Something Borrowed Weddings and Events by Sierra Baxter
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Top 8 Things to do when starting the Wedding Planning Process

You’re Engaged! Now what?

1. Breathe
 This time in your life can seem overwhelming but it only happens once. Take in the moments that you can. Be present and enjoy telling your friends and family your exciting news. Your engagement can be as long or as short you want, just do whatever works best for you. There isn’t a “one size fits all” wedding, so the best advice I can give a client is to do what works best for them.
2. Insure your Ring
This really should be a priority. Please insure your ring as soon as possible. I would suggest using this article from the knot to help you through the process.
3. Talk
Sit down with your partner and discuss your thoughts and expectations for your wedding day. This conversation can be done all at once or over a long stretch of time, but all of the following points should be discussed to make sure you are both on the same page.
Please keep in mind that you don’t have to have answers for all of these questions. The overall goal of having this dialogue between you and your partner is to get all of your ideas and views out and onto the table so you have a better idea of what both of your expectations are.

    • Style: When you think about your wedding day are you in a vineyard, a barn, a ballroom, a church, or a museum?
    • Location: Inside or Outside? Is there a specific city you want to have your wedding in? Do you want it all in one location, or your ceremony in one location and the reception in another?
    • Date: What time of the year are you thinking? Does it matter the season or do you just want enough time to plan it?
    • Guest List: This is the hardest discussion and I recommend you jump in and start a list! Sit down with your partner and write down all of the people you would want to invite if money were not a factor. Include spouses and children if you think they should be invited. Now bring this list to your family! I go through this issue with almost every client. The bride and groom will deliberate and narrow down their guest list for weeks and when they finally show the final product to their parents, and then suddenly 20 new family members you have never heard of must be added to the list!
    • Budget: We will talk more about this later but discuss what the most important components of this wedding are to each of you. What are you willing to splurge on and what are you willing to save on (ie. Dj, Photographer, Videographer, Florist, Decor, and Venue)?
    • Planner: Do want a day of coordinator or full service wedding planner? There is a big difference between these two packages and it usually is directly corresponding to the personalities of the couple and how much they would like the help. I would suggest full service coordination for a couple that is afraid of being overwhelmed by the details and would love someone to be on their team every step of the way. For a couple that knows exactly what they want and looks forward to planning on of the details I suggest a day of coordination package. We will still be there as your consultant throughout the entire process but all of the hard work will be done by you. Obviously, this is a big discussion and lot more complex than these few sentences but this decision could change the path of your entire wedding planning journey.

4. Set a Timetable
The previous tip (Talking it out with your partner) should lead you to this next conversation. Set a timetable for when you would ultimately like to get married. Now work back and set yourself calendar. The average time it takes to plan a wedding is 9-12 months. You can do it in a shorter amount of time but that begins to add more stress. You can always use extra time though! I have had some clients who start planning their weddings two years out. That is completely fine too.
As a client of mine I will help guide you through your year timeline with a month by month schedule and reminders. A part of this timeline should also be how long it will take you to save up for your event. Having an idea of a budget here is a great thing but we will talk more about this later. Something Borrowed Weddings and Events by Sierra Baxter

5. Create a Budget
The average wedding cost in the United States is $26,645. Couples, on average, spend between $19,984 and $33,306. For more information check www.costofwedding.com.
In my experience, everyone spends more than they budgeted. The best way to avoid this is to stay on top of your spending and track your deposits. Also track how much money you will be expected to pay as the event grows into fruition. I recommend using a site like this one to help you get started on your budget. I would make a target budget for what you would like to spend in each category and stick to it.
As a client of SBWE we have budget templates already in place for you so this step will go a lot quicker.
Once you have done your research, picked your vendors and signed your contracts you will need to adjust your budget with the new numbers and see where you can afford to spend/save the leftover budget.
6. Research
If you haven’t done so already, start by researching, and booking a wedding planner. A good wedding planner will have personal experience with many venues and vendors. This will be one of the best resources when you are doing your research.
Along with talking to your planner, the best thing to do is ask the people you trust. Ask any friends and family that have hosted a wedding you enjoyed. You can always ask your network of social media friends but be cautious; you might be getting an overwhelming amount of responses.
 Something Borrowed Weddings and Events by Sierra Baxter
7. Pick a Venue
The best website I have found to date is “Here Comes the Guide”. There are a lot of similar websites but this has been my personal preference. “Here Comes the Guide” has a very intuitive interface that makes it easy to sort through thousands of venues.
I could write an entire blog post on how to pick a venue but for right now I will keep it short and just say go with your gut.
Something Borrowed Weddings and Events by Sierra Baxter
8. Choosing Your Vendors
Top Tips for Choosing a Vendor:
      1. Ask Planner, Friends and Family.
      2. Check out vendor reviews on multiple platforms (Yelp, The Knot, Wedding Wire, Facebook etc).
      3. Email your top choices and take note their responsiveness and tone. Are they clear and concise? Do they respond back in a timely manner? These are important characteristics that will come out on the day of the wedding. This is also where your spreadsheets will come in handy!
      4. Once you’ve narrowed down the vendors, give them a call (or talk in person for the more serious vendors) and try to get a read on their personalities. Is this what you wanted in your vendor? How’s their vibe? Do you feel a personal connection to them?
      5. Ask for a contract and make sure to read it thoroughly! This is where having a planner will come in handy. At SBWE we offer contract reviewing in all of our packages to safeguard our clients from contract loopholes or missing sectionsSomething Borrowed Weddings and Events by Sierra Baxter

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I know this is a longer blog than I usually write but with summer engagement season just around the corner I figured it would be a great time to share my expertise with you all!

What do you think? Did I miss anything? What was the first thing you did when you got engaged? I would love to hear from all of you!

-Sierra

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