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Congratulations! You Are Engaged!

Updated on February 12, 2013

Make Your Wedding Day Uniquely Yours!

It all comes down to  the new name!
It all comes down to the new name!

Engaged? Now What?

Once the ring is on the third finger (and sometimes way before) the bride-to-be starts visualizing what she wants for her very special day. The dress, the place, the honeymoon, the attendants, the reception, the vows, the invitations....and on and on and on. It can seem endless and somewhat overwhelming. So the best thing to do is take it one step at a time. After working with brides for about 20 years, helping to plan a wedding is almost second nature. So first things first--Get Organized!

There are several ways to accomplish this most important task: Buy a wedding planning guide book (The Professional's Guide to Wedding Planning--Kindle book on Amazon) or hire a professional wedding planner. Which ever you decide to do, the initial planning is imperative.

So here are my top ten ways to begin your wedding plan:

1. Set a budget. This needs to be realistic and based on what you and your fiance', along with your parents and his parents, are adding to the pot.

2. Pick your wedding date. Are you flexible? Will this be based on where the wedding is held? Some churches and reception halls let you reserve your spot one year in advance. Are you ready to stay up till 12:01 a.m. and put in the call to hold your church? Sometimes that is what it takes to get your ideal place.

3. Meet with the wedding planner or purchase your wedding plan guide and use the charts and ideas supplied. Time lines are especially important so you don't forget what needs to be done and when.

4. Dream a little! Have some fun! Comb through wedding magazines and pick out everything you absolutely LOVE and make a list of everything you want on your wedding day and the events surrounding it. Once you have your list, review it with your soon-to-be groom and see what he loves, hates or is non-committal. Put an estimated price by each item and calculate what the cost will be on your Wish List. Then compare it to your budget.

5. Let reality sink in. The budget is really the most important piece of your wedding day. The average wedding in America last year (2012) cost $26,500. In New York City, the most expensive place to get married, it was $65,000! What can you afford?

6. Reserve the church or venue for the wedding and reception. These are generally the most difficult to get and rarely do you have the option of waiting till the last minute.

7. Keep your budget at hand and begin to shop for bargains along the way. Be prepared to put money down on things like the reception hall, church, photographer, caterer, musicians, entertainment. It's a good idea to have a separate wedding account just for this purpose.

8. Pick your wedding attendants and his groomsmen. It's nice to be able to include them in the planning, and especially when you begin to shop for dresses. Sometimes the brides maid dresses can take up to six months to get them delivered, so once again, unless you are picking dresses off the rack, plan ahead.

9. Choose your reception venue with care. The reception is generally the most expensive part of your wedding. You probably already have some place in mind, so make the contact and find out the price. Do they allow an outside caterer? What is included? What is NOT included but added on as extras? What hidden charges will you encounter? The reception can easily be 60% to 75% of the total wedding cost.

10. It's your wedding, make it uniquely your own. It's great to listen to your BFFs when they talk about what they did, their sister did or how their favorite aunt decorated the church. But in reality, this is your day. Do what you want. Remember, there is no set way to host a wedding. You can go for simple and elegant or large and over-the-top. Make sure it is what you want and what you can afford.

So now that you have those planning ideas, get busy! We didn't even talk about the cake, invitations, flowers or photography. There is a lot to do; so have some fun and plan the wedding of your dreams!

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    • Pat Stirnkorb profile image
      Author

      Patricia Stirnkorb 4 years ago from Fairfield, OH

      Thanks for sharing! We have planned and worked with about 200 brides over the years as photographer, cake baker, florist, and planner! One thing we learned is that EVERY wedding is unique!

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      I remember my wedding. We did not have a planner. We did it ourselves. In fact, I even did our own reception video. But it was not the usual baby to adult then to meeting type of video. it was a Star Wars inspired production.

      We wanted to be unique, but still we maintained a couple of traditions. Thanks for taking me down memory lane.