Congratulations on your engagement! Now that you are planning your wedding, you're probably starting to look at dresses, cake designs, flowers, bridesmaid dresses, a color palette, invitations, venues.and you're starting to feel overwhelmed. In a way it's fun, because it's all so, so pretty! But actually making the decisions (and paying for it) can be daunting. So as you go through this exciting and stressful process, here are the top five important things to remember when planning a wedding.
Before you start spending for your wedding, you need to have a budget in mind. Then take a look at an online wedding calculator (see resource links below) to help you see, traditionally, the breakdown percentage-wise of what categories require how much. Obviously if you're willing to make a sacrifice in one area to devote to another area you should do that. But it helps to see what areas are the most costly ahead of time before you start paying for things, only to find the list of purchases goes on and on and the costs add up faster than you realized.
Do a search for marriage license requirements in your state. Know the time frame you will need, and if your state requires things you haven't thought of, like a blood test. This way you won't be caught unaware the day before. And while you're at it, look into the name change process if you are planning to legally change your last name.
Prepare to involve your groom anywhere between 0-50% in the wedding planning process. Obviously now that you are partners, "things should be 50-50." However, some grooms really don't care when it comes to wedding plans and THAT'S OKAY. I know first hand sometimes it can feel like him not giving much input about the wedding feels like he doesn't care about marriage, but that is not true. It just means that he can see you've got a vision for your colors, your dress, your hair, and he trusts you'll make it all pretty and he wants you to have it the way you like it. But you won't know how involved he wants to be unless you ASK him. Maybe he has opinions on his attire, or the catering, or the music, or the honeymoon. So ask, "What sort of entertainment would you like?" If an open ended question like that is too general, make it multiple choice: "Here are 4 jacket styles. Do you have a preference?" And if you don't actually want his opinion on something, take the pressure off him by letting him know that too, but still keep the line of communication open. "I have my heart set on red roses. Is that all right?"
Having explained how to involve your fiancé in the wedding planning process, remember not to spend every weekend following him around with wedding magazines. Take some time to NOT plan your wedding. Remember to go out on dates. Enjoy doing the same things together as you did before you got the ring. Because sure, your relationship is changing for the better, but that doesn't mean you should stop doing all those things that made you fall in love in the first place.
Don't forget the comfort of your guests as you plan your wedding. Of course this is YOUR day, but you're going to be on cloud nine regardless. They're there for you, so treat them well. If it's likely to be hot at the ceremony, have shade, water, and personal fans. Choose favors that are practical and will appeal to the masses, not overly-sappy favors that fit your theme (the packaging should fit your theme, though).
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