Congratulations, You're Engaged! Now What?

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Congratulations to all you new brides out there! Being engaged is one of the most exciting times of your life. You’re in love and the whole world knows it. But now what? Keep reading for a brief outline of the planning phases of your big day.

The truth is unless you have been closely involved with the plans of your sister’s, best friend’s or any other person’s big day, you are going to be shocked by the cost of a wedding. To avoid a lot of stress, determine up front how much you can afford and how much your family can contribute. From there set an approximate budget that you will use as a guideline when interviewing and hiring vendors.

Where will it be? Do you dream of a traditional wedding in the church you grew up attending? Do you want your feet in the sand? How about a private estate in the mountains? No matter where it is held, choosing the location should be one of your first decisions.

Assembling the perfect team of experts for your day is crucial in the success of your wedding day. Remember, it is not only about style and budget, but you need to be able to trust each person in carrying out your vision. Here is a list of the vendors you may consider hiring for your day:

Wedding Planner
Ceremony Venue
Reception Venue
Ceremony Entertainment
Reception Entertainment
Lighting Company
Linen Supplier
Rental Company

In an effort to secure your preferred vendors, prioritize your interviews with the professionals that need to be present on your wedding day. For instance, your photographer will probably only be shooting one wedding per day however your stationer or linen supplier can obviously service more than one couple per any given date.

While interviewing, always ask for references, review contracts line by line and be upfront about your budget. Most vendors will customize their services to fit your needs and budget, so it is important to be honest. This will save time and frustration for all involved.

NOTE: All vendors require a non-refundable deposit to hold your wedding date or start services. Be prepared to put out close to 50% of your entire wedding day budget during the beginning of the planning process.

Once you have your team in place, start thinking about the specifics. What type of flowers will you carry? What color of linens do you want? What songs will be played during the ceremony? If you are a bride that knows exactly what you want, great! If not, spend some time researching wedding resources, gathering pictures and talking with your vendors. As a general guideline, work to have all details and decisions made no later than one month before your wedding day. This will allow you to enjoy the days leading up to your union.

No matter what, keep in perspective the true meaning of the day. A more carefree mindset will save your sanity as you try to manage diva vendors, keep your soon-to-be mother-in-law happy and remain the beautiful woman your fiancee just proposed to. Congratulations again and happy planning!

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