The festive season lends itself to beautiful proposals then a flurry of excitement as doting couples set to wed. As the pixie dust settles from a very hectic and thrilling time, the long lists of things to do can suddenly become overwhelming. Have no fear! I’m here to share tips on what you should do first and where to go from there. You can do anything if you break it into smaller steps and take it in order — here’s where to start:
Set your budget and timeline: Working with your fiancé and your families, determine your high-level budget range for the wedding and the desired season and year in which you’d like to wed. Your event team can help refine, but setting preliminary guidelines for your spend and timeline now will help tremendously.
Create the first draft of your guest list: List your “must-haves” and your “would-love-to haves” — this is not set in stone, of course, but it will drive some initial decisions such as venue size and overall budget-per-person goals.
Here are the 4 Wedding Professionals to book first:
1. Research and interview event planners
Get suggestions from friends, browse their galleries on Instagram, take a deeper review of their portfolio on PartySlate and set up meet-and-greets with your favorites right away. Good event planners will appreciate the prior planning you’ve done in regards to your budget, timeline and guest list and will help you take your planning to the next level with venue research and site visits. From there, an event planner will help you with everything from defining the overall look of your wedding to suggesting the best vendors for your style and budget. They’ll also handle tasks like sourcing hotel room blocks, figuring out transportation, and guiding you with suggestions on wedding dresses and stylists. They will oversee and tend to details involved in your wedding planning process (and certainly the wedding weekend) so you can enjoy every single moment.
2. Select a Venue
Do you imagine exchanging vows in a luxury hotel ballroom, a chic loft-like raw space, a landmark museum venue, a favorite garden or outdoor spot or at a beach destination? Look into venues with your planner and on PartySlate (where you can see event photos taken in each space) to determine your preferred styles of wedding locales. Work with your planner to make a list and check the availability of venues, then make it a priority to visit the venues quickly as they tend to book up fast — especially in peak season.
3. Choose a Photographer
After selecting a planner and a venue, research photographers. Your planner can suggest photographers based on your style and budget and you can review their work on Instagram, their website and PartySlate. Look for the style of photos that you like, their work in venues similar to yours and then absolutely set meetings with your favorites. You’ll spend your most intimate moments on your wedding weekend with your photographer, so make sure that your personalities jive and that you feel comfortable with them.
4. Determine if you’d prefer a wedding band or DJ
These will book up quickly, too, so watch videos, set meetings and start imagining the vibe of the dance floor at your celebration.
Now you can relax for a minute. There’s certainly more to do (decor and design, dress shopping and “save the dates” are up next!) but take a moment to reflect on how much you’ve accomplished and enjoy this exciting time.