Engaged! Now come the first steps in planning your wedding

By Joan Hunt - Managing Editor
Region - posted Fri., Feb. 18, 2011
Now that he has popped the question, the fun begins of planning your wedding.
Now that he has popped the question, the fun begins of planning your wedding.

The stars have barely begun to clear from the eyes of most brides-to-be before their thoughts turn to the daunting prospect of planning a wedding. While experts may disagree about the order in which to proceed, most will suggest – especially in today’s economy – that the bride and her beau should first decide how much money they can afford to spend on their wedding, as this will determine so many of the other factors.
Many are the parents who, when the smoke clears, lament that they could have put a down payment on the couple’s house for the expense incurred by just one special day in their lives. Practical couples, and especially those who are paying for their own nuptials, may want to consider an intimate gathering of close friends and family, so they will have money left to start up housekeeping. Others may insist on that once-in-a-lifetime fairy tale wedding.
Once the budget is decided upon, it is a good idea to pick a wedding date, as clothing, wedding and reception venues and availability of guests will all depend on that. If the couple has their heart set on a certain venue for the reception, this can sometimes affect the wedding date, as some of the more popular venues are booked a full year or more in advance. Obviously, if an outdoor or beach wedding is planned, the season is not optional, but the couple will want to be sure that important guests will not be away on vacation on the day they have picked.
If you are planning a destination wedding, it would be wise to make sure family and close friends will not be strapped by the expense, and you will need to find accommodations for the wedding party, and so on. Planning a wedding from a distance might also require the services of a wedding planner, so locating one of these professionals would be a good first step in that direction.
As you begin to announce your engagement to family, friends and the newspapers, it is a good idea to choose your wedding party. That way, you will not be swept away by the affections and excitement of those who are close to you, all of whom may assume they are in the group. This can be difficult, and it is an area where feelings become hurt easily, so some thought needs to go into these selections.
Another of the first things you may want to decide on is whether the wedding is to be formal or informal. Usually this will dictate the time of the ceremony, as well, with formal weddings most often taking place in the late afternoon or early evening. Wedding attire, flowers, accommodations for the reception, music and many other details flow naturally from the degree of formality the couple chooses for their wedding.
With these major decisions out of the way, the newly-engaged couple can settle into a comfortable routine of knocking off wedding-related plans as they go along – while enjoying the person with whom they have just decided to spend the rest of their life.

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