So You’re Engaged, Now What?

So a little bit of personal news: about a month ago, I got engaged! It was totally out of the blue and was amazing — I could go on forever about it. Up until this point, I always thought I’d elope but a few days into my newfound engagement, I realized that my mind had changed.

To back it up a bit, a wedding to me always seemed like a colossal waste of money. I’m not a mushy romantic type and I never spent time picturing my dream wedding. But the moment our engagement sunk in, I realized that I wanted to celebrate with my closest friends and family, preferably over a meal and with music. And with our families living on different coasts, we knew we’d have to celebrate with them twice! So… after weeks of debating, writing pros and cons lists, and real talk money crunching we decided the best way forward and to celebrate our next stage in life would be to have a wedding!

So now what?

Step 1. Budget, budget and budget some more. What can you realistically pay for? For us, we didn’t want our wedding to significantly affect our day-to-day life so right off the bat, we knew exactly what financial range we were looking at and could afford. And with that number in mind, we moved on to securing our first vendor: the venue!

Step 2. Figure out where and when the celebration takes place. If your budget is a priority then keep in mind certain days and months are more expensive than others: High season typically lasts from May to October and is significantly more expensive than the winter months — but how gorgeous are winter weddings?! Friday and weekends during the high season are also more expensive than the other days of the week. You can also typically get a discount if you book the same place for both the ceremony and reception (the more you know!). Once you’ve decided on a venue, book it ASAP and pay your 50% non-refundable deposit! This was one of the biggest surprises for me: I had no idea venues booked up so far in advance. I must have looked at 50+ places in the Lower Mainland and at least 10 of them were already booking into 2019.

Step 3. Hire a photographer. I struggled the most with this as I was researching. There are so many talented photographers with so many styles and approaches to wedding photography. The key thing I learned however is to keep your vision in mind and to find a person that matches it to a T — no compromising. I also had the biggest sticker shock with this — standard wedding packages start at $3,000!– but photography (and editing the 1000+ photos afterwards) is a skilled art form, and these are the people who will be capturing permanent memories of one of the happiest days of your life. So in my mind, it’s a financial sacrifice worth making.

Step 4. Figure out the most important part (for us) aka the food and drink. There are so many talented caterers within the Lower Mainland that at first glance, it was too overwhelming to handle. Luckily I ended up getting recommendations for 6-8 different caterers from friends who had fabulous service; from there I was able to set up initial calls with them to walk them through my vision for the day, my budget and all of our dietary dreams.

Step 5. …. I don’t know yet!

Seriously, I actually haven’t made it any further. But I think that’s a solid accomplishment for five weeks in! I’ll be taking you along the journey, with all the highs and lows (and sticker shock!). From where to try your hand at DIY to when you should leave it with the pros, I’ll be chronicling my journey on this (almost) year long wedding planning journey… so keep your eyes peeled! Any topics you want me to cover? Let me know in the comments below.

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