You’re Engaged, Now What??? Here’s Your First 5 Steps

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Congratulations on your engagement!!! It’s an exciting time in your relationship so take a deep breath and try to relax enjoy it. Whether you’re thinking of a rustic backyard BBQ with close friends or a large elaborate soiree, the task of planning a wedding can seem overwhelming. The good news is that if you stay organized and look at everything one piece at a time you’ll get through it with a smile on your face.

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Step 1 – Budget
It’s important to match your wants and expectations to what you can actually afford so before you start looking at guest list and venue you’ll need to get a ballpark figure. If you’re paying for it yourself sit down together as a couple and get on the same page about how much you want to spend and how you will set the money aside. If parents or other family members are helping out make sure you have that discussion right away. If they are only helping with a portion try to either get a hard number from them or ask them to cover one portion of the event – photography, food, venue, alcohol, your dress etc.

Step 2 – Priority List
Sit down with your fiancée and make a wish list in order of what aspects of the wedding most important to least important.

Step 3 – Guest List
Mapping out your guest list can be one of the most daunting tasks in your planning process, I know it was when I planned my own wedding. My advice is to sit down together as a couple first and get a solid A and B list together. The A list maps out the absolute definite people you want to have at your wedding. The B list includes family and friends that you would like to have there if it’s possible within your budget. You might even want to have C list of people to invite if a lot of the A and B list are not able to attend. After you and your fiancée sit down together you will want to sit down with your parents or whoever else is in on the planning process and compare your list to theirs. This will undoubtedly open a whole other can of worms but it’s important to negotiate your guest list with your families earlier instead of later.

Step 4 – Research Venues and Possible Dates
The NC Mountains are a very popular destination wedding location so venues can book up more than a year in advance. Your first step is to figure out where and when you are having the wedding. Keep your date flexible until you see what the availability of the venue is. A good jumping off point is to pick 3 different dates and 3 different venues and then contact the venues to see what’s the best fit. Also decide whether an “off” day or time can work for you if the venue you have your heart set on doesn’t have a Saturday available.

Step 5 – Revisit Your Priority List and Get Organized
Once you have your venue booked everything else can fall into place. You’ll have a lot more perspective and information to work with now that you know what your venue provides. Sit back down with your fiancée and look at the money you have left to work with and talk about how you want to spend it to get the most out of your day. Make a list of the vendors you still need to book and start researching prices, availability and services. The ACES website is a great resource for finding local vendors in the greater Boone area of North Carolina.

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Obviously you have a lot more planning ahead but if you take these 5 steps first you’ll have a solid foundation to work with and be well on your way to making your dream wedding a reality.
If you have any questions or would like to see a detailed breakdown of services that The Whole Shebang offers to help you enjoy a relaxed, stress free engagement and wedding please contact me directly at 828.719.9171 or highcountryweddings@gmail.com.

Good Luck and Happy 2013!!!

-Meris

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