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Getting engaged is a whirlwind, trust us! From the moment your partner pops the question to the thrilling day you get to tell your loved ones the news in person. It can be easy to let the excitement overcome you, I mean you have waited all this time for this exact moment! Being engaged is such a special and memorable time in life. There is truly nothing like looking forward to walking down the aisle to the love of your life. With all of the emotion of what to look forward to, it is important to consider what your top priorities should be after getting engaged. The process of what comes next is generally the same for all couples, but some may want some more time than others to relish in the joy of being a fiancé and slowly move along in the wedding planning process. When you are ready to start thinking about the next steps, and answering those 1,000 questions you’ve undoubtedly been asked, our suggestions below may be the best starting point for checking things off of  your list.



  • How long would you like your engagement to be?


This question may be the easiest one to answer straightaway. Some couples may be looking for a 1 year engagement, the ideal time to plan a wedding at home or in destination. On the other hand, there are many couples out there who are in no hurry, and may have other life commitments such as education, a future job change, or littles ones that take top priority for time and financial commitments.



  • Is there a particular or special date you are hoping to be married on?


This of course is going to navigate your decision making too! If you’ve dreamed of a quirky date like being married on Leap Day, or having your dating anniversary land on the perfect summer Saturday, your wedding planning and budgeting may very well revolve around this.



  • How many guests are you estimating?


While this seems odd to consider right at the start, it is really important! The total number of guests is ultimately going to determine two very important things: one being your actual wedding venue, and the other the wedding budget itself in total. You’ll want a firm grasp of about how many people you think would attend or be invited. After all, you don’t want to fall in love with a venue that holds 150 guests if you are thinking 200 may join. In regards to your wedding budget, the total number of guests is going to determine the total cost of everything from food and beverage to décor rental.



  • What are the parameters of your wedding budget for expenses?


Yup, this question. I know, it’s a tough one. It’s the one that no one enjoys talking about. Let’s be honest for a moment here, weddings are expensive. Whether you are getting married in destination or in a rural barn, you’re likely going to invest a good chunk of change. Have ‘the talk’ with your families and your partner right away. Remember that today, tradition is tough to carry on and even more challenging to navigate through. Who pays for what can vary greatly across family to family and couple to couple. Go into each conversation with patience, understanding, and gratitude. Any financial help a family member is able to give is truly a gift. If finances are tight, consider asking for assistance with their time or talents to make your special day memorable. If you’re struggling with how to get started with formulating what you can afford for a wedding, begin by talking with your partner openly about savings, budgeting, income, expenses, and expectations. Your goals for the future also play a big part in this as well. For example, if buying a home or traveling extensively is your top goal in the next year or so, this might greatly impact your overall budget.



  • Where do you want to be married?


Married in Mexico or married in Milwaukee? To get started, I suggest making a list of top options: Eloping, Destination Wedding, Local Wedding, or Local Destination Wedding. You and your partner will likely decide very quickly which one fits your vision the best. Having a firm idea of the where will help you navigate to the when and how much questions above. Of course, if you are considering a destination wedding we hope you’d contact us to get you started!



  • What is more important to you, time of year or cost?


While it may seem a bit repetitive to the questions above, this is still a great one and offers a new perspective. True both locally and in destination, the time of year will generally dictate the cost. For local US weddings, we know that peak wedding season usually lays between May-October in many areas. The pricing for weddings during these months tend to be high compared to November-April. In contrast, couples considering hosting a destination wedding should also remember that while the cost of the wedding itself is generally the same throughout the year at all destinations, the cost of travel does vary. Travel is traditionally most expensive from Christmas through Easter week and over any major holiday. If you are looking to save some serious cash, it is suggested to keep an open mind to being married in the off season wherever it may be.



  • When did you get engaged?


When you got engaged can really determine a lot! It really sets the stepping stones for how fast or slow you may be able to go in terms of planning. For instance, if you get engaged in April, planning and successfully executing a wedding for September of that same year may be a bit of a stretch. The biggest factor aside from financial capabilities, is that most dates are going to be reserved already. As a general rule of thumb, we see peak wedding dates for both destination weddings and local weddings get reserved about 12-14 months in advance. Another example of this might be, if you get engaged over the holiday season, consider looking two peak seasons from now. Many couples who become engaged at Christmas of 2018 are likely considering summer of 2020 for their big day. As with everything, planning is key!

Cover Photography: DeGroot Film Co.