You’ve met the love of your life, and now you’re ready to make a lifetime commitment. Congratulations! Engagements can be joyful, sentimental, exciting – and, sometimes, terrifying. Planning a wedding is no easy task, especially with managing input from interested friends and family, taking care of all the wedding details, and trying to enjoy yourself and your love in the process.
That being said, just like any huge project, wedding planning is just a lot of small tasks to break down and address one at a time. By focusing on what you and your partner want and working to throw the most epic party of the season, your wedding will be everything you’ve dreamed of. Here are some general philosophies and strategies to help you plan the perfect wedding for you and your partner.
Enjoy the Moment
The second you get engaged, it’s tempting to want to jump right into wedding planning; the barrage of questions you’ll get about it doesn’t help. However, for the first week or so, just let yourself enjoy being engaged. Hold hands, kiss your partner, make plans for your life together, politely let inquiring loved ones know that you’ll give them the wedding details in time, and just smile and breathe for a bit.
A good way to achieve this is by planning your engagement announcements strategically. Feel free to tell your close family and friends, but consider holding off on the public announcement until you’ve had time to enjoy the moment.
Consider Your Timeline
In general, you need six months to a year to plan a medium to large wedding. Although it is important to enjoy your engagement for a little bit before planning, you should still start early; getting an early start will make the planning much less stressful as the wedding day approaches.
To get started, it’s important to have an idea of what month or season you want to get married if you haven’t yet chosen a date. This will give you an idea of how long you have to plan everything out. At that point, it’s time to get organized: pick up a wedding planning book (or a simple notebook) to keep all of your wedding-related information in one place and plan out your timeline for getting things done. If you start early, you can reference it at your leisure to make sure everything’s on track. No frantic phone calls and no last-minute sacrifices.
Figure Out (and Stick to) a Budget
The average wedding costs a whopping $27,698. Luckily, this is an average, which means that a few extremely wealthy couples can bring up that number pretty quickly. By setting a budget at the very beginning of the planning process, you can avoid your costs creeping up.
When you set your budget, choose a realistic amount. Don’t decide on something that will bury you in debt, but also don’t forget all the little extras like dress alterations and beauty expenses – those add up quickly. Also consider if anyone, like parents, will contribute money to the wedding fund, and if there are other ways you can make some extra cash.
If you have your heart set on certain services or items that your budget won’t allow, consider negotiating with vendors. Relatively unknown by engaged couples, negotiation is a legitimate part of wedding planning. For instance, if services or items are presented at a set, take out the aspects that you don’t need and negotiate for a lower price. This will keep you – and your pockets – happy and ready for your life after the wedding.
Don’t Sacrifice Your Dream
As is true in almost all wedding planning, you will receive a lot of well-meaning suggestions and opinions. As much as you may want to make everyone happy, however, you and your partner know what your vision is for your special day. Make adjustments here and there, but don’t give up on your dream wedding.
A few things that you should consider for the sake of your guests, however, are small details to make the day enjoyable for everyone. For instance, consider keeping the ceremony relatively short (usually around 20 minutes is fine) to keep the day interactive and maximize the amount of time you can spend with people – not in front of people.
Despite this, make sure that the overall experience is what you envisioned for your wedding. If you and your partner are happy and having a good time, it will be infectious.
A lot of pressure is put on engaged couples to host the perfect wedding. However, that perfection changes from couple to couple. By staying relaxed, planning ahead, and keeping your vision in mind, you can have a perfect day to remember for the rest of your lives together.