Editors’ note: Today, we’re welcoming wedding designer and HGTV.com contributor Michelle Edgemont to share her wedding-planning savvy in a new series we’re calling Wedding Survival Guide. Recently engaged? Read on for advice from Michelle, and from couples who have planned a wedding — and lived to tell the tale.
You’re engaged…now what? You’ve shared the news with friends and family, so now it’s time to start some serious wedding planning. It can be very overwhelming to plan what is probably the biggest party of your lives. Learn from those who’ve done it before by consulting with newlyweds. A few of my past wedding design clients have kindly shared their tips for what to do first after the proposal.
DECIDE WHAT’S IMPORTANT
Hart and Sol Photo
Liz and Tim were married in an open loft venue, Liberty Warehouse, in Brooklyn. Liz says, “Our decisions were based on what had been important to us throughout our ten year relationship. Brooklyn was where we fell in love and lived together in our first apartment.” Use her advice and make a list of anything and everything that is important to you both or had a huge impact in your relationship. This brainstorming session can help you decide what city to be married in.
CHOOSE YOUR EVENT SIZE
Our Labor of Love
In a multicultural event, Nisha and Brendan were married in a modern, Hindu ceremony. “We both really wanted an outdoor ceremony. Afterwards, we moved the party to a beautiful indoor reception space. The space perfectly accommodated our number of guests,” Nisha says. Nisha makes a great point here about guest count. The number of loved ones you invite is going to make a huge impact on your ceremony and reception venue choices. Some spaces can’t hold over 200 people, while others might have minimum guest counts on weekends that wouldn’t allow for small weddings. Knowing a rough guest count before you start your venue search is key in finding the right event space for you.
DON’T OD ON INSPIRATION
Our Labor of Love
Nisha, an Indian bride planning a colorful, whimsical wedding, loved looking at inspiration online right after she was engaged. A few months into the design process, she realized it was better to stay true to what they wanted as a couple instead of constantly looking at all of the wonderful wedding images online. I love this advice! After you get engaged, spend some time getting familiar with classic wedding decor by browsing blogs and magazines. Then, discuss what types of decor are important with your fiance. Make a list, stick to it, and cut your wedding blog browsing down to once a week in order to avoid getting overwhelmed with inspiration.
REAL TALK: TIME TO BUDGET
brklyn view photography
Ah, the budget. This step is the most uncomfortable and the most important. How much money do you have to spend? Whether you are eloping or having a 300-guest black tie affair, your wedding is going to cost at least the amount of your marriage license. Decisions cannot be made in the planning process unless you know how much money you have. Talk with your fiance and both sets of parents about the amount of cash everyone is able and willing to contribute. No one likes to talk about money. It might be awkward. Someone might get upset/angry/disappointed. But, when the conversations are over, you’ll have an amount to work with. It could be $5,000 or $50,000. Either way, you’ll know where you stand, and what you can afford.
You’ll be glad you spent the time thinking about what you really want and can afford when the process gets rolling.
So tell me: Which of these steps have you taken? What wedding questions are stumping you? I’m here to help.