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Wedding planning: What to do first

October 11, 2011

Congratulations! You’re engaged! Now what? If you’re anything like most brides-to-be {myself included}, the initial phase of your engagement will be surreal, exciting, and completely overwhelming. You’re celebrating this momentous occasion all the while trying to figure out what in the world you need to do FIRST.

My initial piece of advice is this: Don’t freak out.

It’s all about developing a plan and I’m here to help you do that {as are all those wedding magazines}. In my opinion, and from my experience, the following tasks are the most important to tackle first.

Budget, budget, budget

It’s probably the least fun and certainly the least glamorous task but it has to be done. And better to do it first and get it settled, right? Weddings are so full of expectations, it’s best to understand up front what exactly you can afford and research your vendors accordingly. Next week I’ll cover some basics of budget planning–it’s definitely a significant topic and affords its own post.

Discuss dates

Notice I’m not suggesting you choose a date. Often the actual date is determined according to the venue you select {unless your engagement is over a year}. But I think it’s important to discuss with your fiancé/fiancée the season you wish to marry in and check with your families about any future conflicts. That way when you go searching for venues you have an area of time or a few different dates in mind.

Draft a timeline

Now that you have an idea of when you’ll marry, you know how long your engagement will be. Regardless of what any wedding magazine or website says, there is no “right” amount of time. Most of the timelines you see, online or in print, are about a year in length. If you have less time, it’s no big deal! Condense the tasks. If you have more time, spread things out. I think it’s best to make your own timeline anyway. That way it’s completely tailored to your needs and, of course, your wedding.

Gather the guests

Start a spreadsheet and list everyone you’d want to invite. Have your significant other do the same. Perhaps you’ll want to ask each of your parents who they’d like to invite as well. Warning: This may cause shortness of breath and mild chest pains. Again, don’t freak out. This is only the initial guest count. Cuts can be, and most likely will need to be, made. It’s just a fact of life wedding planning. But it’s necessary to know what you’re working with.

Get inspired

Oooh, the fun part! Now’s the time to start brainstorming ideas on style, theme, colors. Dresses. Venues. Flowers. Luckily there are many, many, many outlets for inspiration and thanks to Pinterest,, and the soon-to-be-released Colin Cowie Weddings, places to store {and share} it all. So, go at it! Create a Pinterest account. Sign up for an access code to Request access to the new Colin Cowie Weddings site. And start reading those wedding blogs!


In terms of the initial planning phase, these foundational/background tasks are {in my opinion} the most important to accomplish first. They give you an overall sense of what you’ll be working with, sending you forth to research and meet with vendors. And, of course, make the decisions! It doesn’t feel that overwhelming now, does it? Yeah, you’re right. It still does. Just remember to take it one step at a time. And ENJOY it. Because ultimately you’re engaged! And that part’s pretty darn exciting.


While you’re at it, follow me on Pinterest: In Love, Engaged!

Photo of the cutest county fair engagement session on Every Last Detail.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. October 11, 2011 12:02 pm

    Lovely post and picture!… and I love your sweet blog!

  2. October 11, 2011 4:34 pm

    This is such great advice-and you cracked me up, too!

  3. October 12, 2011 11:44 am

    thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. October 12, 2011 6:12 pm

    Great advise Kristen! I am counting the days when my guy pops the question (any hope, eek!)


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