WOOT! YOU’RE GETTING MARRIED!
We are thrilled for you and ready to get you started on your wedding planning journey! Buckle up, because things are gonna start moving quickly! I like to refer to wedding planning as a lot of “hurry up and wait”! You’re gonna scramble a bunch at first, then – promise – you’re gonna get some serious chill-out time with your finance! And then, as it starts getting close, you’re back to the races! For now, let’s just get you through the first part, ok?
After you catch your breath and let it soak in that YOU’RE ENGAGED (insert squeal), you’re going to want to get started on these nine things right away! Ready??
1. UM…TELL EVERYONE – OF COURSE!
First, call your parents! Don’t let your family find out on Instagram! They literally changed your diapers; you owe them a call! Or, better yet, drive yourselves over there and pop some champagne with them! They will be so happy you took the time to let them know before updating your Facebook status. After family, you might want to make a list of everyone who needs to know before the Internet does to avoid any hurt feelings. And then…call, text, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and most importantly…Submit your engagement to GrandRapidsBride.com! You’re getting married damn it! Who doesn’t want to know this???
2. START DREAMING!!
Before we start getting technical, what does your dream wedding look like? Is it local or a destination? What kind of dress are you wearing? Is it outdoors? Do you have a band or a DJ? There’s a lot of questions you should answer before you jump right in on your Wedding Checklist. You’ll be surprised how many questions you’re going to be asked during this time! The more answers you know upfront, the easier it’ll be on you and your finance!
3. SET YOUR BUDGET
So, I’m not gonna lie, the next two aren’t super fun. But honestly, it’s one of those things that you will be SO glad you did early on, as it will help you make some difficult decisions moving forward. Whether you and your fiancé are paying for the wedding or someone else is helping you out, it’s always important to be fiscally responsible! Store that little piece of advice away for how you guys move forward in your marriage as well (I promise you’ll thank me for that one!) See how to get started here and be sure to use our Budget Planner and knock it out!
4. CREATE YOUR GUEST LIST
After you set a wedding budget, it’s time to sit down and create your guest list. You’ll need this guest list prior to meeting with venues and caterers, as it will decide what you will be able to afford and what type of venue will work best for your final number of guests.
This process can be challenging, due to conflicting opinions on who stays on the list and who goes. Your first draft should include everyone you want to come. The second draft is where you need to start having the tough conversations about how many can come. Our advice is to be as respectful and graceful to each other as possible during this process. Someone may seem like an easy cut to you, but you may not realize how important that person’s attendance may be to your fiancé. Be open to communicate and listen to each other during this process; we promise it’ll make it go much smoother and faster. And faster is the key, because after this little task is over, it’s all about the fun stuff!
5. CHOOSE YOUR VENUE + SET A DATE
Now that you know your guest count and budget, you can start the venue search! Now is a great time to go back to #2 above; what kind of venue do you envision? Do you want a classic wedding in a ballroom? A vintage wedding in a barn? Our venue directory has a convenient filter that allows you to search local venues by what is most important to you, be it size, price, location, or something else. West Michigan has some of the most beautiful wedding venues around – from the lakeshore to downtown locations, up north to barn-style venues, West Michigan is no doubt one of the most gorgeous areas to be married!
6. HIRE A PHOTOGRAPHER + TAKE YOUR ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS
We recommend taking your engagement photos as early as possible so you can include a photo or two on your save-the-date cards! Most wedding photographers offer an engagement session as part of their wedding packages, so this makes it the perfect time to find your wedding photographer! West Michigan has so many amazing wedding photographers to choose from!
We strongly recommend you hire a professional for your wedding. I tell brides all of the time that the ONLY thing you will have after your wedding is your wedding photos. You are about to spend a LOT of time and effort creating the most magical day of your lives. Please don’t cut yourself short by not capturing it all professionally. Again, you’re gonna thank me! Be sure to do your research to find the photographer that best captures your style. Whether it’s a dramatic, romantic, or funky style you’re looking for, there is a West Michigan wedding photographer that’s got you covered!
7. HIRE THE REST OF YOUR VENDORS
It’s important to select your dream team of wedding vendors early as many of the best professionals start booking up early! Ready to find the perfect florist, videographer, cake + dessert provider, band or DJ, caterer, salon, rental company, invitations provider, and jeweler? You’ve come to the right place! Go!
8. FIND YOUR DREAM DRESS
Alright. Isn’t this the part you’re most excited about? This is when it’s really gonna hit you. For me, it was the moment they put the veil on my head. I just started crying. I actually looked like a bride for the first time. It was this strange, magical feeling. I can’t wait for you to feel it!
We recommend you get started on your dress shopping at least nine months before your wedding. Most dressmakers require 6-9 months to get your dress made and shipped to you. So staying conservative around the 9-month mark will help you avoid delays or setbacks. If you don’t have 9 months, don’t worry. Many of our amazing Michigan bridal salons offer rush delivery or even off-the-rack options for dresses!
9. STAY ORGANIZED AND ON TASK
Use our Wedding Checklist to stay focused and on track with your wedding timeline. Take breaks when you need to. Remember that this is supposed to be fun! You’ve been waiting for this your whole life so take deep breaths and enjoy it!