Congratulations! You’re engaged to be married! Hopefully, you have called your family and your best friend. Now what?
Wedding planning can be overwhelming, and it is difficult to know where to begin. Maybe you already have lots of ideas or maybe you are drawing a blank. Either way, the key is to organize your information and prioritize your tasks. Keep reading to find out what we think are the very first things you should do!
Set a budget - Ugh. Nobody likes to talk about money, especially at a time like this. We want to be romantic and talk about the moon in June and the flowers in bloom but trust us, it is best to get this conversation out of the way early! People often go in to wedding planning with very different expectations and most people have no idea what things are going to cost. Now is the time to sit down with your fiancé and any one else who might be contributing to wedding funds and get a firm idea of how much money you have to spend. This will drastically cut down on the amount of stress over the next phases of planning.
Guest list - What?! Already?! Calm down. You do not have to make the final guest list right now. But you need a pretty good idea of how many people you are inviting and the best way to do that is to start writing names down. This is a great opportunity to make sure everyone is on the same page regarding the size of the party. If you want to elope and your fiancé is planning to invite everyone they ever met, now is the time to come to an agreement on that.
Talk about a date - We don’t suggest getting anything engraved yet but think about your general time frame. Do you want a super long engagement with years to plan the wedding of your dreams? Are you more of the “Let’s get this party started” type? Have you always wanted to marry in June? Get a general idea of the time of year and how far out you want to plan the big event. It’s a good idea, however, to leave some flexibility in the date for now. You may find the perfect venue or just the right officiant and then find out that they are not available on the date you chose. And of course, the farther out that you plan, the better chance that all of your first-choice vendors will be available on the same day. Another question to think about now is what day of the week would you like to get married? Saturday is by far the most popular day for weddings. However, if you are willing to marry on a Sunday afternoon or even during the week, you can often get a steep discount AND find that your first-choice vendors have plenty of availability.
Choose a venue - Finally! The fun stuff! You will want to nail down a venue fairly early on. You don’t want to waste time looking for a bakery where you live if you wind up getting married in your hometown. There are lots of things to think about while researching venues – price, size, location, ceremony options, and of course, the overall vibe. We suggest using the internet and sites like Wedding Wire and Here Comes the Guide to narrow down your search and then visit at least a few of them before making your final decision. If its not convenient to visit in person, see if the event coordinator can make other arrangements. Here at The Lewes Room at Irish Eyes, we love using FaceTime, Skype or Zoom to introduce couples to our wedding venue.
You will also have to think a little about catering at this point. Here at The Lewes Room, we have a talented chef who will help you design a unique meal to suit your taste and budget as well as, a professional banquet staff to serve it. Other types of venues may require you to hire an outside caterer and servers. Its important to find out what the catering options are before you sign on the dotted line.
Don’t forget to ask about the alcohol policy! Liquor laws can be complex and vary by county. The Lewes Room is lucky to have a liquor license so we can provide bar service. Other venues require a vendor with a certain kind of license that allows them to make off-premise sales and still others can allow you to bring your own beverages, while some don’t allow alcohol at all.
Whether you visit virtually or in-person, consider writing down your questions first. After your first visit, you may be sure of your choice, or you may have more questions. We at The Lewes Room at Irish Eyes are always happy to answer as many emails and phone calls as it takes to for the happy couple to be certain they have chosen the right venue!
Once you take care of these important tasks, you can take a short break from planning! Pick up some #weddinginspo from Instagram and Pinterest and even wedding magazines, but don’t forget to enjoy your engagement. Next time we will talk about options for your ceremony!