To-Do List: Priorities Are A Bride’s Best Friend
What’s the date where’s the ceremony where’s the reception what do you want your dress to look like who are your bridesmaids who are your groomsmen are the kids invited how about your second cousin once removed are you going to have a buffet dinner ooh what about an open bar what kind of cake do you have who’s your DJ how much are you spending what do your invitations look like why is your eye twitching like that?
The questions seem to pour in immediately. Friends and family seem to have this immediate reaction to an engagement that you’ve had it planned this whole time and were just waiting to tell them. It can get pretty annoying, but try to remember that they’re only asking questions because they’re happy for you and want to feel like they’re a part of this special time in your life.
At the very least try to refrain from hitting them upside the head.
All of the questions do however point to one very inconvenient truth about weddings: they require a LOT of planning and a LOT of decision-making.
Indecisive people of the world, I feel your pain.
When you’re ready to dive into the grand adventure that is wedding planning, there is one very important detail you and your fiancé need to discuss before anything else can happen: when do you want the wedding to be? Now I don’t mean pull out a calendar and pick a date necessarily, but get an idea of what month(s) or season(s) your ideal wedding time is (or even a list of what you don’t want). Maybe you’re autumn people, maybe you’re a “winter wonderland” kind of couple, or maybe there are some dates that have special significance to you two. Whatever the case may be, try to decide on an approximate time of year to focus the first couple steps on. The time of year you plan on getting married will greatly affect all aspects of the wedding and will give your planning timeline a more definite shape (after all, it’s hard to know when you need to have things done by if you don’t know what your deadline is!).
Like I said in my last post, Tim and I knew from the start we were summer people, so we knew we were looking at something between May and September. Unfortunately for us, summer is prime wedding season. Most vendors charge the most during these few months, and are willing to work out lower rates during the winter. If budget is a legitimate concern for you, it may be worth looking into a “less popular” month like November – February and testing the waters with vendors to see what kinds of discount you may be able to get.
The other downside to summer weddings being so popular is that venues book up quickly, so choosing something in this season means you have to really get cracking on choosing ceremony and reception sites. Sites can book up a year or more in advance for the summer months. There’s less competition for sites in the winter, so you may have more choices open to you.
After you’ve chosen an approximate time of year, it’s time to start prioritizing. You can use this as a starting point (I left some blank spots for you to fill in your own; after you fill it in, you can click the “Priority” heading to make it sort the list by number to see where you stand). Decide which aspects of the wedding are most important to you, and what parts you’re willing to compromise on or give up in favor of those at the top of your list. This will do 2 things: tell you where to spend most of your time and tell you where to spend most of your money. You and your fiancé should make these priority lists separately, and then come together to discuss them. Some things sound silly to have to consider, and it may be hard to pick between other aspects. It’s okay, it happens! Be ready to make compromises. After all, the day is not just about you!
You don’t have to have a definite priority list at this point. The whole goal is to know where each of you stand going into the process, and if you don’t completely agree for now, that’s okay too! This is your heads up for what issues you might have as you approach each detail of the wedding and tells you what to keep in mind before you make decisions. Remember, each decision will affect all the others in some way, so before you decide you can splurge on the nice invitations, remember that it can affect things like what food you serve to your guests.
If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! Your prep is pretty much done. Now you get to worry about the fun part: where do you start?!