The day you have been waiting for has finally come; you're engaged! Yay, it's time to celebrate.

Step 1: Pop open a bottle of champagne, wine, sparkling grape juice, etc. and share cheers with your now fiancé!
Step 2: Call all of your family and friends to share the good news! (They're going to FREAK!)
Step 3: Attempt to take the perfect picture of your ring and a selfie of you two to capture the memory!
Step 4: Post that memory on social media and announce it to the world!
Step 5: Spend the next two weeks (or longer) re-telling the engagement story over and over again while holding out your hand to everyone you know as they gaze at your new rock!
Step 6: .... what now? ....

The most common phrase I hear from a bride or groom reaching out to me is, "I just don't know where to begin and how to start the planning." There are many factors and components that go into planning a wedding and getting started can be the hardest and most stressful part. But it doesn't have to be … that’s what planners are here for!

I always tell anyone who is beginning the planning process that the three big items to start with are your budgetguest list and venue.

Your budget is the most important because that determines everything: the vendors and type of venue you can have, the season, your head count, etc. I recommend that couples sit down and determine their overall wedding budget. From there, list the order of importance for each component and vendor. For example, if you would like to have a large wedding with lots of guest but don't really mind if the food is fancy, then rate your guest count higher and catering lower. If you feel that pictures are very important but you don't want to spend thousands of dollars on a dress, then rate photographer higher and wedding dress lower... and so on and so forth. This will help divide up the budget and show where to spend a little more and where to be more conservative. It also helps to go ahead and do some research on vendor averages. When couples begin planning, it can be somewhat of a sticker-shock.

After you have your budget somewhat in order, start jotting down your guest list. This will help determine how many guests you plan on inviting and how many guests your budget allows you to invite. This will also help you narrow down venues, as most have a maximum capacity. Some costs are fixed (like the photographer, venue, coordinator, DJ and officiant) but a lot of costs are based on head count. The more guests that attend, the costlier it becomes. Think about it … all rentals (tables, chairs, linens, tableware), flowers (centerpieces and decor), food, beverages, cake, stationary, mailings, favors, etc. are based on headcount so this factor goes hand in hand with budget.

Once your budget is somewhat in order and you have a headcount in mind, the next big step is booking your venue! Having these two completed and noted for your venue will really help narrow down your options. There are a ton of venues around but a lot of them book up a year or more in advance (at least in the Charlotte area), so it is important to do this early.

When you check budget, headcount and venue off of your “wedding to do list,” you should feel more relaxed and a rush of excitement might come over you! Your wedding just got real. 

If you are lost and overwhelmed during or after these three big "starter" items, hire a wedding coordinator! You can ask anyone who has ever planned a wedding, there are million decisions to be made and a million options for each. We can really help to make the entire experience pleasant, fun, relaxing and cost-efficient.


Still looking for a wedding planner? Contact Caroline at Mint to Be Weddings today by clicking here.