Welcome to the Pacific Coast Weddings blog! If you’re here that means… you’re freakin’ engaged! It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for forever … but what do you do now?
We’re not going to sugarcoat it: planning a wedding takes a lot of work and can be super stressful. But don’t sweat it— you’re in the 21st century with a world of knowledge right at your fingertips. Oh, and also — we’ve got you.
Below, you’ll find 12 tasks that are a must-do as you head into your engagement! Consider us your wedding planning gurus, and we’re about to take you through all the things. By the end, you’ll be ready to start preparing for the best day of your life.
1. Share the news
We know you’re just dying to do this. You may want to text everyone all at once or post on Facebook immediately — but just wait! Think about the most important people in your life and call them, one-by-one, together. No separate phone conversations from the opposite sides of the room shenanigans— do it together! Pro tip: use FaceTime so you can see everyone’s reactions.
And, in case you need to hear it: you don’t have to announce your engagement right away. Remember, this is about the two of you. Choose what works best for you, and follow your heart. That leads us to our next point...
2. Take it all in
There is no need to rush into planning headfirst! This will be a long journey, followed by the rest of your life with your soulmate, but these first few days of being engaged won’t come again.
Think of this as your first honeymoon phase and take a moment - or many - to revel in the initial excitement for the commitment you’re about to make!
Pop a bottle of champagne, reminiscence on your favorite memories — simply enjoy this newly-engaged bliss.3. Take care of your ring
We’re not trying to put a damper on your celebration, but you might need some insurance for your new bling! If you wrap it in with your homeowner or renter's insurance policy, it’s actually fairly inexpensive.
And make sure to get your ring sized at the jewelers immediately if it doesn’t fit quite right. You don’t want to lose that baby just days after saying yes!
4. Start dreaming
This is where the real fun begins (or maybe we’re just saying that because we love this part). So, before you dive into your wedding planning checklist, discuss your dreams with your fiance and get researching!
Pinterest is our go-to spot for collecting inspiration. Creating a wedding board will quickly help you realize your ideal color palette, style and decor.
Another cool way to keep track of your favorite inspiration is by saving posts on Instagram. You can be sure that all your local vendors are on Instagram, so take time to look through their feed so you can recall their favorite work when you speak with them.
If this part stresses you out, look into hiring a wedding planner to take on some of the load. You’ll have an industry pro there to help you realize your dream wedding — and turn it into a reality.
5. Plan the next few months with a wedding timeline and checklist
The key to tackling wedding planning like a pro is to stay organized. Start off by creating a wedding planning timeline to keep track of big items, like when to get your dress and book a photographer (or simply download our free worksheet).
6. Choose a venue and pick the date
Once you’ve decided on a month or season for your ceremony, you can begin touring venues. Make sure to start this early because depending on the venue, peak season dates may be booked out years in advance.
When you tour venues, make sure to take photos and come with questions prepared. Take a look at our top questions to ask a venue before you go.
Looking for a venue in Western Washington? We have a vendor directory with the top venues on the Pacific Coast.
7. Choose your people
You can’t choose your family, but you can choose your wedding guests! Once you know the size of your venue, you can select your guests. Put it all down on paper (or Excel) and then start with the most important people. That way, you can figure out who you need to have on your day and who will ultimately get crossed off the list.
8. Set your wedding budget
Most people don’t like to talk about money, but setting a budget for your special day early in the planning process is essential. Figure out who is paying, what the most important items are (such as a photographer or venue), and how far that number can stretch. Make sure to account for wiggle room so you’ll be able to cover unexpected expenses. You can also keep track of costs using our budget checklist.9. Schedule your dress appointment
If you’re like us and watch too much Say Yes to the Dress, you know that finding a wedding dress needs to happen early. Don’t make the Randy in your life scramble to find you something from the sample room, and make sure your dress is ordered within 7-10 months prior to the ceremony.
Schedule an appointment at local boutiques or two and look out for trunk shows if you have your eye on a particular designer and want to score a discount.
10. Create your vendor dream team
Once you’ve picked a venue or booked a wedding planner, ask them for vendor recommendations. Odds are, they’ve worked with everyone in town and can help you find the best fit for your vision. You can also search our vendor directory to find an extensive compilation of local vendors.
Just make sure you choose vendors you can count on to be professional and help you achieve your vision. There’s nothing worse than picking the cheap option and regretting it.
11. Have a conversation about your wedding priorities
Has anyone ever told you that you have the power to do your wedding your way? At its roots a wedding is simply a ceremony binding two people together, everything else that happens is up to you.
Incorporate unique elements to your ceremony, like planting a tree together or doing a ring warming ceremony. Create a custom cocktail or offer a shot of your favorite whiskey to your guests. Host your reception at the rodeo or take a hike with your bridal party on the morning of the wedding. Elope on a mountain top and have a celebration with your family and friends on a different date.
The only rule is that there are no rules! This wedding is the biggest party you’ll ever throw — and it’s yours to create.
12. Relax and dream about your honeymoon!
When it’s all said and done, the important thing is just to breathe. Focus on planning the things that excite you (like your epic honeymoon) — just make sure that all the hard stuff is done too.
And if you’d like a helping hand, you can find inspiration for planning your perfect wedding on our blog and all the resources you need on our worksheets tab.