First Five Things to Do After You Get Engaged

1. Set your spending plan. Beginning the wedding planning process with a spending plan saves you time because it helps narrow your focus to the vendors whose prices fall within your spending range. It also saves you the heartache of falling in love with a product or service provider that you really cannot afford. Be realistic about how much you’re willing to spend on your wedding and how much financial assistance your family is able to commit.

2. Choose the guest list. Consider the people who are closest to you, your partner, and your family and write their names down to get a solid estimate of the number of people that will attend the wedding. You want to be able to accommodate guests comfortably and many vendors will need to know the guest count to provide a quote for their services.

3. Decide the type of venue. Will the ceremony be held at a church or a non-religious venue? Are you looking for an indoor or outdoor reception venue? Will the ceremony and reception be in the same location? Are you looking for a venue that is a blank canvas to transform or a venue with its own personality and themed decor? Knowing the answers to all these questions (and items 1 and 2) will direct the venue search.

4. Prioritize your wedding date. Look at other events or celebrations that are happening in your lives or in the general geographic vicinity and rank your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choice of wedding weekend or date. The more flexibility there is with the date, the more options you have for venue and vendors.

5. Hire a planner. Choose a wedding planner or coordinator before signing any other contracts. They can help you save time, stay on budget, and savor the moment. Even if you’re just seeking assistance with direction and coordination on the wedding day, having a planner in place at the start of the process will help when making decisions. They can provide recommendations for reputable vendors, give you questions to ask to evaluate them, and help think through logistics that will become critical on the wedding day.

Nadia S. Anderson is a CPA, certified wedding and event planner with nearly 25 years of experience, the owner of Virginia Grace Event Management, and Lavender Hill, an intimate wedding venue in the Monument Avenue Park neighborhood. To learn more about how she can help you create stress free wedding memories, please visit www.vagraceevents.com, or schedule a tour of the venue at www.experiencelavenderhill.com.