Congratulations – you’re engaged! Birds are singing, the sun is shining, you have a lifetime of love with your partner to look forward to and you’re on cloud nine. It’s all just so dreamy…
Wake up, sister – you’ve got a lot of work to do! Being engaged should be fun – but in order to make your wedding fantasy a reality, you’ve got to start somewhere. Before you dive into table design and save-the-dates and and the perfect cufflinks for the groomsmen, take a deep breath, grab a glass of bubbly (hello! you just got engaged!) and think about your vision for the day.
Save the date
The very first thing you should do is save the date for November 8, 2012 (naturally!)! It’s our 5th year of Get Hitched, Give Hope’s swanky wedding charity auction, and you’ll be surrounded by the best of Seattle wedding vendors with tons of ideas and inspiration for your big day. What better way to book a photographer or buy your wedding cake than by bidding for a good cause?! (And for more information about why we do what we do, see our latest dream delivery and the heartfelt gratitude from Lorri and Steve).
Talk to your partner
You’ve probably been thinking about your wedding day since the first time you trailed a napkin from your hair as a veil, carried dandelions as a bouquet and pretended to marry your neighbor in your parents’ backyard with all your stuffed bears as witnesses. Your dream day may have changed over the years (uh, hopefully), but do you know what your partner wants? Take time to talk about the big picture stuff first, such as:
- location :: beach or church? urban or country? local or destination?
- timeframe :: when do you want to get married and why? do you have a date that’s important to you? does that date make sense seasonally? are there holiday dates or other major events that might conflict with your guests’ ability to travel to your wedding?
- who’s invited :: an intimate ceremony for family only? your collective college alumni networks? or just the two of you, with a reception following?
all of which lead to…
- budget :: who’s paying, and how much do you have to spend?
You may have looooooooved Carrie Bradshaw’s Vivienne Westwood wedding gown and head piece (we did!) in the Sex and the City movie, but what can you afford? Make no mistake – many savvy brides have seen a designer dress to die for and found another version, tailored (literally) to their budget and style, and with a little creativity you can have your perfect wedding on your budget, too. But first, ask yourself (and your partner) what aspects of the big day are most important to you. If your ideal day is a big party with an open bar for your guests, you’ll know that you need to allow a larger budget for food and beverage. Perhaps you have your heart set on a summer date, which is likely to be more expensive than fall or winter months. Make sure you’re in alignment with your partner about what matters most, and work toward building your perfect day together.
This is the fun part! Get online, grab a magazine and get together with your girlfriends for an inspiration party. Once you have the general theme of the day and time frame in mind, you can start looking for trends and ideas to complement. Some of our favorite resources:
- Seattle Metropolitan Bride & Groom :: Oh, how we love the beauty and style of this bridal mag! The Real Weddings are to die for (plus, the extensive list of Seattle vendors gives you plenty of options to get started in your search!).
- Junebug Weddings :: Junebug’s stylish featured vendors are hand-picked by the Junebug team, so you know you’re getting recommendations for only the best. We love the style blog What Junebug Loves and the planning resources divided into easy-breezy categories.
- Get Hitched, Give Hope :: That’s right, that’s us! As we’re planning our big day, you’ll see we’re adding fabulous vendors to our site who will be at our event with gorgeous goods and services for your wedding! Take a peek online to learn more about them in advance so you’ll know who to see (and who to bid on!) while you’re there.
Make a list
Stay away from the Pinterest! Well, not really (who are we kidding? we love Pinterest!) – but work on the big items first (date, venue, photographer, etc.) and fill in the little details later. You’ll make yourself (and everyone else) crazy if you’ve got your bridal party making DIY reception favors before you’ve selected a reception site. There are plenty of online resources for wedding checklists (we love this one from The Knot, and they have an app!) that will help you stay on track. And on that note…
Hire a planner
Once you’ve decided what your dream day looks, hire a professional planner. Trying to remember dates, scout venues, vet vendors and decipher contracts is a lot for a busy bride to take on. Friends and family can always pitch in where need be, but a professional planner already has the knowledge and resources to coordinate all the details – big and small – to make your day perfect.
Good luck getting started! And if you have any questions, you know where to find us…