I get this question all the time from so many brides! Getting engaged is the most exciting day ever, and then you start thinking about the wedding. So you run out and get bridal magazines and start envisioning your special day together. But what do you do first?
1. Make a rough guest list.
You can’t find a venue without knowing an estimated number of guests. So, get together with your fiancé and parents and come up with a guest list. You don’t have to stick to this list, but this needs to be as inclusive as you want. Now you know if you need a venue that can hold 50 people or 400 people! Estimate that between 10% and 20% of your invited guests will decline their invitation.
2. Gather a list of venues.
Whether you go to a local bridal show, find a local catalogue of wedding venues, or do your own research on the web, make a list of venues (or venue types) that you’d like. Then, set meetings or call them to get an idea of cost and date availability.
3. Picking a date.
Find out which dates will NOT work for you. Do you want an April wedding? If so, find out which dates won’t work with you, your fiancé, and your families. Then, be open to the other dates in the month. If you’re tight on a budget, consider a Friday or Sunday wedding. If you’re like me, find the football schedule and avoid home games! If you are going to shoehorn yourself into 1 date, be prepared to have more limitations on your venue preferences.
4. What is your budget?
Are you and your fiancé paying for the wedding? Are your folks contributing? Find out your total budget. Make sure that you break down the budget by percentages so that you don’t spend 80% of your budget on the venue/catering and then don’t have enough for everything else you want!
Don’t forget to soak up the feeling of being newly engaged! This is such an exciting time in your life and you shouldn’t be stressed about wedding details. Delegate tasks to your family, bridal party, and fiancé. If you find that you’re getting too stressed, make sure you’ve purchased Weddding Under Control. A wedding planner or day-of coordinator may also be a good idea for you to consider!