So you just got engaged, now what?
No matter how big or small your dream wedding is, there will always be some level of planning involved in making it come to life. Unless there is some magic spell that can be casted, it's rare that you will be able to wake up on your wedding day without any prior energy, time and money involved. So let's break it down for you and share my top 15 planning wedding tips for your wedding in Toledo. Or wherever you plan on getting married:)
1.) Set a time frame for your wedding
"So when is your wedding?", it's literally the first question asked by all of your family right after congratulating you on the engagement. I know this all too well, my finance & I chose to have a longer than average engagement of two years before getting married. It's important that you use this time to establish a range of possible dates for when to hold your wedding on. I recommend you identify what season you desire first and then proceed to figure out at least 3 possible dates. Selecting a date will be determined based on your preferred venue availability & other conflicting events. The sooner you have an ideal date, the sooner you can start booking your preferred vendors before they get booked by someone else.
2.) Create a list of your top priorities
We do this when selecting a college to attend, accepted job offers, places where we choose to live and accommodations when we travel. Your wedding is no different, and it's super important to identify what these priorities are before you start your planning. Assuming you and your partner are equally or to some degree both involved in the planning & curation of your wedding, I recommend spending an evening writing down exactly what your dream wedding looks like & sharing those together moving forward. By doing so, you will have an opportunity to establish your priority list and something valuable to refer back to as you move forward.
3.) Selecting a venue
Ok, Bear with me. This tends to be one of the most difficult parts of the process when planning a wedding but it's considered one of the most important things, so don't worry if it's taking some time to decide. That's why it's important to start your search early. Some things to avoid when finding a wedding venue. Do not start by searching 'Toledo Wedding Venues'. First, you want to identify what kind of venue you need and what you want it to offer to you. There are several dozen popular venues in any given city so picking the one right for you is super important. So how do you know what one is best for you? These are some questions you should ask yourself.
- Do I want a big wedding or small wedding? (Guest count)
- Do I want an Indoor wedding or outdoor?
- What is my desired style (Modern, classic, rustic, Fancy, Casual, etc.)?
After answering these questions, your are more prepared to hop on google & start discovering your dream venue. I will be creating a blog that goes more in depth about selecting the venue right for you but for now, my biggest piece of advice is that you schedule a tour with at least 3 possible venues and come prepared with questions/ your dream wedding outline to share with said venue. The venue will be a pivotal vendor in your wedding journey.
4.) Setting a budget
No one likes to talk about money, let's face it. And no one wants to be held up planning their wedding by a dollar amount. But it exists and I believe it's important to discuss. Everyone's budget is going to be different. Some are prepared and have saved an entire years salary for the celebration of their wedding while others may be spending a very small percentage on their wedding. Regardless of where you fall in that, it's most important to identify early on the maximum dollar amount you're willing/ comfortably able to contribute to your wedding. Knowing your budget will help you break down how much you have to spend on each addition to your wedding and make you more confident when overseeing quotes from your list of vendors. Taking a look at your priority list will help you decide where to use your budget. Example, if wedding photography is your top priority, it's ok to dedicate a larger portion of your budget to this.
5.) Organize it
Planning a wedding isn't like putting away the dishes or folding your clothes for the 8th time this month. Planning your wedding will involve planning by which you've never experienced before. This means an extra level of organization will be crucial if you plan to live stress free through the experience. I recommend storing documents and planning resources in the cloud, I personally use free Google Docs as my method & the great part about using this is that you can share everything digitally with your partner or helpful family members. I would suggest making a master checklist of things that need tended to during the process, I personally use my notes app in my phone with the checklist option.
6.) Establishing a firm but flexible guest list
As I mentioned above, identifying the guest count is super important when choosing a venue but it's also important when deciding your food options at your wedding. More plates = higher costs & maybe that's ok because the food is most important to you but the truth is food adds up quick and no one deserves to go broke over a single meal. Keep this is mind when building out your guest list. I recommend going through family address books, Facebook friends list and any other collective resource where you'll easily find the names of possible guests for your wedding. Also, be prepared to add additional guests if necessary & keep it flexible if possible as some relationships change over the course of your wedding planning.
7.) Register prior to your engagement party, showers, etc.
So gift giving is usually a thing at wedding and celebratory moments in life. It's ok to form a registry & I recommend it if you don't want to be stuck with gifts that serve no benefit to you. Plus, it eases the pressure and stress from your possible gift givers when deciding what to get you. This is why you should create one prior to your wedding festivities, it's possible that your guests may give you gifts at one or all of the occasions so prepping them is helpful. I recommend to keep this registry word of mouth based and or listed on your wedding website/ or website event page.
8.) You might just need it, insure your wedding ring
Ok - So I haven't done this nor will I probably do it at all. But that doesn't mean it's not a good idea for you and still doesn't mean it's not for me. Partners have been known to lose their rings & or experienced theft. I don't want that to be you stressing over the additional expense of a new ring. I recommend discussing insurance with your current home policy.
9.) Choosing the wedding party
Are you like me, don't have many super close friends or are you the social butterfly that places huge value on larger friend gatherings, etc. Regardless, selecting your wedding party can come with it's obvious challenges. What even is a wedding party? A wedding party is a group of people who will be your honorable guests at your wedding. You have your Bridesmaids and Groomsmen, these two sides will collectively be involved in your wedding ceremony & traditionally sit with you during your reception. Without getting into extreme details/ nuances of your wedding party. Let's first focus on keeping this group informed and aware of their roles at your wedding. Be sure to let them know early on what your expectations of them are both monetarily & time wise regarding your wedding.
10.) Consider a wedding planner or coordinator
The toughest part is doing. Let's assume we all have a vision for our big day, we can see what it looks like and imagine the flow but we really don't know how to execute it. This is perfectly understandable, you aren't going to be a pro before never planning a wedding. Your wedding planner could be a backbone to the success of your wedding, and choosing the right one is super important. These planners can help you plan an engagement party, select each of your wedding vendors & give you a blueprint of your wedding day events. They are the gatekeeper to the endless possibilities of what your wedding could be. A simple Google search for Toledo Wedding planner will give you several great options to choose from!
11.) Book the venue & set your date ASAP
We don't recommend rushing the process, but I also don't want you to miss out on your desired location and date. I have seen many couples reschedule their wedding date because they couldn't pull the trigger on a venue or pick a date that they were confident about. The truth is, you have to be decisive. The signing of your wedding venue contract not only locks in your venue, but it effectively locks in your wedding date.
12.) Hire the priority
We discussed earlier the importance of identifying what & who is most important on your wedding day. Now you need to go & hire said help. The best practice is fast acting. Just as your wedding venue starts to book up, so do your other vendors. Don't be afraid to reach out early. By reaching out early:
- Get their current rates
- Be informed on their offerings
- Save up more money if needed
- Call on them for advice when planning
13.) Shop wedding dresses
Infamously one of the most enjoyable yet stressful parts about planning a wedding. We recommend you start your search online prior to setting up appointments in person. This allows you to get an idea of desired style and gives you an opportunity to become versed in dress lingo. Once you feel like you have a grip on dresses, contact your favorite local shops & start the search. Going close to home is a great place to start if you'd like to get acquainted with some of the possibilities before looking outside your city or state.
Time is a critical piece when dress shopping. Alterations, sourcing and general labor conflicts can all have an impact on your timeline. The same applies for custom suits.
14.) Don't plan
Take time to relax from the wedding planning when you feel it's necessary. You're planning a wedding, not stopping global terrorism. Or maybe you are in fact doing both, in that case, you got me. What I mean is taking time away from planning is important. If you follow my tips above, you will have time in the process ton take breaks and continue enjoying your engagement together.
15.) Publish your engagement story
Often overlooked and forgotten is sharing your engagement story. No, this is not something you need to share publicly online and or with anyone else. But it's not something you're not going to want to forget, so document it. If you took photos of your engagement, print them out, create a photo album, etc. Go & buy a journal and write out the experience exactly how you remember it. After time, these memories fade & why let them? If you would like to share this story online, consider writing a blog post & or creating a video slideshow of you & your partner.
Regardless of what you do, do it because you had you and your partners interests first in mind. This is your wedding and no one deserves the right to take that away from you.