You're Engaged: One Year Out
You're coming down from that newly-engaged glow; you've popped the champagne and shown off the sparkle, and now it's time to get down to planning-business. Over the next few months, we'll be breaking down a full wedding planning timeline for you + giving you hints to make the planning process easier. Today, we're talking about what you should be doing one-year out from your wedding to keep you on track for your big day.
Get Organized. Let's face it - weddings have the potential to be one big logistics nightmare. With so many moving parts (and people!) being organized from the get-go is absolutely paramount. We suggest setting up an email address specifically for your big day (ex: firstname.lastname@example.org) that you can direct all of your wedding related emails to. Here, you can drill down even further and create folders for each vendor or wedding-related event.
Set a budget. Here's where it's time to be brutally honest with yourself and your fiancé - you should never worry about driving yourself into debt to celebrate your nuptials! Figure out who is contributing to your wedding budget (just you and your fiancé? his parents? yours?) to determine a total budget and then start breaking it down into categories (ALD couples have access to an amazing budgeting tool using our client portal!). Keep in mind that categories can grow or shrink depending on what is important to you and your groom. A sample budget may look like this:
Reception (catering, rentals, venue, cake): 50%
Photography + Videography: 10%
Decore & Flowers: 10%
Invitations + Guest Details: 5%
Start visioning your wedding vibe. Are you and your beau thinking of a black-tie affair or more of a sunrise ceremony on the beach? This helps set the tone for your wedding style and can help when drawing up potential color palettes. The clearer your vision, the easier it will be for #teamwedding (aka your vendor dream-team) to execute your perfect day within your budget limitations. Keep in mind how you want to feel, not necessarily every specific detail.
Decide the order of importance. Ah - the eternal question - what came first, the venue or the date? Ask yourself, what's more important to you and your fiancé - the wedding date or the venue? If a specific date holds significant meaning to you, it may be more important to select the date first and find a venue that works with that timeframe. If you've been dreaming of getting married at the Plaza since you were 10, you may be more flexible on the date in order to lock down that location. Keep your VIPs and family in mind as you setup your wedding timeline, being sure to double check that the date works for those who you can't imagine not being at your wedding.
Create your wedding website. The wedding website is a relatively new part of the planning process, but is really a wonderful space to provide your guests with details for the big day, including registry items and location details in case they forget the invitation on the day-of! We're partial to Squarespace, but there are lots of great, affordable options to set up your wedding website (including The Knot or Wix).
Research and book. Start establishing a list of your priority vendors - the ones you absolutely have to work with (the band from your cousin's wedding or that one photographer you've been Instagram stalking for months) and book them. With a few members of #teamwedding established, start the hunt for the perfect venue for your ceremony and reception. Remember that premier vendors will often have a list of stellar partners that they enjoy working with. Utilize these lists as a starting point if you're not sure where to go from here.
Find your wedding planner. Whether you're looking for day-of execution or a full planning & design, your wedding planner is a crucial part of your wedding dream-team. She'll be there to review contracts, manage guests lists and keep your vendors in order, while helping you and your fiancé maintain sanity and a life outside of your wedding! A great wedding planner can be the smartest investment you make during your planning process.
Still not sure where to start? Nervous about making sure you pull your vision together? Is this list just making you cringe in fear? We're always happy to chat with you about our services and how we can help make your planning process stress-free and enjoyable! Come say hello!
Kaitlynn + Emma