There must definitely be something in the water because lately I haven’t been able to log into Facebook without seeing a new engagement on my home feed, but no complaints here- congrats to all of the lucky couples out there that I have the privilege of knowing!

SO you got engaged-NOW WHAT?

After calming down from the initial shock, excitement, tears, et cetera, there are a few things you should really do to kick start the planning process. Take a few tips from the pros and do these things first (after calling your mom that is!)


1. Create a list of the items which rank most important to you

It is important to me to have good food and good music alongside my good company. What is most important to you on your big day? Do you have a dream venue? Do you want your tables flowing with flowers? Will open bar be your biggest expenditure? Write it down, it will come in handy when you are cutting costs on your budget, which trust me-will happen.


2. Book your photographer

Photographers book up quickly, especially during prime season. Checking your photographer off your list is one of the first steps to being prepared for your big day. Be prepared to be turned down, while some vendors can technically duplicate themselves, photographers unfortunately cannot; have a list of your top three photographers to inquire with.

3. Follow your vendors on Social Media

Namely your photographer, florist and planner. You are going to become close with them throughout the entirety of the planning process. Get to know their style, find out what you like about them, use their posts as resources for planning out your day. Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram are your friends, even when you’re trying to get through your work day and you think social media is just an evil distraction that sits on your shoulder calling your name.

4. Utilize Pinterest

Chances are you already use Pinterest and chances are your (dream) wedding board is filled to the brim. Create a new board and tailor down your choices to create something more along the lines of calm, cool and cohesive instead of a multi-colored confetti explosion on the floor. It might take you awhile, but its time (or a weekend) well spent.

TIP: Name your board something other than “Wedding,” especially if you’ll be sharing it with vendors. Having to fish out a board in a sea of “weddings” gets time consuming.


5. Set a (realistic) Budget

Weddings ARE expensive. The average cost of a wedding in Milwaukee is over $25,000.

While there are ways to cut down on your budget, be wary of booking something just because it is “cheap” and you “don’t really care.” You’re setting yourself up for disaster.

While it isn’t necessary to bring in specialty linens, do favors, extravagant invites or blow up that bouncy house, be prepared to spend a pretty penny on a few items-namely food and beverage which around 50% of your budget will go towards.

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TIP:
Thinking of having your wedding at a private residence will cut your costs? You may want to think again. Keep in mind that instead of going to a venue, you’re basically creating one yourself. Not only do you have to bring in a structure, but chairs, tables, flooring, lighting, bathrooms, garbages…the list goes on and on, all has to be brought in.

One last piece of advice that I cannot help but stress is to stay ahead of the game instead of falling behind. Remaining organized and checking items off your to-do list in a timely fashion will not only help you keep track of your budget along the way and not incur unplanned charges at the end of the day, but it will help ensure that you get your “dream items” and above all else, help keep you from becoming a frazzled bride.

-JM