Did you go on Facebook this weekend? If you did, you may have noticed that nearly every other newsfeed status was a new engagement springing to life. After all, according to Facebook data, Christmas Eve is the most popular day to get engaged, followed by Christmas Day. For those lovebirds, once the initial shock of becoming engaged wears off, several decisions will need to be made. Here are the 6 most important decisions that kick off wedding planning!
Set a Timetable
The minute you get engaged, everyone will be asking for the wedding date. It’s inevitable. But in reality, you won’t be able to set an exact date until other major decisions are made – like selecting and contracting with a venue. Yes, there are some couples that have a very specific date in mind and will get married at any venue that can accommodate them, but for the most part venue selection trumps ideal date choice.
There are a few other aspects to take into consideration as well, such as what season to be married in. The average engagement lasts about 14 months, however if you have your heart set on a fall wedding this 2017 – you better jump quickly. Dates are filling fast! October quickly picking up speed as one of the most popular months to get married in the Midwest (it used to be June!).
Set Your Budget
We love when freshly engaged coupled call Kahn’s Catering to begin gathering information to plan their wedding, but we have learned that most couples contact us without setting a budget first. This number will affect every decision and purchase you make (other than guest count), most notably because you’ll want to consider things you can actually afford. It can be an uncomfortable conversation to have with family members, but its better to get it out of the way now.
Draft a Guest List
Trust us, the number of guests you want to invite combined with your budget are the two most important numbers you’ll contend with when making decisions for your wedding. If you have a particular ceremony or reception space in mind, for example, you’re going to be limited by how many people the venue can accommodate. Would you rather have quality one-on-one time with each guest or throw a once-in-a-lifetime party for your friends and family?
Keep in mind that more guests means higher prices, as catering costs are generally calculated on a per-person basis. Your budget has a large influence on the size of your guest list. The average catering cost per wedding guest in 2015 was $68 per person. Use this is a good rule of thumb to develop your food and beverage budget, just remember that this doesn’t include taxes, service charge, or any rentals.
Insure Your Engagement Ring
No matter how careful you are, the peace of mind that engagement ring insurance will give you and your fiancé is worth it. There are two ways to do this: As an extension to your renter or homeowner’s policy, or through a company that specializes in jewelry insurance.
Book a Venue (and Set Your Date)
Your reception venue will become the backdrop for virtually all of your photos and can influence everything from heavy hitters like your budget and guest list to small details like your menu. Ensure that you get the look, price and extras you want by scouring local listings, shopping around, and scheduling visits to book early. The big winner here? You sign your venue contract, you have your wedding date (congrats!)
Hire Priority Vendors
If you just can’t image your wedding photos taken by anyone other than your favorite wedding photographer – get on that. Act fast to secure the vendors you know that you cannot envision yourself being married without. Many top wedding photographers and in-demand vendors like bands and entertainment are hired more than a year in advance, and once they are booked they are gone. Figure out what your highest wedding priorities are, whether it’s world-class catering or exquisite flowers and snap up the vendors whose work you love.