One of my good friends found herself newly engaged over the weekend, and (once the rush wore off a bit) was full of questions. Most of them pointed toward one bigger concern – where should I even start? If you have a tentative wedding date in mind as soon as you’re engaged, there are a few things you should consider as soon as you can. Before you start picking out linens and trying on dresses, jot these down in your newly purchased wedding planner:
Set a (Tentative) Budget:
It’s easy to get swept up in the romance of a new engagement, but making decisions, even small ones, without a budget can really throw a wrench into the experience. If you get your heart set on a venue or guest list without first figuring out what you can afford, you’ll find yourself disappointed way ahead of time. Even if your wedding is far off in the future or you know that you’ll need to save up a bit before you start committing, know what your end goal is. Have a dollar amount in mind, so you aren’t reaching for the moon during your preemptive planning. Weddings can be spectacular on any budget, but you’ll want to know what that budget is before you start your in-a-perfect-world Pinterest.
Set a (Tentative) Guest list:
You won’t need a set-in-stone guest list until you send your save-the-dates (or maybe even your invitations) before your wedding, but all of your other decisions depend on at least a fuzzy picture of who you expect to be attending your big day. A guest list of 100 versus 200 will change the way you spend your $15,000 budget. Much like the earlier budget decision, your thoughts on your guest list composition will color the picture you’ll start to craft of your ideal wedding. This decision is best left for after determining your budget. You can always scale your budget down, but it’s harder to do that with a guest list once you have your heart set on one.
Enjoy the moment!
For the moment, stop planning and start enjoying being engaged. Take your nose out of your wedding planning binder and enjoy some time to yourselves. This is especially important now, as relatives and friends will likely be asking about wedding plans in droves. A simple “we really haven’t started thinking about it yet” will allow some time to digest your ideal plans in favor of some more realistic ones. Let it settle, enjoy the enthusiasm around you and start seriously planning in a few months.