You’re organizing a wedding, then. Congrats! You recently received a job offer to oversee one of the most important days in your and your partner’s lives. Breathe in deeply. Fortunately for you, this is a group project, so even if you don’t do all the work, you can still get an A (and by “A,” I mean to get married). This 12-month schedule will make it easier for you to see what needs to be done when it needs to be done, and when you’ll want to say, “Screw it, we’re eloping,” so you’ll know when to take a break and focus on your well-being.
Is he merely engaged?
When you become engaged, it feels like a firehose of wedding inspiration is turned on suddenly, but you don’t have to.
Put the brakes on now.
According to Allison Davis of Davis Row in New York, the only thing you need to do right away is your engagement ring (if a call is involved).
After the initial excitement of being engaged, unwind for around two weeks. According to Meg Keene, founder of the wedding website A Practical Wedding and author of “A Practical Wedding,” “being engaged often becomes not that joyful pretty soon if you don’t have infinite riches, a perfectly functional family, and a size-two body.” Even if it’s just spending time together while watching puppies play in a dog park, make the most of this occasion by relaxing and celebrating. Anyone who keeps asking you questions should go for a walk.
Construct a mission statement.
After your two-week break is up, you should develop a mission statement. You’ll need to determine your values to do that. Just remember that nothing at a wedding is necessary other than a ceremony and possibly some food. Everything else is optional, including the wedding outfit, bouquet toss, and cake cutting.
- Which three things are your top priorities? The cake, a mentalist, and Barack Obama, the former president, officiating?
- What basic emotional needs do you have? Would you like to include heartfelt letters from your friends? Have a religious ceremony to declare your devotion to one another and God formally? Your parents should accompany you down the aisle. Do you want your dog to attend your wedding?
Organize your meetings
Ms. Keene advises beginning the process with monthly sessions with your partner and transitioning to weekly meetings as the wedding date approaches. It’s a sizable project you’re planning, so make it a formal meeting, she advises.
The most difficult topics to discuss at your first meeting should be the budget, guest list, location, and date. You can push the cart so far ahead of the horse that the horse is chasing it if you take any action before deciding on a budget and guest list.
If disagreements arise during this meeting about the cake flavor, color scheme, or the number of long-lost acquaintances to invite, take a break and engage in one of the recommended self-care activities before meeting the following day again. Additionally, now is an excellent time to consider premarital therapy. (We’ll talk about that further later.)
the positive news is that Budgets for weddings are no longer subject to rules! According to Ms. Keene, “the custom of who pays for what is done.” You should decide how much you can afford to spend with your future spouse before discussing if you want to approach others for money. Inquire about their top three priorities and assure them that you’ll do your best to make them happen if parents or other parties opt to contribute. Although it won’t prevent eventual opinions from others, doing this will help.
Finding an estimate of the cost of wedding supplies is like learning the secret to making Coca-Cola. Pricing information may be found on websites like Wedding Wire and The Knot. Still, Ms. Davis advises contacting a local wedding planner for a consultation, which is frequently free or inexpensive (even if you don’t want to engage a planner). Leah Weinberg of Color Pop Events, a wedding planner, advises making cold calls to suppliers and asking recently wed friends for advice.
*You’ll probably think about eloping for the first time at this point. Nothing is wrong with that, either!
Making a budget is a prerequisite before making a guest list. You can determine whether to include individuals like Dave, your well-intentioned but excessively exuberant coworker, by first creating a budget. Please list the people you want to attend your wedding, then ask your families for a general list of people they would like to invite, but don’t make any commitments. You can tell your family members, “You can invite them, but it’s this much ahead,” if the whole guest list exceeds your budget. Do you need them there that much? One can contribute more money if they want Great-Aunt Millie’s summer affair to happen.
Ensure you have up-to-date home addresses once you’ve decided how many people to invite. That is, if you want to mail your invitations, a practice that is less common due to accepting digital invitations (more on that later). Every planner I spoke with praised Postable for gathering addresses, and Davis suggests utilizing Zola’s guest list tracker or a good, old-fashioned Google Doc to keep track of RSVPs.
This is the second time it would be tempting to cancel everything and say your vows in front of an Elvis impersonator. Review your mission statement, then go on as necessary.
Consider the Location
Make a vision board before making a venue reservation. Your location search will be easier if you know whether you want to exchange vows in Windsor Castle like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle or a laid-back cafe close to your flat. Instead of concentrating on “this table arrangement, this chuppah,” Ms. Davis advises using Pinterest and Instagram to get the ball rolling. To make your wedding feel more like you and less like an Instagram post, follow accounts that aren’t wedding-related and create a playlist with your favorite music and artwork. And if you feel like reading something different, consider Catalyst Wedding and “A Practical Wedding,” which are less concerned with white, heteronormative couples.
The moment you get engaged, 99 percent of people will ask, “When’s the date?!” yet now is the perfect time to choose your destination and choose a date. Don’t forget to check that potential locations meet your concept, budget, and guest count by asking them these questions.
The remaining items on the list
- Elect a wedding coordinator. Would you like one? No. However, it’s worth the price if your budget allows for one and you don’t care about details. Consider hiring a day-of or week-of planner who can take care of last-minute details and snags if you don’t mind the minutiae.
- Find a celebrant. And confirm that they are legitimately ordained.
- Set up a placeholder save-the-date page on your wedding website, and you can send this in instead of a save-the-date card. A Taylored Affair wedding planner Jennifer Taylor advises building a website using Squarespace, The Knot, Minted, or Riley & Grey.
- Your caterer and photographer should be secured. Book these suppliers nine months before your wedding, even if you’re not crazy about them. Who cares if you use your third-choice florist? Says Ms. Keene. But it’s a problem if you can’t find a caterer because they’re all booked. The little details, like your cake and florist, can be resolved later.