Just Engaged and Proposals

When it too early to start FULL fledge plan?

Hi everyone! I have been engaged for 3 weeks now and me and my fiance have set a date! 10/8/16.  Yes it's going to be a long engagement, but we both want to be out of school so we can start our lives off right! I will graduate spring of '16 and he will graduate either summer or winter of '16. (So at most he will have one more month of school when we tie the knot).

My main question is...how soon should we start FULL fledge plan? Like when I say that, I mean, start actually consider venues, and maybe put deposits down and what not.  I don't want to seem like I am jumping the gun, and we already have ideas for stuff like colors and wedding party.  Just want some advice! :)

Re: When it too early to start FULL fledge plan?

  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    It really depends on your area and which venues/vendors you are interested in.  Some places book up quickly.  Or vendors/venues won't book until you are X months away from your wedding date.

    Also, be a bit flexible in regards to your wedding date.  You may fall in love with a venue that doesn't have your date available so just be willing to be flexible.

  • esstee33esstee33 Pittsburgh member
    Ninth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Definitely wait to ask your bridal party until much closer to your wedding. Maybe this time next year at the earliest.

    Are you planning to DIY a lot of things? There's not much harm in starting to work on projects now so you have plenty of time to finish all of them and / or tweak as needed, and you won't be in a crazy rush to finish everything. One of my best friends is having a long engagement -- about as long as yours, actually -- and that's what she's doing. Otherwise, she started out just gathering info and doing preliminary research on what's available and what kind of timeline for booking things the venues would need.

    Otherwise, ditto everything Maggie said.
  • mikenbergermikenberger In a f'n cornfield member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    Do not. Repeat. Do not. Put anybody in your bridal party or make it official with any of them until October '15 at the earliest. If you need a hint why, meander to the Wedding Party board.

    Planning should go : budget then guest list then deposits. You can't start looking at venues until you know what money you're dealing with. And you can't look at venues until you know the number of people you're inviting :) after that, it all varies on where you are in the world. I had to put a deposit on my venue 16 months in advance and by a year before my wedding, it was booked solid for May-Oct '15. So gauge around when you need to totally start losing your mind with planning :)

    Congrats on your engagement!

  • dcbride86dcbride86 Washington, DC member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments Second Anniversary First Answer

    I booked my venue and photographer almost 2 years before the wedding, got my dress about 10 months before, the band about 8 months before, and am booking my florist and ordering my invites now (about 6 months before).  Honestly, I loved planning ahead of time because it made everything SO low stress!


    Congrats on the engagement!  Have fun planning!

  • I also have a longer engagement (dec 13 - oct 15) and started planning right away! We first came up with a budget, then approximate guest list.  We booked our Venue (The American Swedish Historical Museum in Philadelphia) in February '14 and then a photographer, DJ and catering co. (Jeffrey A Miller Catering who has been absolutely awesome so far!) all before we hit the 1 year countdown mark.  We're now starting to put together our wedding parties, invites, etc and get proposals from florists.  

    It's been great getting everything together early.  Most places are well booked up by about a year (especially in early October, it's a super popular month) so it's been really low stress to know that we have the vendors we really wanted booked. Now we can take our time on everything and not feel stressed. It also helps financially as deposits and down payments can be spread out accordingly.  Starting early is the way to go!
  • I would say, go ahead and get a good feel for the budget you'll have and the styles that you want for the wedding. Maybe look at a few places that you really like and talk to them about how soon they reserve because most places won't book 2 years away. However, if you absolutely fall in love with a venue and they will let you, I see no reason why you can't book it. If anything. it just gives you more time to pay for it! 

    If you are doing a lot of DIY projects and you know what you want, you could work on it a little bit at a time and put them up for the big day. This keeps you from having a meltdown a month before your wedding when centerpieces aren't done. 

    DO NOT ask anyone to be in your wedding yet. Definitely wait until a year or so before the wedding. 

    As far as other vendors- give yourself about a 1.5-1 year to start. Photographers book about a year in advance, as well as some caterers or really good DJs. 

    I think it's great you have so much time to plan :)
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  • Thank you everyone for the advice!!!! I kinda feel bad cause I think every single person said don't ask anyone for the wedding party yet! I have already asked people, but my wedding party is REALLY small and all of them are lifelong friends.  I have not had any issues with any of them in 10+ years so I'm hoping nothing will happen in under 2! Whoops!!!

    But again! Thanks for all the advice! I appreciate it! Gotta talk to my parents and his parents about budget wise, because me and my fiance both want to contribute but so do all the parents.  So we gotta all get together and figure it out! :)
  • Agree with some of the pp's! Our date is June 11, 2016 and we had to book our ceremony site SUPER early, because it books up so fast. (We're both UGA alumni and wanted to get married in the historic chapel on campus).

    View your long engagement as a blessing! This way you get to have first pick of venues, caterers, and anything else you could need for your wedding.


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  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited November 2014
    Choosing venues IS jumping the gun.  FIRST you need to know your budget.  SECOND, you need your guest list.  Two years ahead of time is too early to know your complete guest list.  You will make new friends and want to invite them, and some of your older relationships might change.
    About one year out is the right time to look at venues, providing you have done step one and step two.
    Whatever you do, DO NOT CHOOSE YOUR BRIDESMAIDS until about 9 months before your wedding!  You wouldn't believe how many tearful posts we get from brides who wished they had followed this advice!
  • peachy13peachy13 in my cubicle, doing very important work member
    Fifth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Congrats! I got engaged in Oct 2013 and am not getting married until Oct 2015... let me just say it really flies by. Anyway, we started looking at venues pretty early and nailed down a ceremony and reception venue only a month after being engaged. Then we got the DJ a month after that. Then early this past year, we reserved the rehearsal dinner site. Over the summer booked the photographer and finalized our wedding party and guest list. Bought my dress, starting buying a few Fall-ish items on sale this past October... 

    Anyway, I figure the more I do now, the less I have to do come crunch time. Plus, it was great booking all the vendors I really wanted. They were all available!
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  • I totally agree that you shouldn't 100% book anything yet.  Even a few months ago I would have said without a doubt that I would have gone with a different venue than what I have now booked and paid for.  I thought it was perfect until I started really laying out that it would end up costing about 75% of our budget and that their "package deal" didn't really include all that much.  Plus it really was bigger than it needed to be.  I ended up finding the perfect fit for 10x cheaper (literally).

    Plus, it may not seem like it, but your ideas may change.  I thought I was going to invite a whole group that I have since grown apart from.  I would never have thought it would happen but if I had even verbally invited them when I started planning I would now feel really stuck as while I wouldn't hate having them there they no longer make the A list by any means and our new venue has a guest limit.

    I see nothing wrong with making "final" decisions in your head so that you can mentally scratch things off your list, but I wouldn't start booking things yet.  Talk to venues if you want and maybe caterers.  If your area tends to book pretty far out (like many major cities) then maybe you should at least start thinking about what you want and emailing places to find out how far out they book.  Then, add a couple months to that and make a note in your calendar to contact them again at that time.  I just booked my venue and I am about 10 months out if that helps and have a meeting with my top choice caterer tomorrow.

    I certainly wouldn't ask any bridal party members yet to be sure.  The only exceptions might be family members or life long friends but even then I would be cautious.  For example I have always know my MOH would be my best friend since infancy so I didn't even really need to ask (we promised each other at like age 3).  People like that it's less of a big deal to talk to and it might give you an outlet of someone you can talk wedding with before you ask other people.  I might avoid going public with the fact that they are in your party before you ask all members, though just because it might make other people who you are planning to ask but haven't yet feel bad: "Why didn't she ask me?  We're such good friends!"

    Just be careful not to commit to anything that you might change your mind on or that might keep you from doing something else that you might find later and love (like committing to a caterer you like but don't love because they are available on your date only to later find a venue you love enough to be willing to change your date).  It will absolutely help to be flexible on date for the time being so unless that day has special meaning try not to get attached yet!!  It is always better to wait and see what is available when.  I picked my date because I wanted fall and figured september was the best month because it wasn't cold yet where I live.  Then I found out my mom would be gone on business the last week of the month and the venue I loved was booked the first (plus that date would have had me getting married during my time of the month which just didn't sound fun).  Kind of made it an easy choice.  See what's out there before you get set on a date unless it really means a great deal to you, like an anniversary or something.
  • i was hoping to plan at least 2 years in advance but so many things came up with house that planning is getting pushed off until at the earliest may of next year. 

    I wanted to have at least a reception hall picked out. book at least a year out though (thats what we are doing) and start saving money as soon as you can. if you plan on diy a lot of the wedding start asap to avoid stress. thats what i plan on doing in the next few weeks. 
  • JamieLynn913JamieLynn913 Watertown, CT member
    Fifth Anniversary 10 Comments Name Dropper 5 Love Its
    I got engaged on 11/21, and we have already picked our venue and put down a deposit. Our date is actually 10/7/16, which is pretty cool that we have the same weekend planned. We are paying for the wedding ourselves (with little help here and there from our parents) so we wanted to get a head start on finding a venue and seeing what damage we were in for. We went and looked at venues and fell in LOVE with the one we picked. When you see "your" venue, you will know.

    Also, like what another poster said, do not get to set on a date. Our venue was literally so booked in September and October of 2016, we had to consider only 3 different options because our original date was already booked and there was no openings. I don't mind having it be so far away and we already are planning because it's less stress for me knowing I have "X" amount of time to pay for things rather than scrambling to get it all done in a short amount of time. I've said in another post I don't agree with all the "timeline" things they give you (even though it's a helpful guide), go at your own pace and things will fall into place as they should. Good luck!

  • Call around and see what venues are available. I have been calling and I am very surprised as to how many are already getting filled up especially in popular months!
  • cmurphy389cmurphy389 Chicago, IL member
    First Comment First Anniversary
    edited December 2014
    I got engaged in September and we set the date for precisely 20 months later. We have already selected our church and are trying to sign our contract for the venue this week. I have my dress hanging in my closet already and our guest list is 85% set (we're having a small wedding that is mostly family and friends of 10+ years).

    Planning so far in advance is a necessity for me as my work schedule is 80+ hour weeks January to September...next year I won't have time to plan! Keep in mind that what works for you should be the most important thing. Budgets can be flexible over 18 months (saving $50 or $100 from each paycheck can make a big difference) and planning in advance can help you snag things on sale or on a discount. 

    Congratulations and have fun!
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  • You can do some planning things now, like figuring out your budget and thinking about who you would want to invite. Guest list size and budget together kind of dictate the wedding you have. There may also be some venues that you need to book way way in advance as well. Having a longer engagement gives you time to save. 

    You cannot truly say you have chosen a date until you have the venue. Some brides get very attached to a particular date and then have trouble when the venues they want are not available. For now, October 2016, or even fall 2016 are specific enough. 

    I would wait to ask the bridal party at the earliest a year out, if not nine months before which might be better. 
  • I got engaged end of October.  We're not getting married until Sept 2016.  We've booked our venue already because it was the last weekend the had left in September of 2016.  Nice part about planning early is longer time to pay it all off.  Our venue put us on a payment plan for the next year and 9ish months.
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