First congratulations! The days, weeks, and months that follow your engagement are truly some of the best days of your life!
You’ve just said yes to spending the rest of your life with your best friend. There will be many milestones to celebrate over the next few days, months, and years. My hope for you is that before you dive into the planning process that you are able to be present in the joy of your engagement.
Because this is a finite season. Meaning, this season of life has a beginning (the day you said yes!) and a definitive end (your wedding day!). And if I am going to be honest, it flies by! You deserve to celebrate the notion that you’ve got a truly beautiful life to build together from this day forward.
Step One: Discuss The Overall Experience You Desire To Create
And once you’ve had that celebratory dinner and chatted about the life you will create, I’d like to encourage you to read this post before you dive into logistical planning. Many couples skip the steps outlined there but the work you do to dream about the overall experience you want for your guests and you as the couple will help to establish a critical foundation.
Step Two: Three Important Decisions To Make Before You Book Anything
You are now ready to dive into the planning process – with an enhanced awareness of the experience you desire to create.
But maybe you feel uncertain as to where you should start the actual planning process itself? After all, a quick search on “how to plan a wedding” leads to post after post after post of checklists that can feel miles long.
You are different. With an appreciation the landscape ahead of you and an understanding that it’s a process that takes time, you value your time and you future investments. And you dream of an event that represents the overall experience you desire for you and your guests.
Let’s do just that! By setting your event planning up for success with three simple and quick steps.
Decision 1: Your Max Guest List
First, I want you to take some time to discuss your guest list. And not just an estimate of the number – I want you to spend some time creating and discussing with your fiance and your families what friends, family, and co-workers should be included on your guest list.
Ultimately, it will be most helpful to spend time writing out a list and asking your families to do the same. Then taking those lists and combining them to determine your max. anticipatory guest count – this number that will be most helpful to you early in the event planning process.
Knowing this number will help inform:
- What venues will be able to accommodate your guests comfortably
- What venues will fit in your budget
Ultimately saving you time and money when you start the venue research process.
Looking for guidance to get you started on building your guest list – using a tried and true test to help you determine who to include and a few other etiquette guides to help narrow your list, be sure to grab our FREE GUIDE with these helpful tips based on years of experience.
Decision 2: Your Budget
Second, you will want to take time to determine your overall and category specific budgets. These will be incredibly important to help guide your decision making as you move through the planning process.
A budget is as simple as this – permission. Because you have taken the time to determine who will be contributing, the amount that will be contributed, what your priorities are for specific categories, and how you will allocate your overall budget to the various planning categories – you have set your planning up for success.
Again – an estimate of your overall budget or planning categories unfortunately isn’t sufficient. Missing the opportunity to take the time to create a budget can result in:
- Not having enough to plan the full event
- Have to compromise on areas of the event
Looking for guidance on what budget categories and percentages we recommend – essential pieces to help get you started with building your budget, be sure to grab our FREE GUIDE here with our industry based recommendations.
Decision 3: Identify Your Design Preferences To Build Your Vision
Finally, we’d like to encourage you to take time to think about your preferences. Things like the season you would like to be married in, the city/state/or county you’ve dreamed of saying I do, the experience you desire for your guests and the venue you styles you love.
Spending time discussing important preferences in regards to what is most meaningful to you, what functions well for the full weekend, the aesthetics you love, and the experience you desire form the pillars of the downstream design work you will do in the months ahead.
While most couples think that a Pinterest board will help them create the wedding of their dreams – there is much work that exists outside of Pinterest when it comes to your overall event design. Like the importance of cohesion, the importance of using the strengths of your venue to enhance your design, and how to stretch the impact of your design concept to get the most value and usage.
Looking for guidance on how the design process differs from the logistics – and how you can use an understanding of your vision to create a once in a lifetime event experience, be sure to grab our FREE GUIDE here and get started with honing in on these key details quickly.
These three decisions are part of the foundational work we do in the first phase of our six phased approach to event planning. They are the critical building blocks that guide all the downstream decisions.
For example – your guest list informs your floor plan which informs your linen count, floral budget, and rental budget. Having a good understanding of your guest count will help you plan for the planning decisions that are coming.
And that is just one quick example. Truthfully the impact of your knowing your budget, your guest count, and your starting preferences extends deep into your planning experience. Devoting time to determine these starting points will help support each event planning touch point.
By Danielle Soucier-Ernst
Looking for more event planning guidance? Eager to streamline your event planning process, Saving you time, uncertainty, and money?
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