I’m guessing you are rocking a new pretty sparkler on your left hand!  And if so, congratulations!!  So now you got the ring, you got the guy, now what?  This is such a celebratory occasion, but before you start to panic and tell everyone that they can come and tell your future brother-in-law that he can photograph the wedding.  Take a breath.  This is the time to enjoy being engaged and share your good news… because once the wedding planning starts, its hard to think about anything else!  Travel, take an art class, learn more about each other, do things that would be hard with the stress of a wedding, or even better, with kids 🙂  Wedding planning can be a bit overwhelming, so when you are ready, here are tips to help with the initial planning.There are really TWO key first steps:

1. When you are ready, the first step is to book the venue.  Do you want to get married locally?  Did you grow up in a different location than you got engaged?  Did your parents get married at a venue in your hometown?  Should you do a destination wedding?

2. Along with selecting a venue you have to come up with your wedding budget.  And unfortunately you will likely go over your initial budget because when you say ‘wedding‘ everyone charges like you are shopping on 5th Avenue in New York City.  To save money by paying whole sale prices rather than retail, see my blog Top 10 Wedding Budget Tips.

Once you have a budget established that will help to narrow some of your venue choices.  Start making appointments with on site wedding coordinators at your favorite venues.  Bring your mom, your closest friends, anyone that has an opinion that really matters to you.  Now that you have a budget, can you invite your Great Aunt Doris that you haven’t seen in years, and give all of your guests including the grooms best man a plus one; even though he doesn’t even have a girlfriend right now?  Or do you want a small wedding with only close family and friends and no plus ones?  The best thing I learned in wedding planning is that there is no ‘right‘ answer, everything can be customized to you and your wonderful family and friends and what you envision for your special day.

Your first task as a future Mrs…. is to talk with your groom about what type of venue is important to you as a couple.  Once you have your venue, their availability will determine your wedding date 🙂  And you’d be surprised, I booked my wedding only 7 months in advance.  I’d love to hear where you are in your planning!

Caitlin and fiance at dinner after getting engaged