I'm Engaged, What Now?
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"I'm Engaged, What Now?"A guide to your first month of engagement

Author: Jennifer - Internet Sales Coordinator & Team LeaderApril 2007

Working as an Invitation Consultant gives you a unique perspective on weddings, and a working knowledge of what you would want when it's "your turn." When you (finally) get engaged, things are slightly different than you imagine, or at least they were for me. A couple of weeks ago, I got engaged to my long-time boyfriend. The bliss that followed was what our friends call the "honeymoon period." I had visions of flowers, wedding cakes, and invitations dancing through my head. Before we knew it, our thoughts turned to pressing questions. When was the wedding? Where would it be? How would our budget work? These questions proved to be more difficult than I thought that they would be.

Almost immediately after the engagement, I started thinking about when and where I would want to have the wedding. I thought that these two choices would be relatively easy because I had already considered my ideal locations and dates, though I had not visited these locations, or done any sort of pricing. I thought that I wanted approximately a year-long engagement, so that gave me a range for our dates, which happened to fall in peak wedding season. At the time, I did not realize the implications of this timeline. After hours and hours of research, endless phone calls, and numerous calculations, I realized that planning a wedding during peak season is significantly more expensive.

The location of the wedding and reception were also harder than I thought to choose. First, the couple should think about where they would like the ceremony to take place, and brainstorm reception sites in proximity of the ceremony location. Many reception sites offer ceremony sites, for a small fee. However, some couples want to get married in a church, on a beach, etc. This is also common, so every couple has seemingly endless choices. The amount of out-of-town guests also come into play in making this decision, as many couples do not want to have their guests make a lengthy drive from the ceremony to the reception, especially in an area that they are not familiar with. In my case, because I am originally not from the wedding location area, I chose to have my ceremony and reception at the same site.

As a future bride and an Invitation Consultant, here are my tips for choosing your date and wedding reception site:

  • If you are at all on a budget, don't make up your mind on a date before you do the research and look at the numbers. See how they compare.
  • Think outside the box. Don't set your hard on one location because there may be another that works better for you.
  • Make a preliminary guest list. The guest list is necessary because one of the first questions that a potential reception site is going to ask is how many guests you are expecting because of room capacities.
  • Make a budget. This will narrow your search down so you are not looking at sites that do not fit. It will save you time.
  • Know what you want out of your reception site. What is important to you?
  • Think about what time of the year you want to get married. What colors/theme do you want to use in the wedding for decorations, invitations, etc.? This will help you narrow down the date.

After all of the time and analyzing that my fiancé and I put into the preliminary planning, we are confident that we found the right ceremony location and reception site for us. The date that I originally had in mind is different than our actual wedding date, but that allowed us to use the ceremony and reception site that we really wanted. The best advice is to not let yourself become stressed because the right date and location will be clear when you find it.