For newly engaged couples, planning a wedding can be overwhelming. You and your fiance will have major decisions to make in the upcoming months, a task that can often cause undue stress. Planning your own wedding doesn’t have to be a hassle though — here are five simple steps specifically geared to newly engaged couples!

Congratulations on your recent engagement! You have a long road ahead of you, and a lot of decisions waiting in the ‘nuptial pipeline.’ Don’t let stress get the best of you though – use these tips specifically geared to newly engaged couples!

5 Simple Steps for Newly Engaged Couples

1 The Engagement Party: First off, you should celebrate the fact that you’re newly engaged — enlist the help of some friends to throw an engagement party with your loved ones to announce the good news. This fete doesn’t have to be extravagant and expensive. A small house party can create the same intimate scene. You’ll also receive the good wishes of your loved ones, and perhaps acquire a few willing volunteers to help you through the challenges of planning a wedding.

2 Setting a Date for the Wedding Day: Next on your agenda should be setting a date for the wedding. Here we are, a brand new year ahead of us. Depending on how elaborate you want the wedding to be determines which date you select. Of course, there are highlights of each season. A spring wedding, though lovely, would likely have to occur the following year if chosen. The downside is that both spring and summer weddings are more expensive than those that occur in the autumn or winter. Weddings that fall on holidays are a good option as well since much of the church or venue you settle on will already be decorated for said holiday. Many couples send out a Save the Date card to inform loved ones of their newly engaged status and remind their friends and family of the impending wedding day. Many online companies now offer easy-to-customize templates that can be printed and shipped to you in just a few days time. You can even make your own Save the Date cards with a little ingenuity and basic computer skills.

3  The Details: Your next perhaps most important action when newly engaged should be a frank chat with your intended about planning the wedding. Lay out what each person wants in the day, either verbally or on paper. Discuss themes, colors, foods, venues, music, and all the various details that make up a wedding and ceremony. You’ll also need to set a realistic budget if you are paying for part or all of it. Today’s weddings are incredibly expensive if all the bells and whistles are pulled out, so you’ll want to identify well in advance what can realistically be afforded. Consult a wedding timeline so tasks get done when they need to be done.

4  Research: Being newly engaged, you may want to do some research of your own. Make a point to attend bridal shows in your area to get an idea of possible vendors while planning your wedding. Oftentimes, the vendors are present to hand out vouchers or special deals for attendants. Just make sure to register ahead of time as bridal events usually fill up quickly. You’ll also want to start choosing your bridesmaids and maid or matron of honor to help alleviate the stress of planning your own wedding. The last thing you want to deal with is flaky bridesmaids, so choose wisely.

5  The Location and Vendors: Wedding venues — for both the ceremony and reception — get booked fast, so you’ll need to fly into action. If you attended a Pittsburgh area bridal show, you may have learned about venues in your area, or you’ve done a little research about planning a wedding on your own. Bring along your fiancé to look at each of your favorite venues in person, making sure to ask questions such as:

(1) How many people can the venue accommodate?
(2) Is there a catering service on site?
(3) Are there enough restrooms for all of your guests?
(4) What is the payment schedule and, subsequently, the cancellation policy?
(5) Are the facilities wheelchair accessible?
(6) What is the policy on alcohol?
(7) Is there enough parking for X amount of guests?
(8) Are there any limitations on decorations?

Take a tour with the wedding coordinator and think it over. Look at all your options before selecting the right one. You’ll also need to consider other vendors when planning a wedding. Do you want a DJ or a live band? If so, you’ll want to book as soon as possible. Caterers get slammed during the high season (spring and summer months) as well, so make contacting them high on your to-do list.

Planning a Wedding While Savoring the Simple Moments

Just remember, planning your wedding day is what you make of it! Getting everything in order can be stressful, but don’t lose your head. Rely on your bridesmaids, mother, friends, and loved ones to help you tackle one thing at a time. If things do begin to be too much, consider what a professional wedding planner can do for you. Oftentimes, they can negotiate better rates since they know reliable vendors around town.

Above all, have fun being newly engaged, planning your wedding, and getting closer to your special loved one!

Contributed by Cherie Johnson

Photo by Michael Reed Photography of Pittsburgh