I’m Engaged …. now what?

engaged

Recently engaged?  Congratulations!

Already overwhelmed with the infinite number of options available to you from venues to photographers to DJ’s and bands to florists to everything else?   You are not alone.

First and foremost, take a deep breath and enjoy this special time in your life.  Remember that it’s the celebration of love that brought you here and try your best to not take on too much too soon.   This, however, is not to say that you shouldn’t get to work on your initial decisions if you would like to marry within the next 16 months.  Here’s our best advice and some helpful guidance as you navigate your way through the first few weeks (or months) of being newly engaged.

Venue, Venue, Venue … we speak with hundreds of couples each year and the absolute worst time of the planning process for them is before they select their venue.  Why?  Because the venue marks one of the most important and determining factors when planning the wedding.   Once you have decided and committed to the very important first decision – selected your venue –  you will undoubtedly feel a sense of relief and enjoy that “ahhhh” moment because along with your venue choice, you have also committed to a wedding date, time of year, and location where the majority of your wedding weekend will take place!  Whew!    After this, it gets much easier!

After deciding on your venue, it’s best to take a bit of time to research photographers whose work appeals to you.  While many venues offer a listing of “preferred” vendors, this doesn’t mean they may be the right fit for you.  Don’t be afraid if the photographer you select has not worked at your wedding venue before.  It’s their job to scout the location and familiarize themselves with the property prior to your wedding to make sure they will be well prepared!  It’s much more important to focus on selecting a photographer with whom you connect, with whom you have a good “fit” personality wise because you will spend a great deal of your private moments on wedding day with this vendor.  Don’t be afraid to ask the experts and trust your wedding planner’s advice on vendors.  They are looking out for your best interest on all counts!

After the photography decision, you want to book your entertainment for your reception as soon as possible in order to have the most options from which to choose.

DJ or Band?  DJ’s can certainly play a wide variety of music, and it’s music that YOU choose … any reputable DJ company will provide you with a “play” list and (more importantly) a “do not play” list so that the music played at your wedding is uniquely suited to you and your guests.  It is the DJ’s job to read the audience and play music accordingly to keep everyone dancing!

While DJ’s can be versatile and certainly more cost-effective than bands, many couples opt to have live entertainment for their reception.  BE SURE to consult with an industry professional before retaining your wedding band, as costs can vary from $4,000 to upwards of $15,000 so make sure you know exactly what you will be getting for your money and review all contracts thoroughly before signing.

Now that you have secured your venue, photographer and entertainment, you can take a breather before considering all of your options for the remaining vendors such as hair and makeup, ceremony music, officiate, caterer and/or dessert vendor, stationer, lodging and transportation.   It is best to make these decisions with the help of your wedding planner.  With so many choices ahead and to maximize your budget, it’s no longer considered a luxury to have a wedding planner on your team.   Having an educated, experienced planning team on your side will benefit you and your family enormously in countless ways, including staying within budget and explaining the differences and choices available to you on all decisions.  Make sure to ask all of the right questions when you interview wedding planners and designers so that you can select the team that is just right for you, as you will work together with this team closer than you will with any other vendor.

Stay tuned for our next blog post about how to decide on the best wedding planner for you!