You’re Engaged! Now What??

The winter months are the most popular time for engagements to occur. Falling snow and fireside romance, not to mention three holidays, especially the one devoted to love, result in the betrothal of many couples. This is a very exciting time, but excitement can easily turn to stress with the realization that a wedding now needs to be planned. So now what? Here are the first five things a couple should do after the big announcement is made to immediate friends and family.

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Enjoy the Moment It’s unavoidable: the moment you announce your engagement, you will be inundated with questions from friends and family. When is the date? Where are you getting married? What is your colour scheme? Unless you actually know the answer to these questions, your reply can simply be “All in good time. We are just enjoying the moment right now.” Savour this time! If you are already plagued by sleepless nights going over all the details you will have to plan, take a step back and relax. Start the planning process when it feels right, and enjoy the big step that you and your partner have just taken together in your relationship.

Think about the Date After you have enjoyed the beginning of your engagement, it’s time to think about a date. You don’t have to pick the exact date (as this might change when the time comes to select your venue), but it’s good to get an idea of the year and season. Most engagements are around a year, but talk it over with your partner to make sure you are on the same page. Think about your favourite season, and this will guide you to select the month you desire to get married in and then to narrow in on the date.

Create an Inspiration Board There is an overwhelming amount of inspiration out there for weddings, and finding a direction can be tricky. My advice is to collect images that speak to you and organize them in one spot. Find images that evoke your senses and make you smile. Try not to focus too much on establishing a theme; your vision is something that will happen organically. Some great resources for organizing your ideas are Pinterest, The Inspiration Board, and The Knot. Or perhaps you prefer the route of a physical board that you can pin pictures, fabrics, and ideas to and treasure as a keepsake after the wedding.

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Establish a Rough Budget The average cost of a wedding in Canada in 2013, according to a recent posting by Weddingbells Magazine, which surveyed 2,200 brides and brides-to-be, is $32,358. But what does that mean for you? It’s important that you and your partner look at your financial situation and create a budget that makes sense for you and won’t put you debt. A big factor to take into consideration is if you will have help from parents. If they haven’t let you know already, it might be time to ask tactfully. Think about approximately how many guests you want to have, as this will be the major indication of the cost of your wedding. If you haven’t already, start a savings and plan so you can afford your dream wedding while avoiding financial stress down the line. Keep in mind that your budget may have to adjust, but a useful first step is to establish how much you have to work with.

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Hire a Planner I may be slightly biased when it comes to this step, but I am a true believer that every couple not only deserves their dream, stress-free wedding day but also deserves to enjoy the planning process. With the average wedding taking 250 hours to plan, a planner will undoubtedly help ease the stress and guide you in the direction of your ideal wedding. With the numerous details that need to be discussed, decided upon, and executed, a planner will map out a checklist in an organized fashion, allowing you and your partner to relish all the fun decisions. Booking a venue is the first big decision, and it’s helpful to have a planner on board already, as she will have insights and knowledge of venues and options you may not even be aware of. A wedding planner is like a friend who never gets tired of talking about your wedding, someone you can bounce ideas off, and a professional who will enable you to achieve a wedding that truly reflects you and your partner.

By Certified Wedding Planner Alexandra McNamara

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