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SO YOU’RE ENGAGED! NOW WHAT? THE NEXT STEPS.

So you’re engaged! Hooray! Time to celebrate! But wait. What do you do next? Keep reading for the 6 things you need to do right after you get the ring, in order of importance.

1. Pick up the phone! Be sure to make those extra important phone calls to family and close friends BEFORE posting all over social media. Everyone wants to celebrate with you, personally, not read it on Facebook.

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One of our styled engagement photo shoots above from our wonderful bride and groom, Mai and Aaron. Photo credit: Kimberly Chau Photography

2. Save the date, rather a preferred timeframe, season, or month. It will not only help you get started on the next steps in planning, but save you the headache when people start asking: “so, when is the wedding?” Remember, getting your heart set on a specific day, isn’t always beneficial prior to finding your venue. In Houston, April and October are the most popular months to get married. Venues book these popular seasons more quickly than days. Occasionally, the rental fees or minimum are higher for the Saturdays in these peak wedding months. Don’t rule out Friday evenings or Sundays entirely, until you find your venue and look at your budget. Set the ideal timeframe, but remember, flexibility is key.

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3. Begin working on the guest list, and be sure to include your parents in this process. Start with a preliminary list from both sides. Prioritize. It will help later down the road if or when cuts are needed. The more people you invite, the more money will be needed for just about everything. The difference between 150 and 200 guests can be a world of difference when discussing budget. Remember, don’t forget that invitation or address does not usually amount to 1 invitee. What I find most often is that our couples overlook the size of the family or +1 guests for those singles. Just because you need 100 invitations, does not mean you’re inviting 100 people. The difference between inviting 100 people and 250 people, might have just blown your budget.

4. Have the big budget discussion. Weddings are generally one of the first big expenses in a couples’ financial life together. Remember, even a simple or small wedding costs money, most of the time more than you ever imagined. Before diving into planning or even the daydreaming, it’s important to stay grounded. Who is paying for the wedding? How much is family or you as a couple able to contribute? Dreaming big is fun, but you don’t want to get your heart set on that Pnina wedding gown if you can’t afford it. Champagne dreams and caviar wishes can create a broken heart in the end if the budget just doesn’t allow it. Stay grounded and have that budget discussion first.

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**** The typical wedding budget Pomp & Circumstance wedding planners work with in Houston is $25,000 – $75,000. The appropriate budget is 100% dependent on the size of guest list.

5. Daydream! Now, it’s time to pin your heart out. Search wedding blogs and buy the magazine now! Its time to get creative and find the things you’d love to incorporate into your big day. Pinterest is really a great tool to organize all these ideas. If you don’t want to let all the world into your plans for the big day, create a secret board. However, it may be a good ideas as well to create a group board for your besties and mom, maybe a sister to pin some of the things that they dreamed for you….especially mom.

6. Hire a wedding planner to coordinate the big day! Review the elements of your wedding that’ll take a little planning—negotiating with bakers and caterers for the best prices, finding the ideal venue, organizing party favors—and figure out if those are tasks you want to tackle alone or if you’d rather hire a wedding planner (stress reduction and a little time-saving sounds nice, right?). One of the things I’ve noticed former brides saying most often is they wish they had at least hired a day of coordinator. If full planning doesn’t fit in your budget, definitely consider a day of coordinator. Many venues and ceremony sites offer day of coordinating as an included service. Don’t be fooled! This is NOT the same as hiring a wedding planner. More often than not, the coordination of this “included” service ends after you walk down the aisle. From there, you, your friends, and family are left with trying to rally the troops for photos after the ceremony, find the limo to transport you to the reception, make sure that tables are being greeted, the cake gets cut, you have champagne in your glass when it’s time for the toast, and oh wait! Where is that gorgeous cake cutting set you received as a wedding gift and why isn’t is on the table for you to cut the cake? That’s what we do, the amazing, hardworking wedding coordinators. We work that 18 hour day so you don’t have to. We also make sure all your vendors show up with exactly what they were contracted to bring (and that they were contracted for the correct amounts of things like linens and napkins). Escort cards are displayed in the correct alphabetical order in order for everyone to easily find their place. Pass out the favors and sparklers for the grand exit. Herd the guests in a line, light all the sparklers for that amazing grand exit photo op, and ensure that the Rolls Royce is waiting at the end of that glowing sparkler tunnel for your getaway to a luxury hotel….where extra slices of your cake and that dinner you never had the chance to eat is waiting for you at the end of the night. Make room in that budget for a wedding coordinator. You absolutely won’t regret it.

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