An ex­pert con­sul­tant an­swers com­mon ques­tions from newly af­fi­anced cou­ples.

newly en­gaged cou­ples of­ten have some of the same con­cerns as they start out on their wed­ding-plan­ning jour­ney. The pro­posal was the ul­ti­mate sur­prise, an­nounc­ing it to fam­ily and friends has been a blast, but now what? Learn more on how to han­dle the first steps of be­ing en­gaged so that the process does not be­come over­whelm­ing.

Who should we hire first?

Af­ter you select your venue and the date for your wed­ding, I sug­gest hir­ing a pro­fes­sional wed­ding plan­ner. This will make your ex­pe­ri­ence much eas­ier and sig­nif­i­cantly more en­joy­able. They will as­sist you in select­ing your florist, your en­ter­tain­ment, and your pho­tog­ra­phy team, as well as help you de­cide on the many de­tails that come along with co­or­di­nat­ing a cel­e­bra­tion. Ven­dors are usu­ally booked one year prior to the event. To avoid miss­ing out on con­tract­ing the peo­ple you have your heart set on, make hir­ing your pre­ferred pro­fes­sion­als a top pri­or­ity.

Who should re­ceive save-the-date cards?

If you want a high at­ten­dance rate at your wed­ding, visit a sta­tioner or go on­line to select a cus­tom save-the-date card that re­flects your per­son­al­ity and style. The cards should be mailed seven months prior to your wed­ding. Con­versely, if you are wor­ried that your guest list is too large, you might want to in­stead spread the word with a phone call or email and send your ac­tual in­vi­ta­tions out 11 weeks prior to the wed­ding date.

What if we have to trim the guest list?

This is the one event where you are likely shar­ing the guest list with others. If you are shar­ing the list four ways, for ex­am­ple, the par­ents of the bride, the par­ents of the groom, the bride, and the groom, at­tempt to di­vide the list fairly. Be­gin by hav­ing every­one cre­ate an “A-list” and then a “B-list.” Fam­ily and dear­est friends first, and then hope­fully there will be room for others that you would love to have with you. If one part of the fam­ily is host­ing the event, they might have a few more guests on their list than the other side. If the fam­i­lies are shar­ing the costs, it should be di­vided equally.

Do we need to pro­vide a “plus one” for all guests?

Though an in­vi­tee may ap­pre­ci­ate it, it is not re­quired to pro­vide a guest for ev­ery per­son you in­vite. If the cou­ple is not mar­ried, en­gaged, or liv­ing to­gether, you don’t need to feel the pres­sure to of­fer a “plus one.” Of course, over time, if the re­la­tion­ship be­comes more se­ri­ous, then ab­so­lutely ex­tend an in­vi­ta­tion to the sig­nif­i­cant other. When ad­dress­ing the en­ve­lope of the in­vi­ta­tion to the cou­ple, make cer­tain to write each of their full names – do not use the word “guest.”

Dis­cover an­swers to the top six ques­tions cou­ples ask im­me­di­ately fol­low­ing the pro­posal.

What’s the best way to in­clude my groom in the plan­ning?

If your fi­ancé doesn’t have spare time to help with plan­ning, it is still im­por­tant to make him feel in­volved. There is plenty for him to do! Have him at­tend the first meet­ing with your plan­ner, the en­ter­tain­ment com­pany, your pho­tog­ra­pher, videog­ra­pher, and wed­ding of­fi­ciant. He might en­joy the food tast­ing at your venue and select­ing the fla­vors of the wed­ding cake. He can also de­cide on cloth­ing to be worn by the grooms­men and what gift he would like to present to them to say “thank you” for be­ing a part of the day. Since the groom’s par­ents tra­di­tion­ally host the re­hearsal din­ner, he can play a pri­mary role in de­cid­ing where to host the event and also take on the re­spon­si­bil­ity of mak­ing ar­range­ments for the hon­ey­moon.

What if the groom and I dis­agree on the style of cel­e­bra­tion?

Go­ing from be­ing a cou­ple in love to plan­ning a wed­ding is a huge step. This is just the be­gin­ning of shar­ing your ideas and tastes. If your par­ents are host­ing the nup­tials, they might have their own ideas of how they want to cel­e­brate your day. Share your vi­sion, work to­gether, and en­joy the process. If the bride and groom are host­ing the wed­ding, each party should lis­ten to what is im­por­tant to their part­ner.

Emo­tion­ally, fi­nan­cially, and aes­thet­i­cally, this will be your first step in work­ing to­gether and ap­pre­ci­at­ing one an­other’s thoughts. Keep your sense of hu­mor, en­joy be­ing en­gaged, and re­mem­ber that your love for each other is more im­por­tant than wor­ry­ing about the de­tails!

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