8 Practical Planning Tips for Newly
By Lorna Urwin

02 January 2017

Just got engaged? Congratulations! It’s a truly exciting time – be sure to take the time to enjoy and celebrate it before settling into full planning mode. But when you are ready to navigate the wonderful world of wedding planning, we’ve got your back with these must-read tips for starting the process off right!

1/ Tackle it together

newly engaged

Image by Patina Photography

It may sound trite, but remember that your wedding day should first and foremost be a reflection of both of you and your unique relationship. Try to keep this in mind throughout all the different stages of planning: 

  • Look to each other and your relationship to guide the planning rather than absorbing things that worked for other people. (What best represents you, or what things or places are most meaningful to you and your story? What wedding style is a natural fit for you as a couple?)
  • The wedding should ideally be a shared vision. Make sure you have a clear idea of each other’s priorities and preferred approaches by establishing excellent communication at every step of the process!
  • Distribute tasks evenly, whether according to interest or split down the middle. Be sure to share details and decisions with each other to maintain a sense of joint responsibility and prevent any confusion or duplication of work.

2/ Don’t forget to dream

newly engaged

Image by Kyle Goldie at Luma Weddings

As essential as it is to pin down the budget early on in the planning process (see below!), indulging in a bit of dreaming before you start to feel restricted by real world figures, logistics and expectations can be really illuminating.

  • Sit down with your fiancé and start putting your individual dreams on paper, then swap with each other and compare notes. Be as clear and honest as you can and keep an open mind to your partner’s ideas.
  • Try to come up with a ‘big picture’ version of the wedding, blending both of your ideals together by looking for common themes and ways to compromise where you differ. 
  • Being careful not to get too attached to specifics, note your vision down. Highlight your highest priorities and the areas where you’re more flexible. This should give a rough idea of where you’re going to spend your money, which will come in very handy for the next step!

3/ Planning starts with the budget

newly engaged

Image by Krista Fox

Budgeting is hardly the most glamorous of tasks, but its importance to every aspect of wedding planning cannot be overstated! Put yourself in the best possible position by organising this ASAP and certainly before setting your heart on any wedding particulars. (The fun stuff is just around the corner, we promise!)

  • Have the money discussion early. Gather your fiancé and any other contributing family members. Make decisions about your own budget, and invite input from others as to how much they will contribute, whether this is a fixed amount or payment for specific parts of the day.
  • Once you know how much is available to you, budgeting is all about carefully tracking expenses. Start a system early, and include columns for estimated cost, actual cost and deposits, as well as leaving space for notes. Don’t forget to budget for little extras (things like vendor tips, clothing alterations or stamps for your envelopes) from the start to avoid being hit by surprise or hidden costs!
  • Some couples find it useful to keep a separate wedding bank account. This can allow you to keep a closer eye on outgoings.

4/ Sort the guest list early

newly engaged

Image by Joel Serrato

After the budget, it’s the guest list that will be most influential on the direction the wedding takes. The guest count will directly impact your venue choice, as well as the atmosphere and cost of the wedding (per head expenses will increase the larger the event). 

  • If your parents are involved in the planning, they may want input on the guest list too. 
  • Don’t forget to include you and your fiancé in the final count! 

5/ Make a plan

newly engaged

Images by Love and Light Photographs

As with any large-scale project, planning is easiest when the event is broken down into manageable tasks and plotted on a timeline or calendar. 

  • There are plenty of pre-made checklists and plans online or in wedding publications, so don’t feel the need to reinvent the wheel with your plan.
  • However, a one-size-fits-all plan might not be the best for your circumstances. Remember to consider how your wedding planning will fit around other things going on in your life and tailor it accordingly.
  • Keep your plans editable. It’s inevitable that at least some things will move around! 

7/ Be an organisation pro

newly engaged

Images by Jose Villa Photography and Jodee Debes

Wedding planning comes with plenty of things that require filing or tracking - menus, stationery samples, receipts, contracts, correspondence, schedules, RSVPs. Keep on top of these by creating an organised wedding folder for all the pieces of paper ephemera.

  • These days, much of your organisation will be done online. Keep on top of the electronic organisation as well as the paper! Make use of tools like Pinterest and use spreadsheets for tracking guest RSVPs. Setting up a dedicated email address for wedding planning can also be a useful organisation tactic, to save important details getting lost in piles of personal email.
  • Set up and maintain a contact list for all your vendors, including the name of the person you’re liaising with, contact numbers and any other useful details.
  • Depending on how you work best and the length of your engagement, it can be useful to carve out time to focus on wedding planning each week, usually just one or two days. This allows you to mentally compartmentalise the wedding so you’re not constantly in planning mode!

8/ Take breaks and savour being engaged

newly engaged

Image by Bohemian Simplicity

Lastly, remember that being engaged isn’t just a limbo period before you become husband and wife – it’s also a fun and magical time in its own right, and a fleeting one at that! If you find yourselves getting overwhelmed with planning stress, be sure to shift your focus back to what it’s really about – the two of you and your future together. Take plenty of fun breaks, enjoy each other’s company, and savour life as an engaged couple!