So you just got engaged, Congratulations! You have accomplished the near impossible task of finding a person you’d like to share the rest of your life with! With such a big decision off your plate, you’ll now have room for a new challenge: planning your ideal wedding. If you’re having a bit of trouble getting started, we are ready to lend you hand as you begin to navigate the brave new world of everything bridal!
So where does a newly engaged bride-to-be begin? If you’re anything like us (a bit obsessed with the wedding aesthetic) you’ve likely already got a Pinterest board full of ideas for your dream wedding. If you haven’t yet ventured through the plethora of hair, flower, gown and pantone inspired pins this isn’t a bad place to start. Once you start to see what other brides are doing you can begin to narrow down your preferred time of year, colours, style, etc. You might love a rustic-summer-barn wedding with lace accents and sunflowers. Or maybe you prefer a pastel-spring wedding with lavender to toss and a flowy tulle dress to twirl in. Whatever you imagine for your bridal vision, the next important step will be tempering your expectations to match your chequebook.
Setting a budget is so important when setting out to plan your wedding. It becomes very easy to throw caution to the wind and book your dream everything in all the excitement of picturing your big day. Unfortunately for most of us, this can inevitably lead to post-wedding-remorse when the bills start piling up. To avoid any extra stress and save a few dollars for after the honeymoon, you may want to call around for quotes from your ideal vendors to establish just how much your dream wedding will cost. Once you have a rough idea of what you can afford, you can start to prioritize where you are willing to sacrifice for the sake of your bank account. Many brides choose to lock down their perfect venue, dream dress and an experienced photographer while opting to decorate their own church or hall, do their own makeup and swap the five-course dinner for a more modest meal. A practical and organized bride-to-be is a happy and stress-free bride-to-be.
Now that we’ve got the bridal vision and the wedding budget sorted it’s time to start thinking about our timeline. Whether your engagement lasts one year or five, it’s ideal to give yourself at least twelve months to plan your big day. Venues will start booking over a year in advance and there are only so many Saturdays in the year. If you are willing to be flexible on your wedding date and location, it can of course come together more quickly but it might mean making a few sacrifices along the way.
In terms of shopping for your dream dress, most bridal designers will require 4-6 months to make your gown. This means you should order your gown no later than 8 months before your big day, as alterations generally require about 3-4 fittings over the course of 2 months once you have your gown. If you’re reading this and you have yet to find a gown for your wedding this summer don’t panic! Many boutiques are able to get gowns a bit more quickly with an extra fee for a manufacturing rush. In some cases, your dream dress might even be a discontinued sample style that is marked down to sell right off the rack! Who doesn’t love a gorgeous gown on a budget?
In terms of your wedding party, bridesmaid and mother-of-the-bride/groom dresses take about 4 months to arrive and another month after that for alterations. Similar to your bridal gown search, it is always better to start shopping sooner rather than later so that you don’t feel rushed into choosing whatever style and colour can come in the quickest. Though shopping early is a good idea, ordering early is not usually recommended for bridesmaids. Because many bridesmaid groups often include new moms or moms-to-be, we recommend waiting to order until about 5-6 months before the big day as bodies can change a lot in the time it will take the gowns to come in! As for the men, tuxes can usually be rented or purchased a bit more quickly but don’t forget that the guys might still need to think about tailoring if they opt to purchase their own suits.
Once you have your venue booked and your dress ordered you can start to organize things like invitations, catering, photography and videography, music, officiants, decorations and so on. When looking for recommendations, word of mouth and even local Facebook wedding groups can be so helpful! Many brides are happy to share their experiences and offer suggestions based on their own time spent as diligently researching brides-to-be.
Timelines can often seem a bit daunting to the newly engaged bride-to-be, especially if it’s her first time being a part of the wedding planning process. A bride’s most important asset will always be her trusted and organized family and friends. Don’t forget to enlist lots of help so that you and your fiancé can enjoy your time spent planning your big day without all the stress of doing it by yourselves!
We hope this post has given you an idea of how to start planning your dream wedding! The most important thing to remember is that this day is all about celebrating you, your fiancé and your love for one another. No matter what happens leading up to or on the big day, you'll still come away with so many special memories and a partner for life! Now that sounds like a pretty good deal to us!
If you have any wisdom or advice to share with any of the newly-engaged ladies reading this, please leave it in the comments below! We love hearing from experienced brides too!
Happy wedding planning <3