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Complete Article:  The Top 11 "First Things First" After You Get Engaged List .  Sorry, 10 just weren’t quite enough J!

by Krista Dunk, NWweddingplace.com

So you’re engaged – congratulations!  Now what?  Of course each couple and situation is different, but use this information as a general guide to help you figure out the most pressing tasks for wedding planning. 

1.  Pick a wedding date (or approx. date).  What I mean by approximate date, would be for example to start out saying the first weekend in May or the 1st or 2nd Saturday in May.  Certainly you’ll have a date that will be your first choice, but be prepared with a couple other options.  Also read our “Choosing Your Wedding Month in the Northwest” article - HERE.
2.  As a couple, discuss the wedding’s ‘feel’. 
Have a big discussion about what you each envision for your big day, i.e., how many groomsman and bridesmaids to have (and who), how many guests to invite, simple vs. formal, low budget vs. over-the-top, type of reception, small ceremony somewhere else (destination wedding), are you going to give it a theme, etc. You will find out a LOT about each other’s preferences & wants.  OK ladies, we normally have quite a few opinions & wants for our weddings.  Honestly, some men might have only a very short list of things that are important to them.  Incorporate that short list if at all possible.
3.  Secure a ceremony & reception site as soon as possible. 
If your heart is set on a specific wedding location, this is where your approximate wedding date selection may come in.  Between the two of you, you’ll have to decide which is more important – a specific ceremony & reception location or a specific date. One other note about your venue selection is to consider whether you want it indoor or outdoor. Outdoor weddings are a bit risky in the Northwest no matter what month it is!
 
4.  Make a list of must-have services & supplies.
 
For example, photographer, cake, invitations, gown, decorations to some degree, etc., would usually be considered standard.  Then, create a wish-list for additional things you’d like, but may depend on budget ability.
5.  Set a budget.  If this is your first marriage, it’s probably appropriate to talk to parents about wedding finances.  Otherwise, decide how much you’re willing to spend.  Decide where your budget dollars are most important, and which areas can have creative, inexpensive solutions.  Access NWweddingplace.com's free PDF 'Wedding Budget Tracker" file HERE. Need ideas on how to save money?  Visit our cheap-wedding-tips Blog now!
6.  Secure groomsman and bridesmaids. 
Hopefully you’ve already discussed how many you’d like and potentially who they are.  Now it’s time to ask your chosen attendants if they are willing & able to be there for you on your special day.  Also read our "Advice For Brides From a Bridesmaid's Perspective" and "Asking Friends to Be Bridesmaids" articles.
7.  Start looking for ideas.  You may have already been doing this, but if not, now is the time!  Bridal shows & events, stores, magazines, at other weddings, from friends & family, NWweddingplace.com's Idea Gallery, DIY project pages & free e-newsletter are all excellent places to get ideas from.  Take note of creative ideas that you love, and that you’d like to incorporate.
8.  Pick your color scheme. 
Decorations, floral, bridesmaids dresses and many other decisions will depend on a color scheme.  Get color scheme ideas HERE.
9.  Find your gown, and make a bridesmaid dress decision.  Dresses usually need to be special ordered and potentially altered, which can take up to 6-8 weeks.  It’s nice to get this out of the way and taken care of soon!  See our "Best Gown for Your Body" & "Wedding Dress Shopping Advice" articles for more info.
10.  Begin to secure services that require lots of notice in advance.  Photographers, caterers, limos, florists, DJ’s or musicians, and wedding consultant services are all companies that need to set your wedding date on their calendars early.  Other details can wait a bit, such as decorations, cake (usually), getting guest party favors, etc.
11.  Seek pre-marriage counseling. 
Seriously people, planning a wedding can drive you nuts & fill up your free time.  However, remember that your wedding is only the very first day of your married life.  An exciting wonderful day, yes, but then it’s done & on to daily living with your new spouse.  Preparing for marriage is truly MUCH higher on the priority scale in the grand scheme of things.  At the very least, take our pre-marriage survey with your fiancé, have some big heart-to-heart discussions about anything & everything, and/or get advice from happy couples who have been married for many years.  Their wisdom will be valuable.  Pre-marriage counseling is important!

OK – that does it for our "Top 11 First-Things-First After Getting Engaged List".  Of course there are many more details that you’ll eventually need to pin down during your planning process.  Hopefully this list will get you started in the right direction & thinking about these more pressing tasks. Happy planning to you, and keep the main thing – the main thing.  You’re getting married and your wedding is only the first day of the rest of your married life together.  NWweddingplace.com has more information, resources and products available to help you plan your Northwest wedding and successful marriage.  Our planning and idea resources are extensive.  Be blessed J.

Copyright NWweddingplace.com 2008. All information contained herein is intellectual property and copyrighted by www.NWweddingplace.com. For information regarding use of this article, please contact article-inquiries@NWweddingplace.com.

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