It is time for PART 3 of Just Got Engaged? Here’s How to Get Started. If you’re reading this PART 3, you’ve:
- Determined your wedding style
- Made a list of venues
- Chosen a tentative date
If you don’t, I invite you to read PART 2 of this series and complete those steps before diving into the next ones.
*DISCLAIMER: I am not a professional wedding planner — I am sharing my personal experience hoping to help other brides out there!
STEP 7: THE KNOT/WEDDING WIRE
It is time to have fun! If you’re like me and love to get organized, you will love this step!
There are many wedding planning websites and mobile apps such as TheKnot, WeddingWire Canada and WeddingWire USA. Personally, I have tried both TheKnot and WeddingWire and my favourite is WeddingWire. I will be writing a separate blog post on the pros and cons of each website, but here’s a brief overview of what they offer.
Lists of vendors
- These websites offer you lists of vendors — photographers, reception venues, caterers, etc. It is a great way to get started if you didn’t get any recommendations from friends and family.
- They have everything you could possibly think of. From buying insurance for your engagement ring, to catering costs, they will setup a checklist & timeline based on your engagement date.
It is this feature that made me switch over from “TheKnot” to “WeddingWire”. The timeline and checklist on “TheKnot” will start based on your engagement date. G and I got engaged 3 years ago. I therefore had over 50 checklist items “overdue”, when realistically, I wouldn’t have made my checklist 3 years ago if I picked my wedding date only this year… I tried changing the dates manually, but given the number of items on the checklist, it was impossible!
- They offer free and paid templates for you to build a wedding website with all the information your guests need.
Guest list manager
- You can import your guest list and add contact information.
A plus for WeddingWire is they have a feature called “seating chart”, which allows you to drag and drop guests at tables (table size can be customized).
- The amazing thing with this tool is you can enter a total number and they will break it down into a complete budget. In my opinion, it is a great way to then build your real budget in Step 8, as you’ll see what the “average” spend distribution is. Once your actual budget is set, you’ll be able to adjust it.
Now, don’t go too crazy at first. Take you time to fill in the information you already know. Oh and, download their app! It’s super convenient!
STEP 8: PUT TOGETHER A BUDGET
It is finally time! I know right? Step 8 might seem really late, but remember, all the previous steps should’ve been “quick” steps. By now, you have a list of venues, a location in mind and a rough idea of your total budget. In my opinion, you finally have enough information to form a proper budget.
- Look at the list of venues you put together earlier — narrow it down to your top 3 and contact them right away. Make sure you request quotes for your specific number of guests.
- Look at wedding dresses online to get an idea of the prices for styles of dresses you like.
- As you’ll continue planning the wedding, you’ll start getting in contact with caterers, photographers, dj’s, etc. Make sure to request quotes so you can quickly get an idea of the total price of your wedding.
Use an online tool (Step 7)
- Now that you have a rough idea of your budget, as well as an idea of how that budget should be distributed thanks to websites like WeddingWire, you can start adjusting the budget based on quotes you have received so far.
Stick to your budget
- Monitor the total budget to make sure those adjusted rates don’t compromise the initial budget you had in mind.
- If you’re over budget, determine where you’d be willing to cut.
STEP 9: ANNOUNCEMENT
When choosing your date, you might feel the urge to announce it to everyone. I highly recommend waiting until you have a clear idea of the location, date and budget. Why? I’ve heard many stories of couple setting a date, spreading the news to then postpone after realizing they can’t afford such a budget. Although some might cut on the guest list or venue, many will prefer to wait in order to have their dream wedding.
Once you’ve drafted your budget and reviewed it with whomever is paying for the wedding (if applicable) and feel comfortable, go ahead and spread the news!
STEP 10: CHOOSE YOUR WEDDING PARTY
This step is super exciting!!! Some of you might already know exactly how many and who, but if you’re all new to this and have no idea what I’m referring to, here’s a quick breakdown.
A traditional wedding party consists of:
- Maid/Matron of Honour | Typically a best friend who will be in charge of your bridesmaids and will help with wedding planning
- Bridesmaids | Your closest friend(s) and/or close relative(s)
- Best Man | Typically a best friend who will be in charge of your groomsmen and will help with wedding planning
- Groomsmen | Groom’s closest friend(s) and/or close relative(s)
- Ring Bearer | Typically a boy between the ages of 3 and 8
- Flower Girl | Typically a girl between the ages of 3 and 8
Traditionally, the wedding party will stand next to your fiancé and yourself during the ceremony. All except the Ring Bearer and Flower Girl will usually sit at the head table with you and your fiancé. These people will also organize your bachelorette and bachelor’s party.
- The average is said to be 5 people on each side. Truly, the number doesn’t matter. If you only want a Maid of Honour, that is totally fine, but if you want 2 Maid of Honours and 5 Bridesmaids, that is also fine! Just keep in mind the more people you have, the bigger the head table will be. In some cases, it might become impossible to have your wedding party at the head table if that number is too high.
- Your fiancé does not need to have the same amount of people as you. Personally, I prefer when it’s equal for aesthetic reasons, but don’t feel forced to invite people in your wedding party simply to equalize.
- Think about friends you could not imagine not having by your side when getting married… they are the ones!
How do you ask them?
- Being in a wedding party comes with a lot of responsibilities and can get quite pricy. Therefore, it is possible some might decline. If you know some of the people you’ll propose to are very busy or tight financially, maybe opt for a more private proposal to avoid making them uncomfortable if they do need to decline.
- It has become popular to hold “Bridesmaids/Groomsmen Proposals”. Future weds will put together cute gift bags with things like champagne, personalized robes, flasks, and propose to their friends either in private or during a dedicated event.
G and I both did a proposal brunch, but we held it separately. I had a photographer over and we had a photoshoot with our personalized robes and champagne glasses. It was a day I’ll never forget! I will write an entire post dedicated to my proposal brunch (the good/the bad) very soon, but in the meantime, here are a couple photos shot by Alain Wong:
I hope this Just Got Engaged? How to Get Started series has helped you with planning your wedding! Please comment down below what subjects you’d like me to cover in the future 🙂
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