Congratulations, you’re engaged!! Now what? -- 5 steps to help get you started

The day you’ve been dreaming about has finally arrived.  With a smile on your face and a ring on your finger, you’ll soon be marrying the love of your life.  From here on out, the wedding planning journey is completely up to you.  Here is some advice to help you prepare for and enjoy the task that lies ahead.

  • Celebrate being engaged!  Contrary to what some people think, you don't have to choose your wedding date right away.  Instead, you can take some time to relish the excitement of wearing your ring and being a newly engaged couple.  Seriously, don’t feel as if you need to make a beeline to the dress or flower shop!  Relax and try to enjoy your new Facebook status for awhile….

  • Your wedding vision.  Okay, so even though you don’t need to be settling on important details right out of the gate, it’s important to have an overall vision for your wedding day.  Start by talking to your significant other and actively solicit his/her thoughts.  At this point, it’s important to be imaginative and to see if both of you have similar ideas of how your ceremony and reception should look. Do you picture yourself having an elegant hotel wedding, or are you thinking that a winery would be the perfect spot?  Think of other weddings that you’ve attended and consider which things you’ve enjoyed and which aspects of the event you would have changed.  Oh, and here’s the biggest misconception: guys don’t care!  The truth is that they do!  When asked about their wedding, many guys will respond with the proverbial, “I’m just along for the ride,” or “whatever makes her happy….”  But dig a little deeper, and it’s clear that almost every guy has an opinion and preferences, and these should never be discounted. The key here is taking into consideration both visions and, if different, trying to blend them into one.  

  • Money matters. I need to preface this section by stating my belief that a couple can plan and execute a very nice, memorable, and enjoyable wedding on even a sparse budget. In today’s day and age, however, many couples are seeking to create events that demand a significant financial investment. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with dedicating resources toward what is supposed to be one of the biggest days of your life, as long as you are living within your means.


With that said, some couples may be surprised to learn that the average Saturday evening wedding in the United States runs about 35K with a guest list from 100-120 people.  Incidentally, these figures largely track the average for weddings in the Northern Virginia and DC Metro area.  Given the financial commitment necessary to plan a wedding, it is best to have the money talk up front and discuss possible financial help from your parents, if that is an option.  Having a ball-park number for your wedding budget will help you project what you can afford (or can’t).  Also, by being flexible on certain factors – such as the date/season of your wedding, the number of guests, dining and food options, etc. – you can plan a less costly, but by no means less memorable, wedding.

  • Finding balance and quality time for each other. Something I see very often with engaged couples is that once the wedding planning begins in earnest, practically every conversation becomes a defacto planning session. My advice is try to avoid wedding planning overload! Give yourselves a break and have conversations and do activities that have nothing to do with your nuptials! Your big day is just the beginning of a lifetime together, not the end!

  • Decide if you need a wedding planner. As a professional planner, I am admittedly biased, but nevertheless recognize that people make decisions based on their own needs, goals, and resources. My advice is that before you make a decision, talk with your married friends about their experiences. If you’re the first of your group to tie the knot, then rely on other resources, including the internet. My latest favorite online tool is Aisle Planner, a great online resource to plan, be super organized and get inspiration from other brides. Try it free for 30 days and tell me how you like it!

I’ll let you know up front that so much of the initial leg work that you would do on your own (in all of your “free time”) has already been done by a professional wedding planner, so please factor this into your decision-making. Also, if you are considering having a family member or close friend serve as your planner and/or day-of coordinator, just remember that it is often extremely difficult for that person to enjoy your wedding day because of the commitments and responsibilities that must be met in the lead up to and throughout the event.

Best of luck and enjoy the ride to your wedding day. Please do not hesitate to give me a call to set up a free consultation.

Happy planning!


BodaMaestra: Creative Wedding Planning in the Latin Tradition

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Comment by Novia En Perla on January 7, 2015 at 8:04am

Wow, great article! Brings back memories of all the planning I did to help my sister with her wedding day!

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