A Checklist for the Newbie Bride Planning a Wedding
Congratulations on your engagement! A current bride-to-be myself I know how exciting this time is, it’s amazing. You’re both full of hope and ideas and love is just in the air! This list below outlines steps that I found we needed to get done within the first few weeks of being engaged.
- Celebrate together as soon as you can. So often family or friends are present when he pops the big question. With all the excitement you can immediately get lost in the shuffle. You’re crying and taking photos and answering questions…there’s no time to just gaze into each others’ eyes until you set it aside.
- While I’m on the subject, I’d suggest setting up a steady date night if you don’t already have one set. With planning a wedding you can miss the time to just have time alone not discussing the plans so far. Do yourselves a favor and just agree to a monthly or weekly date night (things will speed up from here and before you know it you’re on your third child and fourth home together). Before you were engaged you two were dating, right? Why stop now?
- Share the news with your family and close friends. This type of news is awesome to share in person but you can call or send out announcements in the mail, too. You two can get super creative ways to share the news with everyone. You may also want to start thinking about setting up a wedding website or blog, and getting your ring selfie game up. Changing your Facebook status is great and all but there are still “real” ways of sharing the news that haven’t died out yet.
- As soon as they are done congratulating you and staring at the ring, the next question is inevitably when the wedding will be. Set a date, or at least get it narrowed down to a season or year.
- Sit down together to talk about the budget. No one wants to talk about money but the sooner the better. Ask around to see who’s helping, if applicable.
- Consider heading to the bank to get a joint account if you haven’t already done this yet. Payments are going to be made to vendors so either you two will need to split spending at each step or just get an account together. Plus, you guys are getting married now, so it might be high time anyway. Traditionally, certain things are“supposed to” be paid by certain people. The sooner those get hammered out the easier it will be to work around.
- Separate wants and needs at as soon as you start pulling ideas together.
- Pin, pin, PIN! Getting ideas and inspiration is never a bad thing and there’s really not a bad time for it. This will help you start planning things out by helping you both find a style that fits. This one goes hand in hand with #7.
- Don’t pay for anything yet.
- Did you know that the average wedding takes over two hundred hours to plan? That’s bananas. Start to narrow down a theme and an ideal location (indoor or outdoor? in town or destination?) so that you two can start to narrow down other things like that guest list!
- Go have pictures taken. If the budget allows, and if it’s something you two want, engagement photos can be a lot of fun. Find a photographer (someone you know likely knows one, if you don’t) and set up a time to snap a couple shots. You can use these when you send out your announcements but also for lots of parts of the wedding. You’ll need photos outside of the wedding venue, for the slideshow, when mom wants to share the news, and you will probably want to frame a few.
- Set up some pre-marital counseling…I know, yuck. But many wedding officiants these days will require it anyways. Besides, what bad can come from a little counsel?
- Polish up your brand new rock, get the ring re-sized if you need to, and make sure to have it insured while you’re at it.
- If you really want to get ahead you can start mapping out what you want to do each month leading up to the big day. Get a coordinator or lookup one of those nifty printable versions online you can make into a binder of your own (so you can personalize it). This is also a good time to start thinking about whether you’ll want to come out of pocket for a coordinator. Try not to buy any of those wedding planning books yet. You’ll be surprised how much free info is out there to help you, plus you’ll be gifted lots of resources and get plenty at bridal expos and events.
- Look into vendors: First should be the planner (if you’re getting one) and then next up you two need to start checking out venues! Sometimes this helps with locking down a budget too, it helps you both get a better idea of what to expect.
- Engagement party anyone? I personally didn’t think this one was necessary (and my fiancé thought even less of it) so we opted out of a party right away. That said, our wedding will also be a destination wedding, so it’ll actually be more of a weekend-long event. Taking the time to celebrate you two and the step you’re taking together is a beautiful thing so, if you/your families can afford it….go for it!
- Sign up for a bridal expo or conference to get your foot in the door and get you started. These can be a little overwhelming, so bring a friend if you can.
- Start thinking about if you want a a bridal party, and who you would like to be in it. Do you want bridesmaids/bridesmen? A ring bearer? Flower girls? A maid of honor? Will family be part of the bridal party, too? You’ve got to consider their situations as well so take your time with this one.
FUTURE HUBBY PRO TIP: Be patient and keep your end goal in mind.
While these aren’t hard requirements, I still found that these basics sort of set the tone for our engagement so far. Brainstorming helps out a lot too, and your friends and family will almost volunteer to let you bounce ideas off of them sometimes. I developed a printable download here if you want to try using this one to get started off. I left enough space for each of you to list your top choice or two, and this way you can narrow down before you actually check things off.