19 Jan

52 Tips for Any Engaged Couple

Congratulations! If you are recently engaged, chances are you’ve heard this at least a hundred times by now. Diving into the planning and details of the big day is certainly one of the more fun aspects of weddings, but before any couple becomes overwhelmed by the choices and infinite possibilities, consider these bits and pieces of advice that we feel every couple should know.


1. Set the date! Make sure you have plenty of time for planning details and coordinating vendors. A wedding checklist may help you keep tasks and timing in order.
2. Outline a budget and stick to it. It may be a difficult conversation to strike up with your parents or your future-In-laws, but it is a necessity. No planning can really happen until you know what your parameters are.
3. Consider the time of day. There may be a time of day that fits your personalities, party style, budget or guest list best.
4. Wedding Party. There is never a time too early to ask and get the commitment of your loved ones to stand with you as you exchange vows.
5. Consider wedding size. Will it be a large bash or a smaller more intimate gathering?
6. Help needed. If you have never planned an event larger than a dinner party, don’t fret and ask loved ones for help as needed.


7. Book in advance. Many venues book up far in advance! (We already have 2018 weddings in the works!) Narrow down a short list and tour your preferred venues with enough time to get your preferred date or location.
8. Travel. Consider the distance between the ceremony and reception, or the hotel and the wedding site. Keeping travel easy and simple is one key to happy guests and a happy couple.
9. Backup plan! Always be sure you arrange for a backup space if you intend for any part of your ceremony or reception to take place outside.
10. Beautiful ‘as is’. If décor isn’t your niche or something that you care heavily about organizing, find a beautiful venue that already has a look you love.
11. Season décor. Many venues will put out décor around the holidays, and at times, other points in the year. Be sure to ask if the venue will be decorated in a special way.
12. Food and drinks. This is the number one thing many guests will remember about any event they attend. Even if a venue has a required caterer, be sure to take time to find trust in confidence in the vendor so that you are not worried about it on the day of your wedding.
13. Consider room flow. Do you plan on having a photo booth? A buffet? A dj or band? You will want space for guests to mix, mingle and move. Will the venue work with what you envision?
14. Ask for referrals! Ask your venue for the recommended vendor list. These will be professionals that have worked with the venue so they will be best prepared for that location and can also give you a review of the venue and its services.


Photo by Jennifer Driscoll Photography

Guest List
15. Talk about it. Sooner rather than later too. It’s a conversation that should happen not long after getting engaged and before you begin searching for a venue or planning elements of your day. Establishing a guest list can get very complicated if you don’t set parameters, but most importantly your estimated guest count will guide many decisions.
16. Traveling guests? Be sure clear directions are given to be sure your guests arrive to your ceremony and reception without issue. Consider hiring a shuttle to transport guests from the hotel to the reception space if you have several out-of-towners.
17. Discuss family needs. Who will you want involved in the ceremony, reception, etc.? Set clear expectations from the beginning.
18. Keep people in the loop. A wedding website is a great way to post important details that your guests will need to know.
19. Hotels. It’s always nice for the couple to set up hotel options and blocks of rooms for the guests.
20. Welcome basket. Traveling guests that stay at the hotel will greatly appreciate the gesture of a small welcome basket that includes a few treats and information about the location they are visiting. This is a great way to share fun things to do in Indianapolis to fill their time when they are not at the ceremony and reception.


21. Discuss budget EARLY. Planning a wedding can be expensive and you will need to outline what you’re willing to spend and is realistic.
22. Who’s contributing? Give family members a chance to help financially however they feel comfortable.
23. Prioritize. Decide what is most important and plan your budget accordingly so you don’t overspend on low-priority items.
24. Contingency fund. There will always be little things that pop up and costs that are easily forgotten (like postage for invitations!) that are left off of your original budget.
25. Gratuity. If you intend to give a gratuity to any vendor, be sure you plan ahead for it. Remember, gratuity is never expected or required.
26. Gifts. Many couples give gifts to special people participating in their wedding such as their parents and attendants. Be sure that is figured into the overall wedding budget and can be planned for appropriately.
27. Establish a range. When speaking with vendors, have a budget range in mind. This may eliminate some vendors before you get too far into your research and planning.
28. Beware of DIY. While this may seem like an attractive cost saving option up front, trial and error can cost you. Before you DIY, have a solid sense of what you are creating and what it will cost. DIY expenses can add up quickly.


Photo by Susana Tanner Photography

The Ceremony
29. Select and officiant. Easily forgotten in the grand scheme of things at times, but one of the most vital parts of the entire day! Does your ceremony location provide one (example: your home church), or do you need to find one of your own?
30. Marital counseling. Are there any requirements your officiant requires before you walk down the aisle?
31. Get your marriage license. Incredibly necessary because the ceremony won’t happen without one! Don’t wait till the last minute as you might forget to get one all together. Apply at the Clerk’s Office in the county where you plan to file.
32. Consider the feel. Will the ceremony be formal or not? Will you provide your own music? If so, what type?
33. Timing. Length of ceremony may be something you want to discuss with your officiant. Religious ceremonies tend to take longer than non-religious nuptials.
34. Vows! Discuss with your fiancé if you will be exchanging traditional vows or writing your own. Don’t wait till the last minute to do this and consider writing them on a nice paper or in a notebook that you can keep forever.
35. Kids or no kids. This can be a pretty big question for many couples. If you prefer guests not to bring children to the ceremony and reception, make sure it is clear. You may even want to have childcare available.
36. Choose your words wisely. Wedding ceremonies are founded from tradition, many taking the same shape as they have for several hundred years. Carefully consider what poems, songs, or readings will be part of your day and make it meaningful.
37. Guestbook. These are most often seen at the reception space, but don’t forget to bring it to the ceremony space first! There may be guests that cannot attend the reception later on. It also allows you to capture a wider segment of your guests.
38. Programs. If you plan on having an nontraditional or longer ceremony, whether it be at a religious or non-religious venue, programs are appreciated by your guests. It’s a nice welcome but also a great way for them to follow along with your service.


Photo by Rouge Image Photography

Reception Considerations
39. Does your caterer… cater? Regardless of your menu, make sure your caterer has options for those with dietary restrictions.
40. Music sets the mood. Create the atmosphere you want right from the beginning of your event. Will a DJ help or is a band more your style?
41. Who’s directing traffic and flow? Understand who the point person is keeping your reception activities on schedule.
42. Favors. Everyone will appreciate a small token to commemorate your day. However, consider making a charitable contribute to your favorite charity instead. Many times, large quantities are favors are forgetting at the reception venue.


Selecting Wedding Vendors
43. Do your research. You want trusted, dependable people and companies you have confidence in so you don’t need to worry and stress on your wedding day.
44. Create a short list. Use the internet, magazines, wedding shows, and recommendations from friends and family to create a good starting point.
45. Hire a professional. If anything about your wedding begins to become overwhelming and you can’t handle it, consider hiring a wedding coordinator for the day of the event or the few months prior to help keep all your ducks in a row.
46. Don’t rush. It may take time to find the right people or companies to handle each task. Keep in mind that it doesn’t all come together instantly.
47. Ask for proof. If you are going for a specific look such as rustic or formal elegance, find vendors that have created the look before and ask to see samples of their work.
48. Use your head. Listen to the recommendations from the vendor, but don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for other options.
49. Face to face meetings. There is a lot that can be accomplished over email and over the phone, but sometimes a face to face meeting is just needed. When you’re planning a wedding you can be juggling a lot and talking in person can help you better plan and understand than an email.


Photo by Nathaniel Edmunds Photography

Remember the Meaning of the Day
50. Plan ahead! Things need to be done prior to the big day so that it can actually be enjoyed! This doesn’t mean finishing up final touches the night before, but having a plan in place so that the few days leading up to the wedding and the day of the event itself can be stress-free and memorable for all.
51. Make time for special people. Set aside specific time for those you are close to during the wedding weekend or the weekend will pass before you realize you didn’t get that extra time.
52. One-on-one time. Plan time with your new spouse amidst the craziness so you can connect with them and

Here’s to you creating the wedding you’ve always dreamed of! Best wishes as you set out on the wedding planning journey!

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