Getting engaged is one of the most exciting times of your life — but it can also be super overwhelming. Wondering where to start with wedding planning? Follow these five steps, courtesy of event planner Megan Westers
By Megan Westers
Step #1: Don’t choose your date…yet
You might have had a special date in mind since you were 12 years old, or perhaps you haven’t thought of a date at all. Regardless, if you can hold off on choosing a date, do so. By setting a specific date, you might miss the opportunity to work with ideal vendors for your style and/or budget. Plus, holding off may also save you money in the long run — lots of vendors have pricing strategies based on slower times of the year.
Step #2: Make a preliminary guest list
Creating a guest list early on will help in selecting a venue later in the wedding-planning process, and it will also help with creating your budget (see Step #3). This is the time to start envisioning the bigger picture for the wedding: Are you going for an intimate vibe with close family, or a huge bash with all your friends? Get all your invitees on paper (or, better yet, a spreadsheet!) and start collecting addresses — you’re going to need them.
Step #3: Set your budget
This is a crucial step and something to be taken seriously. Your wedding is a very special day, sure, but you don’t want to end up broke, either. Have a conversation with your spouse to-be, your parents or any other family members who may be able or willing to help cover costs as soon as you can to determine an estimated overall budget.
Step #4: Prioritize!
Of course, getting married to your best friend is the most important thing, right? But a dream wedding also reflects your interests and personalities: Are you and your partner major foodies? Obsessed with classic cocktails? Do you drool over perfectly placed florals or gorgeous stationery? Choose two or three things that are really important to you as a couple. That way, when your planner is breaking down your budget, he or she knows where to focus attention to make the day uniquely yours.
Step #5: Interview a few planners to find the perfect match
Familiarize yourself with different planners’ pricing structures, business models and availability — and don’t forget to assess each one’s personality to see if he or she is someone you’d feel comfortable working with throughout this process (which can take a year or more.) What is your potential planner’s workload? How much experience do they have? What are their strengths and weaknesses? Once you find someone you connect with, hire them!