Image courtesy of SVHeart Photography

SVHeart Photography

Congratulations—and let the planning begin! We’ve helped hundreds of brides and grooms make their big-day dreams come true at Monona Terrace. So we put our heads together and developed a list of the first five things to do after you get engaged (besides celebrate). Follow these suggestions and we’re sure that the start of your wedding planning will be as smooth as buttercream frosting.

Tip 1: Become One With the Binder

Even if you’re usually tethered to your smart phone or tablet, nothing replaces the practicality of a three-ring binder. Create dividers that work for you, such as guest list, budget, contracts and so on. For items like flowers and attire, rip out pictures from magazines and brochures and mark them up with sticky notes or a marker. Circle things you like and cross out what you don’t.

Tip 2: Resist the Urge to Pick Your Wedding Party

This might be more of a “don’t” than a “do,” but we recommend waiting until a year or so before you tie the knot to finalize your attendants’ list. Why? First, until you select a location for the ceremony, you won’t know how many people will fit on either side of you and your spouse-to-be. Squeezing in seven lovely ladies and their corresponding gents onto the tiny pier where you got engaged could prove problematic.

Another reason to wait when finalizing your list: relationships can change. “Un-asking” someone in your wedding party is awkward and can kill a friendship. Don’t risk it.

Tip 3: Consider More Than One Date

You may have the perfect date in your mind but the venue may not be available. Or your best friend just announced she’s due with her first child that day. Or you picked a date that’s an untouchable anniversary of an event you never knew about—but now do. So be flexible. Choose your top three dates and then make sure you take into account religious holidays or largely celebrated events, like the Super Bowl. Then run the selections past the important people in your life to see if there are any conflicts. Check your venue, and then chisel a date in stone. (Read here about hosting your wedding and reception in one location.)

Tip 4: Draft a Guest List

The key word here is “draft.” You don’t need addresses yet. Ask your parents and in-laws and fiancé for their lists. Add up the numbers and see what you get. This number will drive your budget and likely your location so see if your list is manageable and affordable. If not, start talking about what limits you will set. If you and your parents and in-laws haven’t yet discussed who is—or isn’t—paying for what, now is a good time. Remember to keep an open mind. Everyone has images of the perfect guest list, and it’s likely that not everyone will get what they wish for.

Tip 5: Get Registered

Trends show that engagement parties are becoming more common, in addition to bridal showers and couple’s showers. So it’s smart to get registered early—at several places if you’d like. Just a couple things to keep in mind. First, register together. Both of your opinions matter. And if one doesn’t have an opinion, it’s good to know that too! Second, take your time. Your guests certainly will when they choose your gifts, so select items that you really want.

Once you’ve agreed on a budget, date and venue, consider turning your attention to developing a website. Guests enjoy the convenience of finding information all in one place, such as registry details, accommodations and maps and important dates to remember. They also enjoy seeing pictures and reading stories, like how the two of you met.

So have fun. Celebrate this special time and enjoy every minute. Knowing that you’ve handled first things first will make all the rest that much more enjoyable.

Want to learn more about weddings at Monona Terrace? Call Breanne Chase, Social Sales Manager, at 608.261.4093.