Congratulations! You’re engaged! Now comes the tough part – planning. Once you start ‘planning,’ it’s tough to know where exactly to begin. Do you need a theme? What does everything cost? Who do you invite? Where do you start? We’re here to help you get focused and take the first few steps to planning. For a solid foundation, you need a guest list, a budget and a desired location for the wedding.
Set the guest list
It may be tough to pinpoint it down completely, but you’ll want to get an overall guest count because that will drive most of your budget estimates. It will also guide where the wedding can take place due to the capacity at some of your favorite venues. When creating your list, know the cost per guest is typically at least $150. To make the guest list, we recommend a few options.
Option One: Set an overall number and then create a list that builds to it. For example, you may know you want a 200 person wedding.
Option Two: Create lists individually, which includes the key parties being you, your newly minted fiancé and both sets of parents. If you decide to go this route, know that party size tends to spiral to large quantities quickly.
Option Three: Take a joint approach where you set a rule for what constitutes a guest at your wedding. For example, anyone you / your fiancé / your parents speak to every two weeks.
Create a budget
Quite frankly, this is one of the toughest parts of the wedding planning process and can be super overwhelming. We highly recommend you and your fiancé decide 3 areas of the wedding you are jointly passionate about. For example, music, food and flowers. Commit to only splurging on those three areas – this will help you from going over budget later.
Next, set the dollar amounts for each big bucket: Ceremony, Reception, Attire, Flowers, etc. etc. We’re a big fan of The Knot’s budgeting calculator to get started. If you type in your overall budget amount at the top, it will auto populate dollar amounts for you below. From there, you can adjust up and down based on your top 3 ‘splurge’ buckets. Once you start planning in these buckets, you can create a more detailed budget tracker.
Pick a destination
Decide on a location or a few locations where you and your fiancé want the wedding and start researching. Locking down the ceremony & reception venue quickly is key to getting a date and being able to plan anything else. Until you have a ceremony & reception venue, you cannot book any other vendors. Booking a venue within the first two months of your engagement is ideal. Congratulations on getting started, and as you start to look for vendors, reach out to your matchmaking friends at Girl Meets Party. We’re happy to find the perfect vendor for you starting at $99.