The Two Most Important Things to Do When You’re Newly Engaged!

Huge congratulations to all of the newly engaged folks who have a story and new sparkler to share post-holiday! The stretch between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day is when most engagements happen, so it’s high time for our annual  Do This post gift!

Of course you’ll share the happy news with your family and friends, and post that beautiful ring selfie on Instagram! But then what’s next? There are so many approaches to kicking off the wedding planning, but as we outline in our coffee table planning book Storied Weddings, it’s so imperative to kick off the planning process by having a keen understanding of what is important to both of you. How can you understand a budget, guest count, or location without knowing your ultimate vision?

So our #1 Must: daydream! Yes, cozy up on a Friday evening and really close your eyes and dream up what your IDEAL wedding day/weekend/week will look and feel like. We’re talking about everything from:

  • How many people you truly want to surround yourselves with to getting (even a cloudy) idea of the general color story.
  • Or in a perfect scenario would you want a destination wedding in Italy or Nantucket or a city wedding in Seattle?
  • What formality do you hope for? And what kind of clever food and fun experiences do you crave?
  • Will the reception be traditional and quiet or a wild party that starts on a Thursday and ends on a Monday?
  • How long do you envision guests sticking around for and will this vision mean they (and you) need to travel and find lodging?
  • Finally, what is your ultimate (wish list) vision for style and florals/decor? A dream of a flower-filled wedding filled with experiences, food, and music at every turn can look so different in the fall than in the summer months, so try to really hone in on your priorities and jot down answer to all of the above.

Asking yourselves ALL of these questions and talking through the ultimate vision will really, truly help you to get a sense of each other and your wishes for the wedding and the planning process. From there you can pinpoint a location, guest count, and season that fit within your Plan A and solidify your anticipated budget accordingly.

You can certainly jump to the budget question and hashing out your guest count first, but time after time with hundreds of couples we work with, understanding their overall vision is so much more helpful than a budget without knowing the details. A per head dollar figure can mean a whole range of different things pending location and style, so start with your daydream and ultimate vision first!

Photo on top: O’Malley Photographers || Planning/Design/Floral: Valley & Company Events

Below images: Katie Parra Photography

#2 Must:  have a Plan B!  Again, you truly can’t properly plan budget, logistics, and creative team without understanding yourselves and what your goals are. Now when those goals are established, you may determine that flying 200 people to Charleston in August isn’t actually your ultimate vision or logistically sound, or that the property in Aspen you always dreamed of getting married at is closed for renovations or doesn’t have enough rooms for your guest count. You may determine that your dream of a 9-course meal or a casual food truck won’t work with the space and guest count, or that all of your check points may be out of budget realm (or not!), so adjustment might need to be made.

Allowing yourselves a Plan B BEFORE you bring on your planning and creative team will really help them to understand you and your vision, and will give you the luxury of flexibility when finding the season/wedding date, booking a property, and assembling your team who can help create the magic with you!

We’re entering into our 17th year of business (wow!), and these two musts are so incredibly helpful and truly crucial to staring off the planning process on the right foot. From there comes budgeting, venue scouting, etc. Knowing your united priorities before you jump off will help you create a fun planning process and help you to keep the process on track!

Happy Planning!

Aleah, Nick & Team Valley & Co.