Congratulations!!! You’ve just gotten engaged and are floating on top cloud nine. Wedding planning has officially made its way into your schedule, and you’re unsure where to start. As a wedding and elopement photographer, I know that newly engaged couples are many times asking the same thing- “what are we supposed to do next?”. This post lists my top 6 things to do after your engagement to help the wedding or elopement planning go smoothly.
#1. Decide on Which Type of Wedding Suits You
First, you need to answer a critical question that will set the tone for the rest of your wedding planning. What kind of celebration do you want for your big day? Are you the type who wants to have a big wedding with family, extended family, and a wide variety of friends and loved ones? Would you prefer to keep the day really intimate and focused on the two of you, and elope instead? Or do you think an intimate micro wedding with a small group of loved ones is more your pace?
If you are unsure of what kind of wedding you may want, I’ve linked a helpful guide that is beneficial in helping you get a feel for what you may want.
#2. Prioritizing your Budget
On to the next step of your wedding planning- creating a budget for your special day. Many times things can cost more than anticipated, especially surrounding weddings, if you are looking for quality. Sit down with your partner and discus which parts of your wedding/ elopement day are the most important to prioritize. Do you have a dream venue you’ve had your heart on? Or are you wanting some amazing images that really bring you right back to your wedding day, years down the road? Start reaching out to get an idea of how much the more important things to you are going to cost, and then you can see how much you’re able to allocate to other parts of your day.
Resources to help with budgeting
#3. Pick a Date & Venue
After you’ve decided on what kind of wedding you want and your budget is set in place, the next part of the wedding planning process is choosing when you’re wanting to get married. I would first recommend deciding on what season you want to get married (fall, winter, spring, or summer) based on work schedules, the weather, seasonal tourism, etc. Once you’ve narrowed that down, you can pick a date that works for you, your partner, and anyone you may have taken into consideration.
Picking a venue also goes hand-in-hand with the location you want as well. Do you want to get married near where you currently live? The hometown of you or your partner? Or maybe choose to have a destination wedding or elopement, with a honeymoon wrapped in all together, or inviting your loved ones for an epic vacation and adventure. Below are some questions and related blog posts for picking a date and venue.
– Where do we want to get married? (where we are currently living, hometowns, destination)
-Is there a specific season we want to get married in?
-What day of the week/ date can we both set aside to be the wedding date?
-Do we want to get married in a different state?
-Do we want an outdoor or indoor wedding?
-Do we want to rent a wedding venue, or are we wanting an elopement outdoors in a public location?
#4. Find the Right Photographer
I love this aspect of wedding planning- choosing a photographer that fits you and your partner! Some can overlook how important it is to find someone to capture one of the most memorable days of your lives. It can feel like another thing you need to check off of your seemingly never ending wedding planning checklist. BUT, your wedding day will be your anniversary for the rest of your lives, and the photos you receive back will help bring you right back to your day. You deserve photos and an overall experience that you absolutely love, and will really cherish for generations to come!
Another really important thing to keep in mind is that photographers are really limited in availability-there is a finite cap of weddings that we are able to photograph every month and provide the amazing service that we want to provide our couples. If you have a photographer that you’re really drawn to, reach out as soon as you can, and when possible prepare to be flexible on your date!
For more help on finding the right photographer, check out this post.
#5. Start Envisioning your Dream Wedding & Create a Plan
This is the part where your creativity comes to life, and all your dreams for your wedding planning can be visualized! The biggest asset to utilize for this part is Pinterest. Pinterest can be used to find ideas and place them into categorized inspiration boards. You can pull so many helpful tips through Pinterest: decor inspiration, dress inspiration, tricks and hacks, elopement day activity ideas. I can’t emphasize this enough, if you aren’t on Pinterest- get on it! Other helpful tools include media platforms such as Instagram, wedding websites, magazines. When creating a mood board, the earlier you start, the better- this gives more time for you to hone down on what exactly it is you want.
One big tip with Pinterest (or any other inspiration) is to use it as that-inspiration. If you try to replicate exactly the inspo you pull from, it can only lead to disappointment, since it is a copy of the original. Use it for inspo for the color palettes, overall feeling, general vision that you’re drawn to-and then personalize it and make it your own!
Tools for inspiration and mood boards
#6. Decide on Wedding Attire
The sixth and final step in wedding planning- wedding attire. Many may think that only includes the couple’s attire, but there can be more! Aspects such as the wedding party’s attire, ties, outfits for the bride and groom’s parents, hair, makeup, jewelry, shoes the list could go on. Everyone’s preference varies- do you want matching attire for your bridal party (if you decide to have one), do you want hair and makeup to be the same, and will people be wearing matching ties or bowties? Are you planning for an outfit change after the ceremony? There are so many nitty-gritty details that go into wedding planning that are easily overlooked. Planning ahead is always a really great idea to avoid any potential last minute scrambling for pieces to come in stock in your size, color, etc.
Wedding Planning Recap
I know the wedding planning process may seem lengthy, never-ending, and stressful- it doesn’t have to be! Follow this guide, and it will make the journey so much easier. To put everything into review; What do to after your engagement- 6 best tips for the wedding planning.
#1. Figure out which wedding scene suits you
#3. Pick a date and location
#4. Find the right photographer
#5. Create a mood board
#6. Decide on wedding attire