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FROM PROPOSAL TO PLANNING

Your partner proposed! Well…now what?

For the love of all that is holy, do NOT go straight to Pinterest. Resist!

Instead, I hope you will take a couple of minutes to read just a few tips that this Lake Charles Wedding and Event Planner wants to share with you. With experience executing many weddings, I have much knowledge about the post-engagement phase of planning. You may be wondering what are the first steps to take after engagement... so, we've gathered some essential tips for newly engaged couples.

  1. Celebrate Your Engagement: Enjoy the time that you get to call your significant other your “fiance” while also having nothing to do with wedding planning. Take a week or two to let the news really sink in. Flaunt that ring and just BE engaged. Be fully immersed in the joy and excitement of your engagement. Plan a romantic dinner or a cozy evening at home to toast to your love and reflect on your journey together. You can also plan an engagement party to include your family and friends.

  2. Communicate Your Vision: When you are ready to start the wedding planning process, the first thing that you need to do is talk to your partner. The best thing to do is to communicate with each other before discussing details with anyone else. If you take the time to chat now, you will save a lot of frustration down the road. Focus on what really matters to both of you. Ask each other questions! When should we have the wedding? Where will it be? Do you want to keep it small? Do you want a big celebration? This is the time to sit down and answer one big question: What do WE want? Discuss your wedding vision, share your dreams, preferences, and must-haves. It's essential to be on the same page and build your wedding plans together. Talk about the things you are willing to compromise on and the things that you aren't.

  3. Set a Budget: Determine your wedding budget early on. This will help you make informed decisions and allocate funds to different aspects of your celebration.No one really likes to talk about money. However, before you can really move forward with any of your wedding plans, this discussion has to be had – whether it’s between you and your soon-to-be spouse or the both of you and the parents. The answer to the budget question may determine so many factors you will have to consider for your wedding day: venue, guest list, length of engagement, bridal party size, wedding dress, etc. Consider your priorities and be realistic about what you can afford. There are lots of elements that go into planning a wedding.

  4. Research and Gather Inspiration: Start gathering wedding inspiration from magazines, online platforms, and real weddings. Create mood boards, save images, and take note of elements that resonate with you. This will guide your decision-making process. Now's the time for the Pinterest binge. Envision the type of wedding you both want. Ask each other some more open-ended questions: What time of year do you love the most? What colors do you gravitate toward? Once you have a rough draft, get on Pinterest and start specific boards for your inspiration: wedding dresses, bouquets, aisle inspiration, tablescapes, backdrops, and much more.

  5. Choose a Date: Selecting your wedding date and venue go hand in hand. If your budget allows for the flexibility of your wedding date, consider the seasons. The seasons dictate a lot of your decisions. If your dream venue is outdoors during a rainy month (most months are rainy in Louisiana), make sure there’s a rain plan. The season may determine the pricing of venues, coordinators, and photographers. Here in Louisiana, the summer months are slow so you may see discounts offered and you might be able to save a little on the budget.

  6. Choose a Venue: Visit potential venues, ask questions, and visualize how your vision will come to life in each space. Your venue directly impacts a lot of your wedding decisions. How many people can it hold? Where is it located? Can Mawmaw physically get up the aisle? These are all things to consider. Now that you have your budget figured out, you can start looking for a place with all your needs and, hopefully, your wants. I would recommend starting a wedding venue spreadsheet that helps you keep track all of the different options, the amenities, the tings you liked (and didn't). This spreadsheet will also help you determine if you’re more of an all-inclusive couple or looking for a la carte options. Here are several things to consider when looking for a wedding venue and things to add to that spreadsheet: Location, Capacity, Availability, Type, Layout, Rates, Restrictions, Parking/Transportation, Facility Extras, Catering, Bartending, and Rentals. Does the venue fit your vibe? Do you have a gut feeling about it? Site visits are an excellent way to see the possibilities for your decor. Is the venue naturally beautiful and, therefore, would require less decor? Or does it need lots of additional decor that will come at an additional cost?

  7. Find Your Dream Team: Its best to know the top vendors to book when starting to wedding plan. Selecting the right wedding vendors is crucial. Hiring a wedding planner as one of your first vendors will help assure you are hiring quality vendors. Research and meet with potential vendors to ensure they align with your vision and personality. Always remember that the cheapest price may compromise quality. If planning a wedding makes you want to pick up a brown paper bag, at the minimum... hire a wedding coordinator. As a professional wedding planner in Lake Charles, I keep things streamlined, stress-free, and even cost-effective.

  8. Start a Wedding Planning Timeline: Create a wedding planning timeline or checklist to stay organized and on track. Zola and the Knot offer great wedding planning tools. Break down tasks by month or quarter, and set deadlines to ensure everything is completed in a timely manner. Invest in a great wedding planner journal to help you stay on track. I offer my clients an extensive checklist, and monthly emails to ensure they are on track and provide any support that I can.

Embarking on the journey from engagement to wedding is a beautiful time. By celebrating, communicating, budgeting, researching, assembling your dream team, choosing a date and venue, and creating a planning timeline, you're well on your way to planning an extraordinary wedding. Remember, this process is about creating memories and cherishing the love you and your partner share. Enjoy every step!


PHOTO: KAREN MICHELLE PHOTOGRAPHY

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