You’ve just said “Yes” to a proposal of marriage – how exciting! So, what’s the next step? Here are my tips for the first # things to do when you get engaged.
(And by the way, I have another blog post on this same topic that tells you the top 12 things you should do when after getting engaged. Times change, and priorities change, and every couple and every wedding is different – so I wanted to narrow down the list and give you a fresh perspective on this topic!)
This truly is a thrilling time for both of you! You’ve committed your love and lives to each other, and you’re embarking on a journey that will be joyous and fun. But it can also be filled with nerves and stress over all the details of planning a wedding.
So, the very first thing you need to do is just take a deep breath and relax. There’s no need to rush into any decisions just yet – unless, of course, you want to get married within six months. That’s a different story for another day!
Just enjoy being engaged. You’ll be busy telling your family and friends. There may be some special dinners or celebrations planned for you. You will be the center of attention during the first few months after announcing your engagement – revel in it. Most of all – have fun!
#2: Get Ideas!
Yes, I’m going to go ahead and say it even though most wedding planners hate the thought – start looking at Pinterest to get ideas of how you want your wedding to look. Do you want a summer, beach themed wedding or a winter wonderland? Do you want to go all out and be over-the-top elegant, or do you prefer a casual atmosphere where your guests can relax and mingle freely?
Now you may be asking why planners hate Pinterest. While it’s a wonderful tool to gather ideas, the majority of what you see pinned are décor setups that require huge vendor teams to pull off. For the most part, your local planner is not going to have the staff or the ability to recreate all those fabulous Pinterest décor ideas! BUT …..
Local Rental Companies Can Help!
There are a couple of local rental and design companies that do a fantastic job of creating beautiful rooms and décor for weddings and events. You just need to be prepared and willing to pay top dollar for them to bring those visions to life.
Additionally, you can start doing some research on local wedding venues, caterers, cake bakeries, photographers, etc. This will give you a good starting point when developing your wedding budget, which by the way, is the next thing to do when you get engaged!
And … read wedding blogs! They can be a great source of information and ideas!
#3: Determine Your Wedding Budget
You might think – why isn’t selecting a date the first thing we should do? While it’s definitely one of the top 5 on this list, I believe that determining your budget is even more important. After all, if you will have less than $10,000 to spend on your entire wedding, then that will limit where the event will take place, how many guests you will invite, and really will drive how much you will spend for every aspect of the wedding. Your budget will determine if you will be renting a local lodge for under $800 or looking into a high-end venue that rents for $5,000 or more.
Dayton Area Spending Stats
Let me interject some statistics on the average spending demographics for the Dayton, Ohio area. Keep in mind that your budget is greatly affected by the total number of guests that will be attending. (And, don’t forget to include your parents, grandparents, siblings, and wedding party in your guest count – as well as yourselves and any vendors who will be on site during the event.)
It’s also important to note that the following numbers represent an average only. Some costs may be lower and others may be higher.
Source: Perfect Wedding Guide-Dayton, Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky
Average Total Spending in 2017 – based on 4,463 Weddings in the Dayton, Ohio area
Attire & Accessories
Dress Accessories: $208.00
Tuxedo/Suit Rent or Purchase: $194.00
Tuxedo Accessories: $97.00
Entertainment Lighting: $329.00
Live Band: $1,658.00
Musician(s), Soloist(s) or Ensemble: $600.00
Gifts & Favors
Gifts for Wedding Party: $100.00
Gifts for Parents: $120.00
Tips – for all services hired: $380.00
Wedding Favors: $240.00
Engagement Ring: $3,206.00
Bride’s Wedding Ring: $737.00
Groom’s Wedding Ring: $429.00
Venue, Catering & Rentals (Tables, Chairs, Linens, etc.)
Ceremony Officiant: $200.00
Event Accessories: $306.00
Event Bar Service (drinks + bartender): $2,226.00
Event Food Service (meal + servers): $4,375.00
Event Venue: $3,385.00
Limo Rental: $500.00
Other Transportation: $485.00
Rehearsal Dinner: $534.00
Hotel Room for After Reception: $295.00
Beauty & Spa
Hair Service: $70.00
Makeup Service: $150.00
Flowers & Decorations
Boutonnieres & Corsages: $320.00
Event Decorations: $500.00
Event Flowers & Arrangements: $580.00
Table Centerpieces: $300.00
Ceremony Programs: $124.00
Engagement Announcements: $106.00
Invitations & Reply Cards: $220.00
Reception Menus: $122.00
Save-the-Date Cards: $110.00
Table Name/Escort/Place Cards: $100.00
Thank You Cards: $88.00
Photography & Videography
Digital or Photo CD/DVD: $270.00
Engagement Session: $366.00
Prints and/or Enlargements: $220.00
Photo Albums or Books: $387.00
Photo Booth: $500.00
A la Carte Services: $936.00
“Day of” Coordination: $805.00
Getting Started/Partial Planning: $869.00
Month of Coordination/Wedding Management: $1,053.00
Full Planning: $2,740.00
After you have determined a basic budget, it really helps to prioritize where you want to spend the most money. In other words – what is most important to you?
Ask yourselves questions like these:
1. Is the venue more important to us than the food?
2. Is having a great party and everyone on the dance floor more important to us than the cake?
There are many more examples I could give you. But the point here is that prioritizing the various aspects of your wedding will help you not only determine how much money to allocate to each aspect, but it can help with other decisions as well – such as setting the date!
#4: Set a Date!
Selecting and agreeing on a date can sometimes be a difficult task. You may have always dreamed of a spring wedding, while your fiancé loves the fall. How do you decide?
One major driving factor will be your venue of choice. Wedding season in Dayton is typically April through October – which means that venues and most of the other vendors book those months very quickly and as much as two years out! So, if you have a specific venue that you are dreaming of, keep in mind that it may not be available!
Call your venue of choice and ask if they have your date available and, if not, then find out what dates they DO have open – even into the following year!
Note: If you choose a date that falls around a holiday, such as Labor Day, Thanksgiving or Christmas, you may want to purchase Save-the-Date cards right away and get them mailed out to your “A” list of guests so that they are aware that there will be a wedding during that holiday season!
Wait? What’s an “A” list? Here’s where you get a little bonus tip from me – when creating your guest list, always have an “A” list (the guests who are MUST HAVES at the wedding) and a “B” list (those you would like to have there but are not critical – people you haven’t seen in 10 years or more, co-workers, and co-workers/friends of your parents).
#5: Book the Venue
Now that you have set a date and prioritized where you want to spend your money, it’s time to book the venue. Most venues will require a 50% deposit, but these are also often non-refundable, so be sure you have the funds before signing the contract.
Be sure to read the entire contract and fully understand the cancellation policies. Then get that contract signed and the deposit paid – this will lock in your date so you can now start planning all the other parts of the wedding. And, you can start letting everyone know when and where your wedding will take place.
#6: Hire a Wedding Planner
Did you know that it takes the average person between 200 and 400 hours to plan their own wedding? You’ve already seen just a small part of what it takes to get everything done. You will tour venues before making the final selection.
And, you will want to call at least 3 vendors in every category and possibly even meet with each one in person! If we use the previous vendor information from Tip #3, you could have around 19 or 20 vendors that will be supplying goods and services on your wedding day. Multiply 20 x 3 vendors in each category – that’s 60 vendors that you will have to 1) research online, 2) call, and 3) possibly meet in person.
Now, let’s assume those tasks can take an average of 3 hours for each one, that’s 180 hours of your valuable time right there. And this doesn’t even include shopping for your dress, bridesmaids dresses, tuxedos, and other shopping excursions required to purchase your centerpieces or other items.
Let me reiterate — 180 hours of your valuable time!
What A Wedding Planner can do for you…
A wedding planner can cut this time almost in half (or more). Why, you may ask? Because we have spent countless hours networking with and getting to know the local vendors and venues. We are already familiar with their services and pricing. The biggest part of planning a wedding is the time spent on your computer just doing the initial research. But a planner can do all of this for you!
Furthermore, once you have narrowed down your selections for each vendor category, then you have to start calling them. But do you work during the day? So do your vendors! Which means you will have to make personal phone calls during your work hours – and that’s not always possible! But, those vendors will also not be available after 5:00 p.m. Again, these are phone calls that a wedding planner can make on your behalf!
Other Ways a Wedding Planner Can Help You
A planner can also help you right from the beginning – and be with you from the moment you said “yes” to the moment you leave your wedding reception and head off to your honeymoon! As your full-service planner, I will help you with the budgeting and prioritizing; provide you with questionnaires to determine your theme, colors and the overall feeling that you want your wedding to have; assist you with paring down that guest list; review all contracts before you sign; and so much more!
My “wedding management” services include working closely with all of the vendors you have hired (assuming you didn’t hire me from the start) to create a very detailed wedding day timeline. I will also create a floor plan so that you can assign guests to specific tables – and it helps my staff and I when setting up your decorations and centerpieces.
We will be there on the day of the wedding to not only handle the setups and tear-down of your décor, but we will also ensure that your vendors are arriving on time (and we’ll call them to make sure they do) and that they are delivering the correct goods and/or services. We will ensure that your gifts and décor items are safely packed away and sent home with a friend or family member. All of this is included in my full planning package as well.
The bottom line is … hiring a planner can be “an investment in your sanity” as a bridesmaid at one of my weddings wrote (see my Testimonials page for what other clients have said). I was also called “an angel” by one of my brides – and I will be your personal guardian angel from the moment you hire me until your day has become a reality and your vision has come true.
Be sure to hop over to my Services page to learn more about how I can help you!
“An investment in your sanity; an absolute must!”
Lori and her team were absolutely amazing. They were patient and organized on a day with lots of stress. The bride did not have to worry about a thing! Lori is an investment in your sanity and an absolute must to include in your wedding budget. The ceremony and reception hall looked gorgeous and every detail was perfect. It was so nice to not have to worry about the tear down of the reception hall. I would recommend her and her team to any bride to be!
My Commitment to You…
As always, my commitment to each and every couple and client is to help you plan your event or dream wedding ….