Just engaged …. now what?


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Wedding planner and Bride talk over the wedding plans.

Gianna Camorani

Students pop the question and get engaged during their college career or shortly after they graduate, but some don’t know where to go from there. Planning a wedding has the opportunity to be both exciting and overwhelming. There’s several things a newly engaged couple should take into account when first preparing for their upcoming nuptials.

Setting the date

“First things first, you have to set a date,” said Kaitlin Clevenger, student wedding coordinator at the Memorial Union.

She recommends that the couple give themselves as much time as possible to prepare. Clevenger has seen couples who have planned their weddings more than a year in advance and others who have given themselves about six to eight months. 

Creating a budget

Clevenger notes that the biggest thing she needs to know from her clients up front is their budget and price range.

Jamie Beyer, lecturer in apparel, events and hospitality management, said setting a budget is important when looking for vendors and determining what is needed on the big day.

Clevenger stresses the importance of deciding which things are of top priority and what the couple “must have.” 

“What I tell brides to do is to make a list of things that you know you can absolutely not do without at your weddings,” Clevenger said.

Making the guest list

Beyer said it’s extremely important to know how many guests you want at your wedding.

“Some people think it’s OK to put their guest list together last minute, but it’s risky because you might outgrow your venue or your budget,” she said.

Caterers need a headcount so they can make the correct amount of food, and Clevenger recommends ordering extra plates just in case.

Selecting a venue

If a couple is getting married in the spring or summer, which is considered peak season, they may have to reserve the venue pretty far in advance, Beyer said. She also notes that some couples want their ceremony and reception in different places, so in that case, they’d need to book two.

Clevenger said couples also need to be aware of the capacity of the venues they’re looking at because their guest list has to fit within that number to avoid overcrowding or fire hazards.

Lining up vendors

Clevenger and Beyer recommend that couples figure out who their caterer, photographer, baker, florist, hair and makeup artist and entertainers are as soon as possible. They said during peak season, their bookings go fast.

Beyer also said couples need to make sure the vendors will be willing to work within their price range so they don’t go over the budget.

Make the wedding yours

“Don’t follow traditions that you don’t want to,” said Katie Gieseke, event manager at the Memorial Union.

Clevenger, Beyer and Gieseke said some couples feel pressured to follow tradition or do what they think other couples usually do. Beyer said nowadays, “anything goes” and “there’s no such thing as traditional anymore.”

“Have a wedding that reflects you and who you are as a couple,” Beyer said.