How to avoid feeling overwhelmed in the early phase of your engagement…

It’s early Jan, you’ve over indulged and (quite rightly) appropriately celebrated your recent engagement amongst the festivities. It’s back to reality and normality, and the questions start flooding in…What are your plans for your wedding? Have you set a date yet? Will Aunty Sue and next door’s Jeff be invited? Already it’s beginning to feel a little overwhelming…But don’t despair! Here are my key pointers to breeze through the sometimes overwhelming initial engagement period and to get you on the road to a thoroughly enjoyable, exciting and stress-free wedding planning process…

  1. The very first step…you’ve probably already had at least a brief discussion about the vision you have as a couple for your wedding, but now is the time to really iron out and clarify what is important to you both; any must haves, likes and dislikes etc. Ideally you’ll contact a planner, stylist or coordinator (such as my good self…shameless plug) who can help identify and collate your ideas and present a clear wedding vision to you. They’ll be able to guide you through each phase of the process and take the lead on research, enquiries, logistics, styling and planning. If you choose to go it alone in the early stages of planning, then these further tips will be extra beneficial for you…

  2. Trimming the fat…the tricky part but ultimately essential for moving forward…choosing and refining your guest list. Although you don’t need concrete numbers at this stage, by deciding on a ballpark amount from the get-go, you can systematically search for venues which can accommodate your approximate guest list. After all, you don’t want to consider a vast manor house for 250 people if you have a guest list of 50, and likewise you don’t want to waste your time enquiring with venues that specialise in intimate affairs if you plan on having a large guest list. You will always have some wiggle room with the numbers but it’s a good way to start to visualise the wedding day you desire and who will be there to make it the day you’ve always dreamed of and more. Something that will likely dictate your decisions surrounding guest list is establishing a budget in the early stages…

  3. Planning the Pennies…whether you establish your budget before or after guest list discussions is completely up to you, and one may dictate the other, so I’d advise making the decisions surrounding budget at a similar time and certainly as one of the very first things you do when embarking on the planning process. Again, many couples choose a rough figure and don’t necessarily stick to it rigidly throughout, but that tends to work more for longer engagements where there are many more months (or even years) of additional cashflow to be able to contribute further down the line. Whatever you settle on, be sure to not overstretch yourself to the point that you can’t enjoy your engagement or treat yourself every now and again. The last thing you want is to resent the wedding in the build up if it starts to become a financial strain. Although perhaps uncomfortable, it is worth establishing early days too if any family members are wanting to contribute to the wedding-though never to be expected, it can be a common occurrence for parents to allude to ‘helping out’ with wedding costs, but that generous and extremely vague offer doesn’t give you much perspective as to how much that can help you and your current budgeting. If there are any generous contributors, find out early and how much. That brief uncomfortable moment of checking will be beneficial in the long run.

  4. Don’t get lost in Pinterest…Although instagram can be just as bad! We are blessed with the resources to hand in this era of wedding planning, and while they are great tools for inspiration and ideas, try not to get buried in the millions of images online and the different contrasting elements in various weddings. No doubt you will end up with a more clouded vision of what you want as opposed to feeling more decisive and confident with the direction you are going in. Instagram, Pinterest and other resources are better if you already have a relatively clear vision and you can narrow your focus a little clearer. Be carful not to just recycle ideas from previous wedding images posted online though, inspiration is fantastic but you still want your wedding to feel unmistakably YOURS.

  5. Maintaining your identity as couple…The final element is keeping your personalities and identities present in your wedding plans throughout. Pick styles and colours that you both love, inject unique personal touches or subtle nods to anyone who may sadly no longer be with you, include your beloved pet if your fur baby is your best friend, and don’t feel like you have to follow the typical wedding script. Maybe the bride wants to deliver a speech or the groom wants 3 best men, maybe you don’t want a seating plan or you want a 3 day event not just a wedding ‘day’. Make your wedding yours, and you won’t regret a single choice.

Now go and enjoy this exciting phase and the early days of your wedding planning process…

Kim
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