Advice All Newly-Engaged Couples Need to Hear, According to the Pros
The question was asked, the Champagne was popped, and the calls were made. Now that you're officially engaged, it's time for the hard part: Planning the entire wedding. It's no lie that planning what will surely be one of the most exciting days of your life is stressful and somewhat intimidating. Which is why we've gathered the best advice for newly-engaged couples, straight from the wedding pros!
Before you jump headfirst into color schemes and floral arrangements, take a minute to relax and read 25 truly important tips from wedding planners, photographers, stationers, florist, entertainers, and more. From budgeting and creating timelines to tips for registering and knowing when to trust your instincts, there's no one better to turn to for advice than those in the know. So if you really want to enjoy being engaged and planning a wedding, then stick to these incredibly helpful tips.
Enjoy Your Engagement
Sojourner of Erganic Design says, "Before jumping into planning mode, spend time as an engaged couple without any focus on the wedding. Plan a short get away or a staycation with your fiancé. Just be in the moment." Before even spilling the news to family and friends, Antonia Christianson suggests that you "savor the moment with your other half first, then share the news with the world."
Understand Each Other's Bucket List
Getting married doesn't mean you should give up on on your hopes and dreams. Danielle Keller of Mon Amie Bridal Salon suggests,"Talk to your partner about the things you want to accomplish in life and the things you'd love to do."
Set a Budget
Budgeting is one of the most important things you can do for your wedding, but it's also one of the hardest. Kari Dirksen of Feathered Arrow says to set your budget before you even look at venues or vendors. "Couples tend to find venues and vendors that they love but then realize they can't afford everything or everyone they fell in love with," she says. "Work on setting a budget first and get advice from those who have been recently married or better yet, your wedding planner to help set a realistic budget by knowing what things are most important to you and your fiancé and what you can afford. That helps to allocate your budget properly and to not be disappointed in things you can't have."
Start with Your Color Palette
Amanda Hudes of Smiling Through Chaos suggests picking your color palette before anything else. "The color scheme actually determines so much, including the theme, the type of flowers you'll use, the décor, and basically the entire look of your wedding," she says.
Think About Hiring a Planner
Lorrie Betsill of Maui's Angels and Unveiled suggests hiring a wedding planner earlier on. "Wedding planning is a full time job and working with a planner allows you to maintain balance and a sense of normalcy in your life. Spend more time celebrating and avoid having the happiness of your engagement period overshadowed by the stress of planning." Not only will you save time but they'll help ease all of the overwhelming decisions. "There is so much information which unfortunately can make the initial planning stages or even the thought of having a destination wedding in Hawaii seem too overwhelming," she adds. "That is not the case! Entrust in the professionals who know their industry and will point you in all the right directions."
Have Fun Registering
When it comes to your registry, you shouldn't feel limited. "The possibilities are endless, so if you already have your kitchen stocked or have no desire for formal china and silver, register for items you will actually use and appreciate," says Nashville wedding planner Sara Fried of Fête Nashville. "Guests are going to spend money on a gift, and they want to give something that will help you start your new lives together."
Leah Weinberg of Color Pop Events best advice for combating stress? Stay organized! "Keep a list of all of your to-dos and make a game plan for tackling them," she advises. "And if your budget allows, hire a wedding planner. A wedding planner will make the process as stress free as possible."
Determine Your Guest List Early
Your wedding guest list will influence every other big-day decision, so it's best to decide who you want to invite early on. "After the excitement of getting engaged starts to settle, have a serious discussion with your fiancé about what size wedding you'd like to have. Do you want to celebrate with absolutely everybody, or would you rather have an intimate gathering of close family and friends? It's important to get a pulse on how the two of you as a couple feel about this before getting too far into the guest list creation process," The team at GATHER Events suggests. "Once you're on the same page, put together a spreadsheet of guests you'd like to invite. Remember to put each guest on their own individual line! It will save you time down the road, I promise! The last step is involving family members if necessary. Make sure you find a way to convey to any involved parties how you feel about the guest count."
"You can't make everyone happy," Araceli Vizcaino-S of Azazie.com says. "Choose what reflects your taste as a couple when planning your wedding."
Trust Your Vendors
Hiring vendors you trust is one of the best things you can do for your wedding, insists Stacie and Callie McChesney of Vitae Weddings. "It's so important to hire vendors that you feel comfortable with, get along with, and trust completely to do what you hired them for," the say. "Ultimately, on your wedding day, you want to let go of all the planning and details you've spent so much time on so you can truly enjoy each and every moment of your day."
Don't Forget About Your Partner
Don't forget that this isn't just your wedding. Jaime Kostechko of Wild Heart Events suggests involving your partner in every decision. "Most brides take charge of the wedding planning, but let the groom choose his style, pick the music, and enjoy the tastings."
Why leave for tomorrow what you can do today? That's why Lindsay Quinn of NST Pictures reminds all couples not to procrastinate. "From booking room accommodations to attempting to start a crash diet that you heard Beyoncé did, handle every aspect of your wedding preparations in a timely fashion," she says. "Not only will this reduce stress for all parties involved, you just might be able to actually enjoy the big day you've been painstakingly planning for!"
Remember that Communication is Key
One of the cornerstones of a great relationship is the ability to communicate freely. And it's even more important when it comes to the engagement period and wedding planning, says Vikki Marsee of All You Need Is Love Events. "One of the things we think every engaged couple should know is about how important communication is in a relationship. Little notes and written word are something simple to let your significant other know they're loved and appreciated!"
Be Aware of Pricing
Erica Trombetti of Infinite Events says, "Do not believe everything you read about pricing for weddings. There are a lot of false price tags on how much a wedding actually costs. I would contact a local planner and start the discussion by providing items you need to have, want, and desire. This way they can give you a ballpark number of what you will be spending. Most planners offer consulting and you can start with that to see where you come in for pricing."
Pick your bridal party wisely, suggests Lisa Costin of A Charming Fete. "Is this a person you will be friends with in ten years? This all goes along with creating your guest list. The overall cost of a wedding is directly impacted by the number of guests in attendance and that cost can escalate quickly and easily get out of control. The old saying rings true: If you wouldn't invite that person into your home for dinner, do you really need to invite them to your wedding?"
Forget Tradition (If You Want to)
Ngoc Nguyen Lay of Skybox Event Products says, "Don't feel like you have to stick to your mom's traditions, societal pressure, or friend expectations. You do you! Couples are making their weddings a symbol of their new values and dreams by changing things that have long since been part of the day. For example, gifting is getting less common as more couples are waiting until their late 20s and early 30s to get wed. This means that most couples will bring the traditional housewares typically gifted already into their home. Instead, they are asking for honeymoon funds, charity donations, or sometimes nothing at all."
Hire a Photographer Early
It seems obvious, but you'll want to hire your photographer as early as possible. Andy Rodriguez Photography says, "Securing your wedding photographer is one of the most important and sometimes stressful parts of the wedding planning process. When searching for and booking your photographer, make sure you hire one that absolutely fits in with both of you. You're going to spend a lot of time with this person, so choose wisely. Budget is important, but don't let that be the only determining factor in hiring your photographer. Make sure you click with them (pun intended); it'll make a world of difference at the end of the day."
Listen to the Experts
"Whether it's your planner or venue coordinator, listen to their recommendations for vendors who do a fabulous job and have worked with your venue in the past," Valarie Falvey of Kirkbrides Wedding Planning & Design says. "This will give you a fantastic team experience."
Trust Your Instincts
Kristy Rice of Momental Designs says to "Trust your instincts. Maybe you've been considering an elopement for ages, dreaming of a lavish getaway for two with peace and quiet and even some funds left afterwards…But something happened the minute that ring was slipped on. Dreams of big ballrooms and loads of pretty décor details filled your head and before you knew it, you're pulling your hair out while planning a feast for 200. When choosing the big directions for your day, remember to trust your instincts and follow them where they lead. You'll never be disappointed."
Don't forget to really soak in every engaged moment, and to enjoy the entire wedding day. Danielle Aspromatis of d'Luxe Events says, "The planning period sometimes flies by, sometimes drags along, but the day of goes by so quickly you feel like you blink and it's over! Be present. Notice all of your surroundings and the hard work you've done to make your day special. And most of all, look into your new spouse's eyes, look around at the smiling faces sharing in your joy and allow yourself to revel in every moment!" Also, Jodee Debes Photography says to make sure to take time for one another and celebrate. "Planning a wedding can be stressful so it's important to make sure you enjoy every step with each other."
Get Advice from Your Photographer
Your photographer should weigh in on everything from your start time, overall timeline, and even the décor. Betsey Erickson of Essence Photography says, "Talk to your photographer before setting your ceremony time. Photographers are constantly working with light. They can help you determine the best time to exchange vows, and will help you create the perfect ambience for your day and photos."
Decide from the get-go which wedding elements are important to you. If music is your top priority, pick a live band, like Golden Coast Allstars, that will create memories for your guests to last a lifetime.
Details, Details, Details
Res assured, all of those little details do add up. Sari Mintz of ForYourParty.com says, "Make your wedding personal and let your details shine. Set your theme and deliver down to the details. It doesn't always need a huge show to make the day memorable."