The ring is blingy, your fiancé remembered to ask your parents for blessings, and the pictures from the proposal came out with just the perfect amount of ugly crying and ecstatic smiles. And then the question remains...“now what?” We’re here to tell you how to start the process to begin counting down to the Big Day(s)!
Step 1: Get The Communication Flowing
Keeping a strong bond of communication and trust with your family is key.
You’re going to be in a partnership for the rest of your lives, and planning your wedding is like the pledge process to get into the co-ed fraternity of marriage. Keeping a strong bond of communication and trust within your relationship and with the extended planners in the family is key. Your families (and maybe your aunts, uncles, cousins, and neighbors) will likely be a part of the process. There will be many opinions, suggestions, and requests from your own family and from your new family that you may or may not always agree with. It’s important, at those times in particular, to stick together as a team and let each other know how you feel. Only then can you discuss the best way to go about the situation in communicating effectively with everyone else involved. After all, marriage is a bond between two families and of your two souls for seven lifetimes (no pressure).
Step 2: Make Lists
First, make a list of dates or time frames that could work for your schedules (e.g. seasons, months, weekends, religious dates). If you have a busy schedule and have a date in mind, that's a great start to figuring out how your weekend will flow. Next, make a list of the events you want to host, and check that list with your families because you may have missed some that they want to add in. Third, talk through approximate timings and locations (e.g. countries, cities, venues) for those events. Fourth, make a list of all of your friends and family that you would want to invite (have your parents do the same--feel free to discuss guest counts per event at this time). This is just to get you started, but lists will be your best friend during the planning process.
Step 3: Search for the Perfect Place(s)
Having answered all the difficult questions above, you now have what you need to send requests for proposal (RFP) to venues for more information. At this point, you will want to have a conversation about budget with your families. Your budget will heavily affect your venue search and ensure you’re not wasting time with places outside of your limit. If you have no idea how to budget, then continue the process of reaching out to venues and form a relative budget based on the numbers you’re getting back. Pro Tip: When reaching out to potential venues during this process, the first question should be around guest capacity. The second should cover availability for the dates/timeframes you’re looking into. The third should be about food and beverage (if applicable). You’ll have a good idea on whether or not to move forward after asking these key questions.
Step 4: Answer Important Questions
When talking to your potential venues, here are some questions to consider asking:
1) Beverage: What are the bar package options and associated costs?
2) Food: What are the options for in-house food? What are the costs and requirements for bringing in food from an external caterer?
3) Other Questions: Are there parking fees? Are there rain plan venue alternatives (especially important if you want an outdoor wedding)? What are the hotel room rates? What are all the rental fees for the venue spaces? Are there minimums to meet?
As the list of questions can get quite detailed, we will have another post diving into more important questions to ask, so stay tuned! But one thing to remember is that no question is too small, no ask is too big!
Step 5: START THE FUN!
Once you’ve found, negotiated, and signed a venue, you can finally start the fun! Finding your vendor dream team is a work in progress so start early! If you know exactly which vendors you want, your job might be a little easier! But if you’re just starting out and want to explore your options, we recommend looking into three vendors in each major category: hair and makeup, photography, videography, decor, DJ/AV, and catering. Being able to talk to different vendors, understand their work/style, pricing, and communication method will assist you in deciding who you best vibe with and want as part of your dream team! The process is stressful, but it’s a once in a lifetime thing - so don’t forget to have lots of fun!