Engagement Season || the planning rush

You got engaged over the holidays?! Congratulations! If you did, you are not alone. We like to refer to this time of year as “engagement season” and can always tell the excitement when a newly engaged bride calls to start making those decisions. This is an AWESOME time and should be enjoyed by everyone involved, but can also become a little overwhelming. Don’t let the overall picture overtake your excitement, break it down and tackle each task to truly enjoy the process.

Fidelis Studio 2012 Steven & Callie-1327

If you are recently engaged, or have been engaged for a period of time and have found that you are now ready to face the task of planning, here are a few items to get you started on the right track.

Who will be financially responsible for the wedding? In the past, tradition dictated that it was the bride’s family. Modern day has changed many things about weddings, this included. It may be one party who will be mainly responsible, or it may be a group effort with different parents paying for certain portions and the bride and groom paying for certain portions. I know it is not always an easy conversation, but it is one that must be had. The Knot reported in March, 2014, that the (US) national average for a wedding was just under $30,000.

{guest list}
Start talking with your fiancé and both sides of the family to put together a preliminary list. This could be a limiting factor when visiting venues so it is good to know if you will be expecting no less than 500 guests or 80-120 with the flexibility to cut down if necessary. You will need your guest list for save the dates, invitations and thank you cards during the planning process.

{inspiration & planning board}
Start your creative juices flowing! Gather the do’s and don’ts that you want to incorporate in the wedding so that when you begin meeting with vendors you have a base style that they can identify with and put in your file. Start a binder or folder for your contracts, pictures, pertinent information so that your information is easily accessible during meetings or phone calls.

{venue vs date}
Talk about dates. Is there one certain date that you are absolutely set on, or are flexible but want to stay within (or away from) a certain season? Is your date the most important or are you open to alternative dates if you find a venue that you fall in love with? Decide what you want your venue to encompass. Do you want it to be full service/turnkey so that they handle all food, drink, alcohol, tables, chairs, set up and break down, or do you want a venue that is more flexible with outside vendors providing these services? Do you want ceremony and reception in one location? Will you have a church ceremony?

{consider a planner}
You know your schedule and personality better than anyone, and will be able to judge whether a wedding planner would benefit you during the wedding planning process or not. There will be different packages you should be able to contract with a wedding planner that could take you from start to finish with everything, or simply tying up the final details once the wedding rolls around. You and your planner should be on the same page when it comes to your style and how your wedding day will be executed.

{wedding party…or not}
Decide whether or not you will have wedding party, and if you will, go ahead and start asking those closest to stand by you. Even if you don’t have a date, that will eliminate the questions of whether or not they will be involved when your wedding comes up in conversation. However, don’t feel obligated to have a wedding party. It is perfectly acceptable to stand at the “alter” with just the two of you and officiate and say I Do. Those you want to share the day with will still be there and can still celebrate in the same capacity.

{dress shopping}
Pick a date and take your closest girlfriends, guy-friends, mom… the people who make you feel comfortable! Some wedding dresses can take up to nine months to be received by the store, and then with alterations and final fittings and cleanings can add another one to two months onto the time. This isn’t always the case, but it is always good to be prepared for a longer time and be surprised when you get your special package early! Your dress will also help you in design meetings when selecting bridesmaids’ dresses, flowers, linens, and overall décor.

{top picks}
Sit down with your fiancé and make a “top” list that you both come to an agreement on. This will help you when you are finalizing the budget, meeting with vendors, and deciding what to splurge on. It might also surprise you to know what each of you holds most important.

klingwedding0035 klingwedding0780

Through the planning, through the questions, through the contracts, remember what matters most. Remember to follow your heart and do what fits your personality, style and budget, not what everyone else dictates. Take each step as it works best for you and know that when your wedding day comes it will be nothing short of perfect.