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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I'M ENGAGED! Now what?

Well congratulations on your engagement! I know there are now lots of details swirling through your head right now. One word of advice... go to the store and buy a three ring binder, dividers, and notebook paper! Ok, done that? Good! Now you need to organize that binder into your wedding binder. You'll need tabs for budget, fashion, catering, cake, guest list, invitations, rentals, DJ, ceremony, reception, flowers, photography, and video. All tabs are not necessary; only use them if they apply to what you want for your wedding.

Since we know that the first thing we all did/do after getting that ring on our finger is rush out and buy any and every bridal magazine we can get our hands on... with your Wedding Binder you now have somewhere to place things so that anytime you have an idea, anytime you see a picture in a magazine you like, anytime you see something online... you can write it down, rip it out, and print it off; punch holes in it; and place it under the applicable tab. This will help you in your planning. This way, if you see a bouquet that you like in a few magazines, when you go to meet with your florist, you will have examples of what you want. Or when you go dress shopping, you will have pictures of styles that you like that your consultant can pull and you can try them on. This will save you time from having to try and explain what it looks like or trying on things that you didn't know you didn't like.

Ok, now, after announcing the engagement to your family, it is time for a family meeting. This means you, your FH, your parents, and FIL (Future In Laws). This meeting is to talk about wedding plans but most importantly... the budget. You need to find out who wants to contribute and what they are willing to contribute. This will help in the overall decision on how much you can spend on your wedding. So, for example, in my case, my parents are footing the entire bill. We did not ask the FILs for any contribution and they did not offer, which is fine since they are graciously paying for our Honeymoon :) They gave us a budget (which we quickly went over) but then we started discussing other things that I wanted... like chair covers. Mom saw this as an unnecessary item and said that if I wanted it I had to pay for it. This meeting will get all the money on the table so that if you thought a $20,000 wedding was reasonable, but mom and dad can only give $5000 and FILs offered up $5000, you either have to watch your money or come up with the additional $10,000. Remember though, you don't have to spend the entire budget. It is only a guide line... it's always great to come in under budget!

Once a budget is decided, the next step is to determine a date. Depending on the budget, you may need more time to come up with the money for the wedding so the budget will help determine how long your engagement will be. After deciding a length of time you need to determine a season: Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall.

Once the date is set, you need to find locations for the ceremony and reception. These are the big things that should be done first, because locations can push back or up your date depending on the availability of the location. You then need to start looking at vendors. Photography and catering would be the top 2 after locations. Then music (either a band or DJ or an Ipod), fashion (depending on the dress you find and the length of time it takes to come in you may need to do this early or you can push it off some), and anything else you want.

Sometimes the brides dress will set the mood for the wedding. Meaning a very formal gown needs a formal setting. You don't want to have a formal wedding gown with paper plates and BBQ (but if that's your dream and budget GO FOR IT!)... nor do you want an informal gown and bone china with a 8 course sit down meal. You have to ensure that the theme goes through-out... I don't mean just a butterfly theme type thing!

Well, I think that may be about it... there will of course be more topics including the one to follow this one. So if you have questions or comments keep them coming! It will only help me to help you!

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