. Get a Wedding Planning Book or Timeline
Assuming you’re not using a wedding planner, the next best thing is a wedding planning book. I had one like this and loved it! I literally was my lifeline for planning our wedding. While you don’t have to follow the timeline to a “T,” it helps give you an idea of what you need to do when, so you’re not rushing to get everything done last minute.
Again, if you’re working on a budget, you need to find places to save, but it’s also okay to have a few places to splurge. As you begin the process think about your top priorities and where you’re willing to spend a little extra. Knowing these upfront will make it easier to negotiate your budget later. My husband and I covered the cost of our wedding with help from my parents, so I knew I wanted to maximize the budget we had. My parents were gracious enough to splurge on my dress, so the other priority purchase I chose was our flowers. I wanted sunflowers, and we were willing to pay whatever we had to to get them.
4. Set Your Date
This one probably seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people neglect to set their date upfront. Think about what time of year you’d like to have your wedding as well as what day of the week. Take some time with your fiancé and set a date. Understand that depending on how flexible you are as to the location of your wedding, you may have to be willing to wait longer to get your desired date. In the same token, though, if you’re pretty flexible on the venue, you should be able to set your date and find a location that works.
While you don’t have to have an elaborately defined theme, like a fairy garden wedding or even The Wizard of Oz, having idea of the general feel of your wedding will help your planning immensely. My wedding was a simple slightly rustic theme, and my sister’s was a classic black and white. So just having a bit of an idea of the look you’re going for makes all the difference when planning.
If you’re newly engaged or even if you just think he might pop the big question soon, be sure you’re ready to start planning. Taking a few simple steps upfront can make all the difference with planning later.