You just got engaged. You take a few weeks to really soak in being a fiancé, but then the stress of planning a wedding finally hits you. You need to know how to find a venue, how to lock in your caterer, and how to pick the perfect photographer - the list of how-to's seems to be endless. We have put together a step-by-step guide for starting your wedding planning.
First, sit down with your future spouse and talk about your list of expectations. It is important to know what type of budget you will be working with, where the wedding will take place, and how many people you will invite to the wedding. If you have your heart set on a particular vendor, make sure that they will be in your budget and have your date available. If they meet your budget and have your date available, we suggest booking these vendors as soon as possible because if you love them, chances are someone else does too.
Once you know what your budget and guest count looks like, you also need to sit down with your spouse and/or parents and decide who will be on your guest list. This detail often gets overlooked, but if you take care of getting the names, addresses, and any other needed contact information from your guests, you will save yourself a huge headache later on.
Now that these steps are all sorted out, it’s time to check some other important items off your list.
Venue - Booking your venue as soon as possible is a crucial step during your wedding planning. We would love to host your wedding at Spruce Mountain. Not sure if Spruce Mountain will fit in your budget? We have an option for almost any budget. Check out this blog post about how to plan a Spruce Mountain wedding on a budget. Once you have reserved Spruce Mountain as your venue, we will be able to give you a list of all our preferred vendors to fit your specific needs.
Booking Hotel Blocks - We recommend that after the venue is booked, the couple secure their room blocks at the Hilton Inverness. The earlier you book your rooms, the better the rates. The Hilton Inverness and Spruce Mountain have a special package together. For Spruce Mountain couples who set-up their room blocks with The Hilton, The Hilton will include transportation to and from the ranch for their guests. The Hilton Inverness offers extremely reasonable rates for Spruce Mountain couples. Their hotel also offers great amenities, such as golfing, swimming and you can even schedule a brunch for the day after your wedding (for an additional charge).
Find Your Dress - After you have your venue and room blocks secured, we recommend that the bride should purchase her dress. It may take a bit of shopping to find the perfect dress. Dresses also may take between 9-12 months to arrive. Then, there are additional alterations that may need to be done, so as soon as you are able to start looking for your dress we suggest you do so.
Wedding Planner/Coordinator - Now that you have selected your venue, it’s time to find a planner or coordinator. If you want to be more hands-on with your wedding, we suggest picking a coordinator who can provide needed assistance with questions, but will mostly provide support the month and day of your wedding. If you are overwhelmed by the whole planning process and think you will need assistance during the entire time from start to finish, we suggest contacting one of our preferred wedding planners. They can assist you from the moment you get engaged to the moment you have your final send off for the night. You can contact us at [email protected] to get a list of our preferred coordinators and planners.
Caterer - In order to help meet your budget needs or preferences, we have eight different caterers for you to choose from. The catering company will be able to help you decide on your menu as well as help figure out what style of food service will fit your needs. Your caterer will also assist you in selecting your linens, glassware, china, and other rentals. At Spruce Mountain, your rental order will be handled by your caterer, and ordered through our required rental vendor Event Rents.
Photographer/Videographer - These vendors often fill up a year to two in advance, so it is important to make sure you secure them for your wedding as soon as you have found the perfect venue. Also, make sure that you meet with your photographer and videographer in order to make sure you convey your vision to them. You will have these photos for the rest of your life, so it is extremely important to make sure they know if you are looking for any particular photos. If you are expecting your photos or wedding video back by a certain date, make sure your photographer/videographer can accommodate your needs.
Music & Entertainment - The music you decide to have at your wedding will set the tone for your night. We have a great list of preferred DJs that will be sure to get your guests up and out of their seats and dancing. Another important tip is to make sure that you give your list of requested songs to your DJ before the wedding. A good rule to follow with booking your music is to have them booked nine months prior to your wedding.
Florist - Most couples select their florist anywhere from a year to six months out from their wedding. If you have specific floral designs in mind, it is important to consult with a florist as soon as you know what you want. This way, they will be able to let you know if the flowers will be in bloom during the time of your wedding. It is also important to know your floral budget and communicate that clearly to your florist. Often times couples do not realize that flowers can be expensive, so before you have your heart set on a certain type of flower, let your florist know, so she can tell you if it will fit in your budget or not. If your budget will not allow for a specific flower you are looking for, your florist can make suggestions of similar flowers that will give you the same look, but for a more affordable price.
Cake Designer - If you are looking for a bit of stress relief during your wedding planning process, make an appointment for you and your fiancé to go cake tasting. This will be a great way to get them involved in the process and have fun while you are doing it. If you do not plan on having a traditional cake, then you will need to ask your caterer if they can provide a custom cake, or you will need to find a bakery. If you want to do cupcakes rather than a traditional cake, we love Goldmine Cupcakes in Golden, Colorado. Typically, most couples book the cake designer about three to six months prior to their wedding.
Invitation Designer - If you are having invitations hand designed by a calligrapher, you will need to make sure you give them enough time to make your invitations and still have time to mail them out to your guests. The typical timeframe for getting this done is about five to eight months before your wedding. If you decide not to go with a designer and opt for invitations that are still beautiful, but budget friendly, you can make your invitations on Minted. Their turnaround time is relatively quick, plus they can provide you with a wedding website to make your invitation suite.
Hair & Makeup - If you will be having your hair and makeup done for your wedding, it is important to book these vendors about six months to a year before the wedding. Makeup artist and hair stylists book-up extremely fast, so you will want to lock them in as soon as you are able to. Another reason to book your hair and makeup early on is because you will want to do a trial session to ensure your hair and make-up are just the way you imagine on your wedding day.
Transportation - If you will need transportation after your wedding, you will want to book this about three months prior to your wedding. If you are getting married during May or June car service do book up fast because of Prom season, so make sure to factor that in when you book your transportation.
Taking care of these 12 steps after you initially get engaged will take loads of stress off of you, and will give you plenty of time to enjoy being a newly engaged couple. We hope these steps provide help during your wedding planning process. If you have any questions or would like to receive a list of our preferred vendors, feel free to email us at [email protected] or you can call us at 719-484-0800. Happy wedding planning!