Congratulations, you’re engaged! It’s time for a new chapter filled with exciting adventures and new happy memories. There’s plenty of planning and organizing to do – not just for the wedding day but for married life in general. It never hurts to get a head start on your plans, so here are a few of the things you can do in the year leading up to your wedding.
Decide on a budget
One of the first things to decide on is a budget. Knowing how much you can afford to spend will help you figure out what type of wedding you will be able to have. Once you have a budget in mind, you can start to look for venues and vendors that fit within your constraints. If you’re planning a honeymoon, you’ll want to start saving up for travel expenses too. You may also need to look into funding options. Do you have savings? Will your families contribute to wedding expenses? Exploring these options earlier will help you make more informed decisions late on.
Choose a venue
Venues have a huge impact on the cost and overall mood of your wedding day. They tend to get booked up quickly for popular dates, so you’ll want to pick one sooner rather than later. If you already have a wedding venue in mind, try to find out the availability for your preferred dates right away. You may be able to get a better rate if you book early. If you don’t have a venue in mind, you’ll want to visit different locations and compare your options. There are many different types of venues available, so it is important to target ones that fit your style and budget.
Talk about long-term finances
Marriage may change a couple’s financial plans and goals. While some couples intentionally maintain separate finances after marriage, others choose to combine their income and expenses. No matter what you prefer, it helps to speak openly and honestly about your preferences and expectations. You may also want to discuss retirement planning, savings and debt repayment, investments, and life insurance for financial security. Couples may decide to look into permanent policies like whole life insurance or universal life insurance for the guaranteed death benefit and other features.
Book your vendors
Some vendors will be willing to accept bookings a year in advance and may even offer you a better price. Your favorite caterers, decorators, musicians, or cake artists may be in high demand, so booking their services in advance may give you some peace of mind. Keep in mind that you will likely need to pay in advance or put down a deposit.
Start a wedding folder
One way to stay organized is to start a wedding folder—virtual or physical. This will be a place where you can keep all of your wedding-related documents, including contracts, estimates, and receipts. Having everything in one place will make it much easier to stay organized and on top of your wedding planning.