Newly Engaged and Eager to Start Wedding Planning?

Newly Engaged and Eager to Start Wedding Planning?

The question was popped; the answer was yes; now you’re finally engaged! It’s only natural to want to jump into wedding planning without a backward glance. After all, you’ve got a million ideas for the perfect wedding. You’ve known for sure since childhood that you want your bridesmaids in pink dresses. And you just saw the perfect orchid tiara last week in a bridal magazine. You’re sure you can get your favorite Greek restaurant to host your rehearsal dinner. Every instinct in you screams to pick up the phone and start dialing wedding vendors right away.

But if you’re like many couples, your wedding isn’t next week. Maybe you’ve got a year or two–or even three–to wait before you reach the big date. With eager ideas and inspiration buzzing in your head, how do you scratch that wedding planning itch so far in advance?

Book the Most Important Vendors First

Starting to think about booking vendors now isn’t necessarily such a bad idea. If your wedding date is more than a year out, you’ve already got an advantage over other couples by starting early. You’ll be able to jump on your favorite venues and vendors as you discover them, and chances are they won’t yet be booked. Plus, if you want to get married on a special date (like Valentine’s Day or the winter holidays), or at an in-demand place (since some small, trendy venues have several-year waiting lists), you’ll get a leg up on the competition by reserving vendors now.

There are, however, a few drawbacks to starting your wedding planning frenzy too early. The main one is that locking down vendors and venues too soon doesn’t just mean they’re committed to you; it also works in reverse. When you book a DJ a year in advance, only to find one you like better a few months down the road, you can accumulate hefty cancellation fees while you’re putting together your vendor dream team.

It’s important to book your most essential vendors first, then wait until you’ve gotten all of the logistical information before booking additional vendors. What happens if you book a top-name DJ now, only to find out your venue doesn’t allow amplified music? Or what if you book the garden venue of your dreams, only to realize that your officiant won’t perform the ceremony outside of a church? What if you pay top dollar to reserve your favorite photographer, videographer, and wedding planner, only to get locked into using your venue’s staff as part of an all-inclusive package? Ask questions first; sign contracts second.

Don’t Dress Shop Too Early

One of the most exciting parts of anticipating a wedding is choosing the bridal gown. But whatever you do, don’t go clothes shopping yet. Buying wedding gowns, tuxedoes, and bridesmaid dresses too soon is a recipe for expensive disaster if anyone in your bridal party gains or loses weight in the year before your wedding. Plus, the longer you have to store expensive formalwear items in your closet, the higher your chances become of accidentally damaging them.

If you’re overly eager to start wedding dress shopping, visit stores and scour the web–but leave your wallet in your pocket. The more time you take with the research stage of your gown search, the more different styles you can try on and the more you can narrow down your fashion scope and budget. Don’t actually commit to a dress until five to seven months before your big date. (The exceptions to this rule are one-of-a-kind dresses, antiques, and unbelievably cheap, limited-time offers that require spur-of-the-moment decisions.)

Have a Clear DIY Idea

Feeling creative? Everyone’s seen the amazing decorations crafty brides and grooms have made out of wine corks or rolled paper. It seems simple, in theory–so you start hoarding bags and bags of materials with the intention to “make something amazing.” However, collecting supplies is just one part of craft-making. The much harder part is knowing exactly what you’ll do with them.

Resist the temptation to hoard DIY supplies before you have a clear idea of what you’re making (unless you live in a gigantic warehouse, that is). You may collect hundreds of empty wine bottles from all of your friends, only to decide at the last minute that the centerpieces you were planning on creating are too labor intensive and you’ve lost all your garage space for nothing.

If you can’t shake the DIY itch and you want to get started making wedding items now, focus on non-perishable items like silk flower arrangements, crocheted favors, and origami decorations. If you’re limited on storage space, why not try your hand at designing wedding invitations and announcements? Digital creative projects don’t take up any more shelf space than your computer, and if you don’t like what you create, you can always ditch it and buy professional ones with no money wasted on supplies.

Embrace Intangible Planning

While it may not be appropriate to start arranging fresh-cut roses just yet, you don’t have to put your wedding planning enthusiasm on hold. Instead, try to embrace the more intangible aspects of wedding planning–like browsing wedding websites and collecting all of the images that inspire you in one place. You’ll be able to show these to your vendors later to give them a good idea of your dream wedding vision. Don’t forget the most fun part of anticipating a wedding, either–getting a head start on that “honeymoon period” with your nearly-wed spouse!