Newly Engaged? How To Start Planning Your Wedding

So many times my clients have told me how overwhelmed they feel when first becoming engaged… “have you set a date?”, “where will the wedding be?”… “have you chosen your colors?” ..these are a few of the questions newly engaged couples are often bombarded with. You have not even had a chance to spread the news to everyone yet or even process it and celebrate it fully before these questions come your way. Take a deep breath. Don’t worry, you should not really be expected to have these answers yet. Enjoy your time with your new fiance. When you are ready to start planning, here a few tips on navigating the wedding planning world:

1. Determine your budget

2. Create a guest list

3. Choose a location (city/area of town)- this may require some discussion and research- destination? hometown? your new town, where you live a couple?

4. Dates or Season– not date but date(S)- you want to be flexible as some venues might have some dates booked already or have incentives for certain “hot dates” you might want to consider.

Safari Tip: Make sure all of the decision makers are “on the same page” with all of these ideas and decisions. It can be very disappointing to feel like you have figured out all of the details and then have someone who is part of the decision making process not agree.Whether it is just you and your fiance calling the shots or your parents or both families… everyone is going to have input.

This will likely be the most stressful part of the process, don’t worry, it gets better!

Once those four items are determined -at least in a general manner- start your research: Flip through magazines (pull out or dogear what you like), visit some wedding blogs and see what you are drawn to… is it a formal wedding in a ballroom filled with chandeliers? a destination wedding with the ocean as your ceremony backdrop? or a more casual outdoor wedding at a farm or garden? You can search our site by location or style — get some ideas of what you like…what jumps out at you.

What appeals to you?

Rolling Greens?

Trump National Golf Club, Sterling, Virginia

Traditional Manors?

 Oxon Hill Manor, Oxon Hill, Maryland
Photograph by Timmester Photography

If you like Oxon Hill Manor, be sure to consider: Meridian House

 Modern Museums?

Long View Gallery, Photograph by Freed Photo

If you are a DC bride and like Long View Gallery, you might also like: Yards Park, AU Katzen Center, Reagan Building, and Strathmore Music Center 

Chandelier Filled Ballrooms?

Willard Intercontinental Hotel

We love chandeliers too and have a few other venues you might fancy: National Museum of Women in the Arts, Fairfax Embassy Row, and The Four Seasons

A Waterside Inn?

Inn at Perry Cabin
Photograph by: Eli Turner Studios

If a waterfront venue is what you have in mind…. check out Annapolis wedding venues, Sequoia  and destination waterfront and beach wedding locations in Florida and California

Once you find a few places that interest you:

  • Request information from the venue
  • Enter the pricing into a budget spreadsheet so that you can compare- apples-to-apples the prices at each place.
  • Set up in-person tours if possible
  • If you like the venue and it is an off-site (meaning the catering is not done on site) be sure to ask about approved or suggested caterers and ask them for a proposal
  • Make a list of questions and print out and take along our Venue Search Checklist
  • For more advice, read Whitney’s post about planning an out-of-town wedding

Happy Hunting!! Come back and let us know how you are doing! We are happy to help.

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