Guest blogger, Valerie Gower of The Occasion Sensation, gives us some advice on first steps to take once you’ve said “YES!”
Top 10 Things to Do After You Say “YES”
Congratulations! You’re Engaged to be married! You’re now heading into a fun and fabulous time as you start to plan your Wedding Day.
But, what should you do first? Who should you tell first? What order should you start planning your big day? There’s no hard and fast rules to what you have to do, or how soon you do it, but here are 10 suggestions which may help you:
1. Tell Your Parents
Yes, you want to shout your wonderful news from the highest rooftops, but your parents deserve to know first – and in person (not a quick text). There’ll be lots of time to tell the rest of your family, friends, co-workers, neighbours and everyone else. It’s a sign of love and respect from you and your fiancé to meet with both Moms & Dads and share your happy news. And, they just might want to throw an Engagement Party for you, which will be the start of all your wedding celebrations!
2. Hire a Wedding Planner
Why are Wedding Planners so very important for your big day? Because planners have a enormous supply of amazing resources, and access to vendors, deals and equipment that most brides would not even think of. We’ll come with you to your appointments to help you get the best bang for your buck with the photographer, DJ, limo company, and other vendors. Not quite sure how to address your invitations? We can help with that! And we will email on your behalf, set up delivery timelines, event-flow timelines, calm your nerves and ensure you enjoy every minute of your wedding day! In the months leading up to your wedding and especially on your wedding day, your Wedding Planner will be your advisor, confidant, shoulder, BFF, and so much more! Just think of us as Wedding Insurance…you’ll be spending a lot of money to make your day perfect, so doesn’t it make sense to have someone in the background managing the day to ensure the cake has arrived, the DJ is ready to go, and everything you have purchased/hired is there and running on time?
3. Decide on a Budget
No bride or groom likes to hear the word ‘Budget’, but every wedding has one, and you have to figure out how much you can spend on your wedding day, who is most likely to contribute to your wedding fund, and how you’re going to keep track of it all. Your budget will help you determine what time of year, time of day, and number of guests you can invite. Typically, your reception will take anywhere from 40-60% of your budget, and that’s a huge chuck no matter what your budget is, but keep in mind that Sunday brunch ceremonies in March are a lot less expensive than Saturday dinner/dance receptions in August
4. Think about your Wedding Day Vision, Theme & What Season You Want For Your Big Day
Time to start thinking about what you want your wedding day to look and feel like, and what elements are the most important to you Always dreamed about a rustic, vintage wedding? Then Autumn would be a perfect season with its showcase of fall colours. Do you want an outdoor ceremony? Not a good idea in January in Mississauga – unless you want a Destination Wedding. Do you want a traditional June wedding, or a Winter Wonderland theme? Is it a tradition in your family to get married at your local church? Or do you want a small, intimate ceremony with just close friends in a totally unique spot? And what type of Reception do you want? If you’re thinking of a dinner and dance party after the vows, then you’ll need a large enough venue to hold all your guests and the entertainment. The possibilities are endless, so it’s time to chat with those contributing to your budget, and your wedding planner, to see what your options are. Deciding on your vision and theme, season & time of day will make it easier to choose your wedding date.
5. Start Compiling Your Guest List
Here come the headaches! Kidding! (sort of). Guests lists can only be as long as your budget will allow. That means being honest with yourselves, sticking to your budget, and getting the word out (especially to Moms & Dads, unless they’re contributing financially) that not everyone you have ever known will be invited. Don’t feel obligated to invite school chums you haven’t seen or heard from in over a decade, or all your Facebook friends. Even distant family doesn’t automatically qualify for an invitation. Keep it simple by inviting only those who are special and close to you, and who you want to be there to share in the joy of your wedding day. There’s always the A & B Invite List option. A’s are first up for ‘Save the Date’ and invitations, and once you start getting RSVP “No’s” from them, you send out a B list invite. If this is the only option open to you, be sure to update your invitation spreadsheet religiously. Also best to keep this info under your hat. No one likes to find out they were not originally an ‘A’.
6. Who’s in Your Bridal Party?
Now’s the time to start thinking about how many bridesmaids and groomsmen you want, and who they will be. Think about who will be your Maid of Honour, the Best Man and don’t forget the little ones for Flower Girls and Ring Bearers. If you’ve got a pretty little niece that you want for your Flower Girl, ask her parents first – you don’t want to get her all excited about wearing a pretty dress, then have her Mom say she’s too young and a very shy with people she doesn’t know – not a good combination! What age is too young? Usually, if they are over 5 years old, then they should have a grasp on what’s happening and will behave long enough to sit through your ceremony.
7. Start Searching the Internet & Pinterest, Read Wedding Blogs and Treat Yourself to a Few Bridal Magazines
The internet won’t have all the answers to your questions, but it’s a good place to start hunting for any and all wedding related elements including local florists, reception venues, limo companies and more. You can even order your shoes, favours, or just about anything else on-line And check out a few wedding blogs to get a feel for what’s hot and what’s not. There are a multitude of wedding blogs, so it may take some time to find a few that become your favourites.
Are you on Pinterest? All those lovely pictures can help you find what you want and help you create a theme for your big day. Pinning is great fun and helpful, too – creating a Vision Board from these pictures will help you decide if you really want blush pink or fuchsia for your bridesmaid’s dresses!
Bridal magazines will give you great ideas for dresses, decor, flowers, gift registry items and so much more.
When it comes to finding the perfect gift for a wedding, many people struggle to come up with something unique and memorable. However, one option that is gaining in popularity is custom bobbleheads. These fun and whimsical figurines can be customized to look like the bride and groom, complete with their wedding attire and accessories. They make a great addition to the couple’s home decor and are sure to be a conversation starter. Plus, custom bobbleheads are a fun and creative way to commemorate the special day and provide the couple with a lasting memento of their wedding. Bridal magazines often feature unique gift ideas like custom bobbleheads, making it easy for readers to find the perfect present for the happy couple.
Ripping out a few pages with your favourite dresses on to take dress shopping with you will help the salon staff, too, which brings us to #8:
8. Go Dress Shopping
It’s NEVER too early to have the fun of shopping for your wedding dress. Bridal magazines and Pinterest can’t show you every style or the latest trends, so it’s best to physically go to your local bridal salons to find your perfect gown. Call to make an appointment and take one friend or your Mom (whose honest opinion do you value the most?). Keep an eye open for sales racks & discount items, and don’t be embarrassed to tell them your dress budget – but know before you walk into the store if this budget includes tax, fittings, veil, shoes, jewellery, crinoline, etc. This is the one time you can wear that beautiful wedding gown you’ve been dreaming about since you were a little girl, so make sure it’s the one you really want. And if you’re planning to lose/gain weight before the big day, it’s a good idea to mention this to your sales assistant. She can also tell you how long it will take to order the gown, so don’t be surprised if she says it can take 6-12 months. That’s why it’s never too early to start dress shopping!
9. Visit some Venues
It’s always a good idea to eyeball in person a few venues before you decide which one you want. Meet with the Sales/Catering Manager to discuss your needs and preferences. If it’s available, ask for a tour of the room you want and ask to see photographs of weddings they’ve done in that space. Ask for references. Ask about everything that is included in their price, and if you don’t want certain items, will they reduce their price for you? Can you set up decor the night before? What is the deposit amount and their payment options?
So many questions to ask the Venue staff, and this is where taking your Wedding Planner along with you will ensure that all the right questions are asked and answered, and if the planner knows this venue and regularly sends clients to them, there could even be a nice discount coming your way!
10. Attend some Bridal Shows
Bridal Shows are a great way to see what the wedding industry in your area has to offer. Vendors of every wedding type will be there to show you and tell you about their products and services. Some will have contests you can enter – you could win a fabulous honeymoon to an exotic location! Here’s the perfect place to smell the flowers, touch the invitations & tablecloths, taste the cakes, and hear the music! Dress comfortably and take liquids (there may not be a Snack Bar there), and have a list of questions for each vendor. They may not have time to answer them all right there, but they will ask you to meet with them one-on-one to discuss your wedding, so take your calendar. And have fun! This is the time to enjoy what everyone can do for you – it’s your day!
To find out more about how a Wedding Planner can make your Wedding Day meaningful, magical and memorable, please visit our website at www.theoccasionsensation.ca or give us a call at 416 575-8970.
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