Complete guide for newly engaged couples looking to plan their dream wedding

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The ultimate guide for newly engaged couples | Plan your Dream Wedding

You’ve said yes to the guy,  have the biggest ring on your finger, and have shared the great news with all your friends and family on tik tok. Now let’s dive into our complete guide for newly engaged couples planning their dream wedding.

Wedding planning can take you all over the spectrum and down an emotional roller coaster from elegant Pinterest boards, wedding DJs, and touring gorgeous venues. But most couples, or should I say brides don’t even know where to start.

What Day is it?  October 3rd. Let’s start by putting together a list of steps that you will need to take when planning your wedding.

Dream your Wedding Day

The best way to do this is to set down with your partner someone fun and relaxing. Cuddle on the couch, have a picnic at the Liberty memorial, or pour your favorite glass of Pino and start dreaming.

The fun part about the dreaming and brainstorming is there is no idea that is too big. This will help you nail down the aesthetic and what is important to you.

Do you want a small, intimate wedding, or a Kardashian-style bash? Will you have the ceremony in a beautiful catholic church, or have the ceremony and reception in an all-inclusive venue?

Determining your vision will help you narrow down the styles and the color palette of your dreams. Narrowing down these items will also make finding the right venue and photographer that much easier. When you find the perfect venue, you will want to book your date immediately and get the ball rolling on the rest of the

Before you try on a gown or take a bite of cake, think about what you want your wedding day to look and feel like. Do you want an intimate ceremony with just your closest family or friends or a blowout bash with everyone you love? Will your wedding take place in a house of worship or in a beautiful outdoor location?

Determining your dream wedding can help you pinpoint your style and colors, which can also help you choose your venue: the first big decision you have to make. Be sure to tour any potential venues in person to make sure they’re a good fit for the number of people you expect to attend, as well as for your wedding vision. Once you find the right venue, book your date. Now it’s time to start figuring out all the details!

Choose a Wedding Date

As soon as you share the good news, your friends and family are going to ask when the date is. This will depend entirely on your venues, photographers, videographers, and all your most important vendor availability.

Start narrowing it down by picking a season of the year and a month that you would like to get married. You will also need to determine how long of an engagement you would like to have. This will allow you time to take engagement photos, send out save the dates,  get your RSVPs, and everything else. Once you are able to decide on a date range,  you will have a better idea of how you will need to wedding plan.  

Are you paying for everything yourself, or will your parents be contributing? Once you have an idea of how much help you will be getting, you will want to outline your budget and determine how much you can afford to spend on each vendor.

Wedding Budget

Determine what are your must-haves at your wedding. I’m biased, but the only thing that lasts forever is photos and videos, so these would both be high on my priority list. No matter what it is, make sure that the things that are most important to both of you are included in the wedding. You might need to allocate more money for these items, but it will be worth it in the long run.

Here are your main expenses

  • Wedding Venue
  • Wedding Planner
  • Photographer
  • Videographer
  • Florist
  • Baker
  • Musicians
  • Food, snacks, drinks

Plan your Dream Wedding Tip: We recommend allocating up to 30% of your budget for your wedding venue, and up to 10% for each your photographer and videographer. These 3 vendors will make up almost half of your budget and will make the memories of your wedding day even better.

Wedding Budget Calculator

When to book wedding vendors?

You should book your engagement sessions 1-2 months after you are engaged (more on this later), before you even start your wedding planning.  Below is a good timeline to follow up to your wedding date. If you are getting married sooner, use this as a guideline and adjust accordingly.

Venue – 12+ months

Wedding Planner – 12+ months

Photography and Videography – 10 months

Caterer and Cake – 10 months

Floral Designer or Florist – 9-10 months

Musicians – 9-10 months

Officiant – 8-9 months

Guests Accommodations – 8 months

Stylist (Hair and Make-up) – 6 months

Transportation – 5-6 months

Stationary – 4-6 months

Plan your Dream Wedding Tip: Most great vendors will be booked up to 18 months in advance. Make sure you organize your vendors in the order of importance and get those vendors booked as soon as possible. You don’t want to miss out on a vendor because you waited too long to make a decision.

How to find a wedding venue

Google has helped us diagnose that wicked cough we have, so why not help finding a wedding venue? But before we do that, we recommend using a few other resources to help find the ideal venue. Instead of doing the work ourselves, let’s use some of the resources out there to help us make the process easier. Use the following links quickly, and I mean quickly narrow it down to your 10 favorite venues.

Check out our Bride Playbook for a list of our preferred vendors, but some of our favorites are White Iron Ridge, The Pavillion Event Space, A-Vent Space and The Gatsby on Oak.

After you have narrowed it down, compare the prices for your preferred to date, and schedule a venue tour as soon as possible. If your venue is available for your date, this is the first vendor that you are going to want to book as far out as 12-18 months. If you are getting married sooner than that, you still want to book your venue as soon as possible.

Tidy Up

You are going to want to keep track of your wedding to-do lists. The easiest way to do this is through google docs or some fancy planners. You will want to stay on top of this and make sure you are not only making progress but staying on budget and making timely progress. If this seems like too much work you might want to consider hiring a day-of coordinator, or a full wedding planner.

Guest List

Before reaching out to the caterer, you are going to want to decide how many people you are expecting at your wedding.  

Here are some free wedding planning websites that will not only help you manage guest lists, but send out gorgeous invites, make wedding websites, and keep everything nice and organized for you.

RSVPIFY

ZOLA

Start Your Wedding Registry

During times of covid, it makes it even easier to create online registries Some of the most popular registries are places like Bed Bath and Beyond, Crate & Barrel, and even Amazon.

If you are don’t have time for Bed Bath and Beyond you should consider creating a honeymoon fund, or even have a stalk the bar party. These are both great options that are fun for everyone to contribute to.

Engagement Session

We love engagement session for many reasons. The obvious one is you get to take gorgeous pictures and send them off to your family and friends for your save the date. But they also give you an opportunity to get comfortable in front of the camera, and develop that connection with your photographer that will make your wedding photos and videos turn out that much better.

What do I wear to an engagement session?

My best advice is to be comfortable and be authentic to you. We love having couples bring an outfit change, include a dog or their kiddo. Having one casual and one fancy outfit can be fun. Make sure your clothes compliment each other, but don’t match.   Bring two outfits if you like. One casual, and one fancy.  Compliment each other. Hey, girl you look nice. No, wear something that will compliment your significant other, but don’t match.

https://media.giphy.com/media/GZEYtVH4v9FhC8KU23/giphy-downsized-large.gif

COLORS?   Pastels, cool and neutral tones are never a bad choice. Avoid patterns, excessive colors and anything you have to ask if you look good in.

Do we need a wedding planner?

Hire a Wedding Planner if…

  • You need someone to help create and maintain a cohesive wedding vision
  • Help you create and manage your budget, stay on top of vendor payments and help you determine where you can splurge and save money.
  •  You need vendor recommendations and discounts. Most planners work with a select group of preferred vendors and offer discounts through these planners.
  •  You need help with your wedding timeline.
  •  You are having your ceremony and reception in separate locations
  •  Have zero clue how to create a realistic wedding day timeline.

Hire a Day of Coordinator If…

  • You want to play an active role in planning your wedding but would like
  • someone to take care of the last-minute details and make sure you haven’t missed anything.
  • You’re extremely organized and detail-oriented.
  •  You don’t have the budget for a full service wedding planner.

Don’t hire a coordinator if…

  • You have a really tight budget.
  • You love DIY.
  •  You have an all-inclusive venue that includes venue coordinator.
  •  You have the time and want to be more hands on.
  •  You are very organized and detail oriented.
  • You have someone in charge for any mishaps.

A few of our favorite wedding coordinators are Composure Events and Wild Rose Planing and Events.

Choose Your Wedding Party

Once you decide on your wedding party, start thinking about how you are going to ask them to be part of your wedding and any gifts that you would like to give them.  A customized gift is an amazing way to show them how important you are, and how much you appreciate them being part of your wedding. I have seen things like a personalized bottle of whisky,  gift box, and many other things.

Look for your Wedding Dress

Do as much research as possible on Google, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook wedding groups and narrow down your favorites. Once you have an idea of the style of dress, you are going to want to make some bridal appointments to help you find the perfect dress. Some of our favorite bridal shops in Kansas City are The One Bridal and True Society

Wedding Day

The day is finally here. The nervous, the excitement, and every emotion you can think of is feeling the air. Let’s ease the stress by going over the wedding day and how to make the most of it.

Getting Ready

If you booked us as your videographer, you should be completely prepared and ready for this moment. But, there are a few things that you are going to want to consider.

  • Position yourself near large windows or beautiful natural light. This will make for some gorgeous getting ready photos. If you don’t have the option, have your makeup artist reposition you to an area with natural light and do the “finishing touches.”
  • Have your bridesmaids hang up the wedding dress in the window, collect all the wedding day details and put them in a shoe box. Your photographer and videographer will thank you ahead of time.
  • Get a custom hanger for your wedding dress. Nothing looks worse than a beautiful dress hanging from a plastic hangar. Check out ETSY for some great options.
  • Matching robes make for some fun photos with your ladies
  • A bottle of champagne can lighten the mood, and make for some great toasting shots.
  • Make sure your bridesmaids and your mom are dressed before you. When they help you put your dress on, you want everyone to look flawless for the photos and videos.
  • Decide if you want to do a first look with your bridesmaids, dad, or both. These usually happen right after you get into your dress.
  • If you are exchanging letters or gifts, this is the perfect time to have that private moment.
  • Put your jewelry and perfume on after you have your dress on.
  • Have the flowers and bouquet ready to go for bridal portraits after all the ladies are dressed.

Now that you and your significant other are both dressed, you are going to want to think about doing a first look. New Tradition is in favor of the first look, but here are a few things to think about when deciding if you want to do a first look.

Why you should do a first look

  • You can take portraits before the ceremony.
  • Give you and your partner a private moment together.
  • More time for portraits after the ceremony.
  • Ease your nerves during the ceremony.

Why you should not do a first look

  • First time seeing each other is walking down the aisle.
  • Include your guests in this moment
  • You can take your couples portraits after it’s “official.”
  • You won’t have to get ready as early.

Take a Step Back

Wedding planning can be exhausting and really engulf your normal life. Don’t forget to take a step back and enjoy the time that you have together and do the things that you usually do, whether that goes see a movie, have a date night, or catch a ball game.

If you have any other questions please don’t hesitate to ask. Download the complete 100 Page guide below or read our Brides Playbook for some more helpful advice.

More from the Blog:

The Essential Questions you Should Ask a Potential Venue

10 Things We Wish We Knew after getting Engaged

Reduce the Stress with our Wedding Day Timeline

The best advice from brides to Newly Engaged couples

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