by Lisa Beth Miller
Newly engaged? Congratulations! You are going to be a busy woman for the next several months, so take a deep breath and get ready to get organized!
Soon after you get engaged, you will need to start a wedding notebook or folder. Create a system for organizing your notes, contacts, and ideas in one place! You could include sections on catering, music, gowns, etc.
At this point, you also need to establish what your budget will be and what type of event you will be planning. For example, will your wedding be formal or informal, indoors or outdoors, large or small? Is there a special theme you’d like to incorporate? Will the event be held during the day or in the evening? In your hometown or at a far-away location?
Now is the time to really brainstorm and create a plan for your event that is both unique and feasible. Take the time to investigate all of your options as you gather ideas and information!
Nine to twelve months before the wedding, you will need to be sure you have set your date. Be sure to get input from both families before officially booking the wedding location and/or reception venue.
If by this point you are feeling at all overwhelmed, it may be a good time to hire a wedding planner to assist with the process of making the wedding your perfect day. If you decide that you would rather not hire a wedding planner, you need to research vendors (photographers, cake bakers, DJ’s, florists, etc.). This research can be done online, by making phone calls, or (best of all) simply by asking your acquaintances for recommendations.
Now is also a good time to check marriage license requirements for your state, select a wedding officiant, and inquire about pre-marriage requirements (such as classes or counseling).
Also start making a preliminary list of guests that will be invited to your event.
Who will your attendants be? Do you and your fiancée agree upon how many attendants you will each select? Serving as a bridesmaid or groomsman is a huge honor and responsibility; you owe it to your attendants to invite them to participate as early as possible!
Now is also the appropriate time to create a wedding website and announce your engagement to the local newspapers if desired.
Guess what? Now is also the best time to start shopping for your gown! It takes about six to nine months for a wedding gown to arrive once ordered, plus you need to allow ample time for alterations! Make an appointment with your bridal boutique in advance so that they can reserve the Bridal Room just for you and offer you as much personal assistance as possible!
When you arrive to your first bridal gown shopping appointment, be open-minded and don’t be afraid to try on different styles! If you feel overwhelmed by your choices, ask for help in selecting a variety of styles. This will help you to limit your choices (for example, you may discover that a ball gown makes you feel like a princess or a sheath dress makes you feel glamorous). Once you decide upon a dress style that fits your personality, it will be easier to select other dresses to try on.