Signature Strategies: You're Engaged! Now What?

Oh my goodness, you're engaged! Congratulations! Enjoy this time, celebrate with family and friends, get a manicure, and take that incredible ring selfie! Go to Target and get all the wedding magazines, read them with friends while drinking wine! Watch all the romantic comedies and have a fabulous engagement party. Then get down to business planning the wedding of your dreams.

The wedding planning process can seem extremely daunting, like there is so much to do, where do you start? But take a deep breath and relax, because Allie and I have got you covered. Here are some tasks to check off of your to-do list early:

1. Size and Insure Your Ring

This is the least exciting part of your wedding planning but in the long run, it may totally save your butt.

2. Brainstorm and Discuss

Sit down with your fiance and discuss your ideal wedding date. What season do you both love? Is there a venue that one of you absolutely must get married at? What are each of your must-haves?

3. Set a Budget

It is so important that you are both on the same page with this one. Sit down with each other and discuss how much you are wanting to spend. Figure out if your families will be contributing to your celebration. Decide on a ballpark budget and if you can afford to hire a planner. A planner can be very helpful with this step because they have the skills to fine-tune your budget and expertise to figure out how much your must-haves will cost. If you have a planner, let them do the math and get back to you with the cost of your must-haves. Then you can allocate the rest of your budget accordingly.

4. Hire a Planner

We may be biased here, but we know that everyone has always wanted their own personal superhero. Your wedding planner will be just that for you on your wedding day! There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes of wedding planning and execution of the big day that brides don't know about, and honestly, it is better that way. Planners have established connections and experience with vendors in the industry to make suggestions for caterers, florists, photographers, etc. They rope in all the details for the day, and ask the questions that you may not think or know to ask.

5. Make Your Guest List

Ask your parents for their ideal guest lists, and ask them to organize it in categories like "must be there" to "would like to invite but won't cry if we don't". Make your ideal guest list and have your fiance do the same. Then compare with your parents lists and estimate how many people total. Keep in mind, this list doesn't have to be set during the early stages of planning, but it will be so helpful to have a rough estimate when looking at venues and caterers.

6. Book A Venue

The venue sets the tone for the entire wedding because it will influence almost every aspect of the wedding. It will be in the background of your pictures, influence the colors of your table linens and florals, and be the first things guests will see. So make sure that you pick a place that has the design and vibe you want for your wedding day. Do you want an intimate, warm space that will allow for a sit down meal, or do you want a modern, lofty feel with stations set up around the room? Schedule visits to possible venues, and go with a list of questions, then book early! Some venues can book a year in advance, especially during peak wedding season.

7. Set A Date

Discussing an ideal date together is in step two and so many people will be asking you "when's the big day!?" But nailing down the exact date may seem like the thing to do, but it's not! We say this because what if you both fall in love with a venue, but the date you have chosen isn't available? The worst right? That being said, decide on a season, then visit venues and be sure to get a calendar of their availability. But if you guys are planning on getting hitched during a busy time of year such as the holidays, be sure to pick your date and send our your save the date cards early enough for people to plan accordingly for your big event.

8. Go Dress Shopping

This is the most fun part of the process! Do your homework first and go in with some knowledge of what style of dress, neckline, fabric, and silhouette you love. That way you won't get overwhelmed by all the options when you go shopping. Be sure to take in the time of year and location when you choose your dress, like for a winter wedding satin is always a good fabric, and for a beach wedding a light chiffon might be better.

9. Book Key Players

Decide on your caterer, florist, band and DJ. And remember, photographers and videographers get booked up quickly, so be sure to book them as early as you can.

10. Enjoy The Process

Being engaged is one of the most exciting times in both of your lives! Be present in your happiness and share it with your friends and family. But most of all, be sure that the two of you stay connected through the process. Don't let stress take precedence. Be sure to laugh and remind each other of why you chose each other in the first place.