by R. Legault
You are about to embark on two amazing adventures. The first, of course, being your life as a married couple, and the second being the exciting, yet often overwhelming process of planning a wedding. A wedding will probably be the biggest and most involved party or ritual either of you have ever put together. Before you get overwhelmed, take a deep breath, then do these 10 things.
- Enjoy being engagedKiss each other a thousand times. Stare at the engagement ring. Write down in detail the moment when you got engaged. Contemplate the wonderful things ahead of you. Take pictures of yourselves with the engagement ring. Kiss each other a thousand more times.
- Tell your loved onesYou should tell your parents of your impending nuptials before anyone else. Both of you should be present and ideally you will tell them in person – they’ll have a chance to see your happiness up close, look at the rock, and start talking about the wedding. Traditionally, the bride’s parents are told before the groom’s, but any order is fine. Then share the news with a few close family members and friends – the ones who are likely candidates for maid/matron of honour and best man, or definite attendants in some capacity.
- Purchase a journalThis will be a time of 10,000 moments you won’t want to forget, as well as some frustrating times that you’ll need to vent about, and not necessarily to your partner. The journal you keep while planning your wedding will not only help you through this time, but it will be something you cherish for the rest of your life. If you’re Internet savvy, you may also consider journaling online at a site such as Livejournal.
- Announce your engagementTell everyone the good news! There are many ways of doing this, and no way is better than another.Consider:
• Announcing your engagement in print publications. • Mailing announcements to your family and friends. • Creating a wedding website.
- Set the dateThis is one of the most important decisions you will make as you plan your wedding. Not only will it be the first question everyone will ask, but you’d be surprised how difficult it will be to make any progress on planning your wedding without knowing the date.
- Set the toneDecide if you’re having a formal wedding, a casual affair, or a theme wedding. A good way to begin is to sit down with your partner and jot down ideas about your ideal wedding. Look at the adjectives each of you write and use them as a starting point.
7. Set the budget
Start off by using a printable wedding budget worksheet. Look at your finances and figure out how much you already have in savings and how much you can save each month. Talk to each of your parents and ask them if they’d like to contribute to your wedding, and either how much they’d like to give you, or what specific things they’d like to pay for. Lastly, decide how much you feel comfortable going into debt. I strongly advise couples to avoid debt as much as possible. Since married couples fight about money more than anything else, why start marriage with debt on your backs? At this time you may consider opening a new credit card just for the wedding that will earn you airline miles, cash back, or other incentives. It’s a good way to keep track of wedding expenses, and can help pay for your honeymoon. Just try to pay it off in full each month.
8. Choose your wedding party
As your attendants do a lot more than just stand next to you on the day of the wedding, now is the time to get them involved. While some couples opt not to have any attendants at all, especially if they’re having a casual event, most choose between two and 12 members of the bridal party. Look over these lists of responsibilities for bridesmaids and groomsmen before you make your final choices. If they live nearby, it’s nice to ask someone in person, but a phone call is fine for those who live far away.
9. Start looking for venues
Many venues are booked a year in advance, so the further in advance you start looking, the more likely you are to get the time, date, and cost you’ve planned for.
10. Get support
The successful bride and groom do not plan their wedding alone – they get help! This may be from professionals, respected publications, or trusted friends who’ve planned their own weddings.
• Consider hiring a wedding consultant. If you are a busy person, or just feel a little lost, a professional can be invaluable in putting together your ideal day, and can often save you money.
• Use online checklists. They’re free, and especially helpful if you’re planning with your mother or future spouse in another province. The most important of these forms is the overall wedding checklist, which will help you stay on top of all of your important to-dos.
• If you’re like most couples,you’ll come home from the bookstore with a few thousand pounds of wedding magazines – why not throw in a wedding planning book as well? While the Internet offers many useful tools, a book is portable when you visit vendors and can accommodate the many brochures, swatches and other items you’ll be collecting. If you are budget conscious, purchase a three ring binder, and build your own planner with printouts from the Internet.
Now that you’ve made all these decisions, you have a solid foundation for your wedding! It’s now time for the fun stuff: dresses, tuxes, flowers, music, favours and more! Remember to use a checklist to help stay organized and on top of it all. W