Engaged? Now what?

photography by Simply Sarah Photography 

photography by Simply Sarah Photography 

Congratulations on your engagement! This time is likely very exciting but can also be a bit overwhelming and you may be wondering where do I go from here?

Cue the experts at Desired & Inspired! Below are the recommended first steps compiled by our expert wedding and event planners:

1. Put together a guest list. Determining how many guests will attend your wedding is pertinent, as this will dictate both the venue selection and budget. Instead of allowing each family member an unlimited amount of invites, set parameters so everyone is on the same page. 

2. Your guest list is set, now let's talk budget. This is the not-so-fun but important part of the planning process. What is the maximum you are comfortable spending? Once you have determined this, you can hire the D&I experts to put together a custom budget that breaks down allocations for each vendor. This will then help you to understand which venues you can look at and what you should be spending where. 

3. Before contacting vendors, try to envision what you are looking to achieve on your wedding day and what vibe you want. Do you want a formal sit down dinner with dance sets in between, a giant cocktail party overlooking the water, or an unconventional backdrop that your guests will be impressed by? Make a list of your priorities and only contact venues that fit within your max guest list, budget, and overall aesthetic. Choosing a venue that works with vs. against your design style is the smartest decision you can make during the planning process and will help  stretch your budget further. 

4. Now set up site visits. During these walk throughs, make sure you understand all venue costs that could apply to you, so you can best assess the overall venue costs. 

5. Once the venue has been selected, start to think through the other vendors you want to work with and start with the ones that book up quickly (i.e. photographers, bands, catering). 

6. Once they key vendors have been booked, move onto establishing your design. Don't just scour Pinterest for wedding related inspiration but be sure to look to non-wedding magazines, websites, etc. for more unique and unexpected ideas. 

7. After your design is established, book a florist that gets you. Yes, every florist can work with any design but you will find that certain vendors gel better with your ideas than others. Go with the designer you feel most closely fits your aesthetic, budget, and personal approach to planning. 

8. Save the dates should go out 6-8 months prior to your wedding (and sometimes further in advance if your wedding is destination). Start to think about your design and wording and what stationer can best bring your vision to life. 

9. From here, continue to move through the planning process and book vendors that understand your vision and can work with your budget. 

For more of a custom checklist for your entire planning period, see our 'wedding checklist' on the purchase page. Happy planning!