December is the most popular month to pop the BIG question, now that you have said yes and shared the exciting news with friends and family- what do you do next? The shock settles in, the excitement fades (ok, so fades just a little), but the stress sets in. There is a list 300 pages long of things to see, things to book, people to meet; how do you stay organized and manage all this planning?! Here is some advice on the five most important things to do FIRST so you can breathe a little easier through your engagement whether it’s six months long or a year.
1- Find some Dates. Yes Dates, as in plural. Before you and your bride, or groom, to be can set a wedding date you have to do other things like book a venue and a ceremony site. The two of you together need to come up with a few dates that work for you two. Think of the season you prefer, think of holiday schedules, sporting seasons, travel options for guests during that time of year. Once you have a few dates that work for you two the rest of the planning will run a little more smoothly.
2- Select your style. We don’t mean pick colors and table settings. Talk to your other half and decide some basics based on what represents the two of you. Church wedding or Outdoors? Destination or in your home town? Big or small and cozy? Fancy or casual? Afternoon or evening? Just making a list of the basics can begin to shape your wedding and leave less questions up for debate later in the planning game.
3- Set your budget. Weddings, especially these days, can get way out of hand financially, and without you ever realizing it. Setting a budget will help you manage your planning from day one. Sit down with family and know up front what everyone is contributing and what their part is, whether it is all or none you will know and not be stuck with crazy wedding debt later. You’d be surprised at how much you can get for so little with all the wonderful DIY tips and tricks available, so don’t stress over a budget. Better to be safe than sorry.
4- Itemize your pieces. Take each part of your wedding and rate them (with your bride or groom to be) on what is the most important to you. Is your dress a huge part of your day? Rank it higher on the list. Are you a big foodie and really want to wow your guests with a delicious meal? Rank your catering up top. Everything from Hair and Makeup to Photography can be on your list. This will help you divvy out your budget on where you and your partner want to spend more or less money. If flowers don’t mean much to you put them lower and you can dedicate less of your budget to them.
5- Book a Venue. This is the first actual step in the wedding, and the most important. Most venues have to be booked pretty far in advance so you don’t want to wait too long to do this. However, you do need to be set on the first four steps before booking. Once you are ready, go sightseeing! Check out all the venues you’re interested in. Ask as many questions as you can! Little things about venues can make or break their appeal; such as do linens and tables come with the price? Or Can we use outside caterers?. Also always ask what set up and clean up time is included in the rental price, or what additional fee is needed. This is where a wedding coordinator or catering service can come in handy. They know the ins and outs of the venues and will have the break downs of all the details for you. If you are doing the planning on your own just be very aware and ask questions! Once you have chosen your perfect venue you have your place and a firm date- The wedding is ready to be ‘planned’!
The planning has just begun, but the stressful BIG decisions are handled and the rest should run much more smoothly by organizing your details. If you are not using a service or coordinator there are many great planning books available to help keep all your details in order as well as many great websites like theknot.com and mywedding.com. If you are planning an event here in the Charleston area and have questions about local places and spaces please feel free to call us at Cru Catering, we are always happy to help! 843-534-2433
HAPPY PLANNING and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!