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Congratulations on your engagement!  Did he surprise you?  Did you see it coming?  Does it even matter… You’re engaged!

You can’t help yourself… of course you want to tell everyone, SHOUT it out to the world, you’ve never been so happy! As this new reality starts to sink in you start thinking about all your ideas…and the realization comes that finally, you can change your “secret” Pinterest wedding board to “public”. And you can change your Facebook status to engaged.

Now that you’ve updated your social platforms, your next move will depend on whether you’re a Type A personality which in this scenario is often equivalent to having had every moment of your day planned since you were 9. This is the tricky part. Having a vision is a huge step. Working through the details in the right sequence, with the right people when your life is plenty full before this ring landed on your finger is another story. Hang on to your panties, no need to start breathing from the brown paper bag just yet.

All you need is a little help and guidance… shall we start?
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Vision for your wedding day

That can be a daunting thought when you need to consider the overall colour palette and how it will flow through every design element of your wedding. So daunting that there are people who have dedicated their career to helping you pull this together. But in the meantime, or if you’re a DIY’er, here’s a few places to start:

Consider the ‘feel’ that you want to have on your wedding day. Articulating this will pretty quickly help you rule out a lot of options that would otherwise be overwhelming. Rolled up casual pants with toes in the warm sand, tromping through snow to a gondola or walking down an indoor aisle lined with pretty white flowers all point you down a certain road for design, materials, level of formality and potentially even number of guests.

Remember that newly made public Pinterest board? Keep on adding to it, it’s one of the best tools available for you.

Use screen shots to snag photos of not only design elements you like, but also those you don’t. Tuck them away in a folder so you can share them with the person who is helping you. Sometimes working backwards from what you don’t want helps you zero in on what you do want faster.

Listen to ideas from friends and family. Everyone will have ideas for you, and lot’s of them, trust me. So you’ll need to be comfortable in drawing the line before it becomes too much. But before you get to that line, you’d be amazed at how many interesting little tidbits you may pick up on. I personally believe you can pull something from every conversation you have. It may be small, but it’s there. One piece of advice though, keep your wedding day talks balanced with other topics of conversation. They’ll love you for it. Trust me.

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Research, research, research

In real estate it’s the 3 L’s and in the wedding industry, it’s the 3 R’s. The wedding industry has evolved incredibly over the past 5-6 years as almost all information has become available online.

You have your vision set. Next step is to start moving it into reality which hopefully is a possibility. Now, anything is possible so the reality becomes whether or not your budget accommodates what you want and how flexible you’re willing to be.

It’s time to start reaching out to potential vendors to understand what makes them unique and whether they would be a good fit for you. Keep in mind, the planning process is on average 8-12 months so you really want to make sure you like the vendors you’re hiring because they’ll be around for awhile and their expertises should be an asset to ease your stress if chosen wisely. Local vendors are also a mecca of knowledge. The good vendors have been working with couples for years and often have 100’s of events under their belts. Pick their brains and ask as many questions as you can. The more knowledge you have, the more relaxed you’ll feel. It’s a little like magic.

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Set a budget

It’s true. This is one of the first items on virtually every list on every wedding blog worldwide. Yet it’s virtually an impossibility for you to do accurately, short of pulling a number out of thin air of what you hope it could be. Especially if you’re having a destination wedding.

Your first decision before even considering numbers is deciding what area you want to focus your dollars on. For some couples, it’s throwing the best party for their guests while for others it’s to have the prettiest florals. There’s no right or wrong answer, only what is right for you. Key budget categories to consider include:

Ceremony & reception location
Photography (check out How much Wedding Photography cost in Whistler)
Wedding Planner
Food & beverage (aka the party)

If you’re working with a wedding planner, they will take a lot of that guessing work and you will be able to feel confidant and reassured.  They will at a minimum provide you with a budget worksheet if not manage your entire budget on your behalf. If you aren’t, there are great budget template’s that can be downloaded online. Roll up your sleeves and start crunching some numbers to get a sense of where the money goes and where you can stretch it.

So put away the brown paper bag, take a deep breath and let the fun begin!

Did I miss anything? More questions? Ask away!

Have Fun!

– Pascale oxo

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