Congratulations, you’re engaged! You can’t stop smiling. You’ve been sharing the news with friends all over social media with pictures of the ring you can’t take your eyes off of. After the initial shock and elation of this momentous occasion starts to wear off, you’re suddenly struck with a realization: you have to start planning a wedding. While you may have been to a wedding or two in the past, your wedding is uniquely yours, and you may not have any idea where to start. Here are a few tips to get you going.
The very first thing you should do is figure out your budget. While this may not be the most fun aspect of the planning process, it is essential to prevent you from going deeper into debt. Sit down together, with both sets of parents, too, if they are paying, and figure out how much is being contributed. This will let you know how much you can spend.
Have you given much thought to what style of wedding you want? Whether you want something classic, rustic, vintage or modern, your style will set the tone for pretty much all of your other decisions on details and décor. Knowing now what style you want will help to make those later decisions easy to make.
A wedding planner can be a great asset to have, especially if you both have busy schedules or you are planning a huge event. A wedding planner can help you to figure out all of the details, from venues and vendors, to flowers and place settings. And, they will be able to help you stay within your budget. If you know you want to hire a wedding planner, act now, because many of the best planners are booked up to a year in advance.
You probably know which season you want to be married in. Consider everything that is going on during that time of year, from work schedules to holidays, and any other days that are particularly important to either you or your partner. It is best to have a few different dates in mind, at least two to three, just in case a desired venue isn’t available for your first choice.
Guest lists are another one of those really difficult decisions. You might want to invite everyone you know (after all, you want everyone to share in your joy), but the more people you invite, the more expensive the wedding becomes. If you are trying to stick to a specific budget, the more people you have, the less you can devote to each guest (which will be crucial for things like food). This is why knowing your estimated maximum number of guests early is important. Take heart, though, if your list is on the high side, the number tends to go down, the closer the date gets.
This is another one you want to take care of early, as reception venues are booked over a year in advance. Decide the location you want to be married, whether it’s nearby, in your hometown, or somewhere else. Then start researching venues in your chosen location. Pick a few that you like and start making phone calls to see if they have any of your chosen dates available. If so, start scheduling tours. Find out if they can accommodate your number of guests, as well as other details, like what they include in your booking. If you can envision your wedding there, and everything fits within your budget (and, of course, you like the place), go ahead and book it.
Is there a certain band or photographer that you have to have at your wedding? Perhaps there’s a caterer whose food you love, and it’s imperative that their food is served on your menu. If so, start making phone calls, and book early. Don’t risk waiting, and having your dream vendors slip out of your grasp.
Before you head out and hit up a bunch of stores, do some dress shopping online. Browse photos, read up on the latest trends, silhouettes, necklines, fabrics, and styles. Knowing what you like, and what flatters you the most, before you head out will make the process of dress shopping a lot easier, and a lot more fun.
If you are planning a wedding in Wilmington, North Carolina, the Coastline Conference and Event Center can provide you with the perfect venue for your reception. We have several rooms of different sizes, with some spaces overlooking the riverfront. And, with the Best Western Plus Inn right next to us, you can secure priority room blocks for your out of town guests. For more information, or to schedule your tour, be sure to call the Coastline Conference and Event Center today!