So, You're Engaged! Now What?
First of all, CONGRATS! (That's us in the picture over here, popping some bubbly for you and your honey)
This is such an exciting time in your life and seriously, bask in all the love for as long as you can! I swear a smile didn't leave my face for AT LEAST a month after Justin finally proposed. Now it's time to start planning the day you've always dreamed of and I hope this post (and my other posts) help you as much as possible with that! The first two months is when I really got everything done, so i'm going to share with you the order of my planning, and what I felt was most important to do first, and what I waited to do!
First and foremost - the venue. Justin and I were pretty dead set on our venue. We had been a few times over the summer and basically planned out the whole place. I had emailed the event planner there before we were even engaged to find out some details because I didn't want our dreams to be completely crushed if it was too expensive or ended up not being what we thought. Luckily, it was in our budget, included so many things, and was everything we were looking for so literally as soon as we got engaged, we booked it! We are getting married exactly a year to the day we got engaged, and I knew I wanted to get married on that date so that's why we were already planning ahead! If you aren't sure on a date, maybe just a season, and are flexible, you may be able to find a perfect venue anywhere! Just know that venues start booking 12 months+ in advance - some are already booked out two years in busy seasons (May-October) so be sure to keep that in mind!
Second, we booked our photographers. Again, I had been stalking ours on Instagram for the whole summer and knew when we finally got engaged I wanted them! Photographers also book up really quickly so if you found an amazing one like we did, my suggestion is to book them ASAP in order to lock your date in and feel confident you'll have the best of the best. Photos are what you're going to have for the rest of your lives to remember your wedding day by, so you want them to be phenomenal. Be sure to look around, stalk some Insta's and websites, contact for pricing and budget accordingly. Very expensive doesn't always mean amazing quality, but that doesn't mean they come cheap! I'd budget anywhere from $3,000-$5,000 for an incredible wedding photographer. But be sure you love their work and don't pay a pretty penny for something that doesn't feel right. You need to be a good fit for each other because getting along with your photographer = feeling more comfortable which = amazing pictures. We got so so so so so lucky with ours and I am ecstatic to see what they'll do on our big day (click our picture to see our engagement photos!!). Also, a videographer! THey are just as important and trust me, they are worth every single penny. Like i’ve said before, Justin and I prioritized photography and videography because those are the only things we are going to have of that day that will last forever besides out memories.
Third, the DJ. You may not have to book them as quickly as we did, but I was on a roll and found someone who picked up what I was putting down. DJ's do book up quickly, but if you're working with a company, chances are the odds of them having a worker available for your wedding is better than a one man show so you can probably wait to book until you're about 10-9 months out. If you have specific requests, make sure they can accommodate that before you book them. For example, if your wedding song isn't the most popular but you're set on that being the song, make sure they can get it. You don't want to be left having to choose a song you don't love because your DJ couldn't get it. Some DJ companies also include packages for lights and photo booths so you can even kill three birds with one stone! Don't be afraid to ask and look around!
Fourth was hair and makeup. If you live in a busy city, I would suggest booking hair and makeup around the same time as your venue and photographer. You can expect to pay around $500 on just yourself for the holding deposit, a hair and makeup trial, and day of hair and makeup. Don't forget to tip, too! We opted on going to the salon to get ready that way i'd be distracted and not sitting around waiting anxiously! But if you want travelling hair and makeup, know the cost could raise by about $10-25 per service plus a certain amount per mile over a certain number of miles. This is a lot of numbers, but I wish someone had told me what to expect, so I want to include as much information as possible! Now, if you live in a smaller city, prices could be a lot cheaper than here in Nashville so keep that in mind! I always say it is better to over budget than under budget that way you're relieved and not disappointed!
Some other things you may want to do in the first 3-5 months of being engaged (about 7-12 months out from your wedding day) are your officiant, flowers, any rentals you'll need the day of, caterers if your venue doesn't provide that, same with any workers you'll need (bartenders, servers, etc). Don't forget to start picking bridesmaids, groomsmen, deciding on a color scheme, etc! Something we decided on more recently was a videographer. Our parents have been helping so much with the wedding, and my mom convinced me that I would be upset if we didn't get one. So, I asked our photographers for suggestions, and they helped us find an amazing couple available that day! Make sure you budget around the same for a videographer as you would a photographer and be sure you're getting the right package! Some videographers don't give you any raw footage or the ceremony recording, they may just give you highlights of bits and pieces and that's it! Work with your videographers and ask for the things you want and if it is possible.
This has been a long one, but I wanted to give you as much information as possible! I'll post below some websites below that I've used that have really helped me in this process! In all of this, don't forget to relax, destress and celebrate with your honey! The most important part in wedding planning is the love you two share because without it, there would be no wedding. So make sure you're still nurturing that love and doing what you can to spend time just the two of you - no wedding talk, no stress, just you and the person you want to spend your forever with.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have! You can comment here, contact me through the "contact" tab above, message me on Instagram, or find me on Facebook!
Happy engagement but most of all, congrats on your forever!