Just got engaged? Now what? First, congratulations on your engagement! If you’re like most newly engaged couples, then we are sure you are wondering, “Now what?”. Visiting a wedding blog, like this one here at Gruene Estate, is a great first step because we serve up weekly wedding inspiration for planning the wedding of your dreams. Your engagement is one of the best times in your life, and one that should be celebrated and enjoyed….so enjoy it! Before you start planning anything, you should take a deep breath and remember to cherish the moments in this time of your life.

Remember through all of this to enjoy the ride and remember what this is all about, you and your fiancé! Some couples let the planning process weigh them down, but who wants to remember stress as a part of their wedding? Don’t let the little things get you down. Remember, if things ever get a little too stressful, take a break. Take a step away from planning and just don’t talk wedding for a few days. You will be amazed at how a few days off will have you coming back refreshed and ready to start again with a new perspective (and maybe a few new creative ideas!).  Have fun, relax, and enjoy being engaged. The next few months are going to be stressful, exciting, and full of emotions, so try not to lose track of why you’re doing this: because you’re in love and are ready to make a loving commitment to one another!

Below is our “Top 10 Wedding Planning Checklist” to help you get started planning the wedding of your dreams. So, grab a cup of coffee (or two) and let the planning begin! Happy Wedding Planning!! ♥

  1. Communicate and Understand Each Other’s Priorities

To kick this off, before making any big decisions, it is imperative that you sit down with your partner and discuss what the ultimate wedding looks like for both of you. First things first: never forget that you guys are a team. Good communication throughout the wedding planning journey will be essential to help you avoid any misunderstandings or conflicts along the way. To start the conversation, you might want to make separate lists of your personal priorities for the day and exchange your answers. These priorities can include everything from the overall vibe you want to create right down to specific details like entertainment, food or decor. Throughout this process, you will be faced with an array of advice and opinions (whether you want to hear them or not) about how you should plan your wedding, and that’s okay. Some of the advice is helpful and you will appreciate it.  But remember, at the core, this day is all about you and your fiancé. Don’t let other people take control of your vision for your wedding! Having this conversation about the priorities and expectations of your wedding as a couple up front is a way to help quiet the “noise” during the planning process. Getting on the same page early on only makes things easier as the process progresses.

  1. Have The Big Conversations Upfront

Along with discussing your shared priorities, you’ll also want to make sure you get any other big conversations out of the way as soon as possible. For example – how much are you willing to spend on your wedding? How many guests do you want to invite? Are you open to receiving financial help from parents or family members, and if so, how much input will they have into your day? While you don’t need to make a final guest list at this point, having a rough idea of how many people you’d like to have at the wedding will allow you to really determine your budget and will help in the next step of the checklist, choosing a wedding venue. All of these questions can be a bit tricky to navigate, but remember, this is your partner. These are some of the first major decisions you will make that will make the rest of the process much smoother. Compromise is key! Also, there are tons of helpful resources out there to create a budget or how to narrow down a guest list.

  1. Finding Your Wedding Venue

Now that you have a shared vision with you partner and you have a rough idea of your budget and how many are on your guest list, the next step is to select your wedding venue. Trust us when we say, the most important thing for you to book first in this process is your venue. Your wedding venue is the foundation for your day, it sets the tone and is the canvas upon which you’ll create your wedding design.  It also can help determine your timeline, your budget and the date that you will have your wedding. Venue’s book up pretty far in advance so we recommend doing this first, it will make planning the rest of the event so much easier. It’s also important that you find a venue that is both functional and fits your style. Your venue is the backdrop for all of your wedding photos, so you’d better like looking at it! We may be biased but you have already taken a step in the right direction by visiting us here at Gruene Estate.  We are a premiere outdoor wedding venue in the Texas Hill Country. A truly one-of-a-kind venue in the heart of the Gruene and New Braunfels area. Couples come from near and far to start their lives together at our beautiful wedding venue, and to take advantage of all of the venue’s stunning details. Our company mantra is that our brides and grooms are our number one priority! After you finish reading through the checklist, pop on over to this blog to read all about our venue, the charming amenities and unique additions we offer our bride and groom on their special day.

  1. Determine Your Wedding Style

Settling on an overarching concept and sticking to it is the easiest way to plan a wedding that feels unified and looks like you—and trust us, it will make your life a lot easier as you weed through all the options in the weeks and months to come. So, before you start trying on dresses, booking your band or sampling a bite of cake—look at the big picture and determine the vibe you want to set on your wedding day. Gather and save inspiration as you do this. Pinterest is your best friend here. Narrow in on a style, pick your colors and try to figure out what “vibe” you want your wedding to be. You want your personalities and passions to shine through, which is what ultimately makes your wedding stand out and feel special.

  1. Find Your Wedding Photographer

Booking a photographer early is smart because the best ones are usually worth the money and the most popular months book up over a year in advance.  Once you have your venue and date picked, it will help you really get a photographer nailed down because you will be able to request that specific date. (*Note, the more time you give yourself to plan, the easier it will be to find a venue and your chosen photographer available on the same day). Once you get your photographer booked, engagement photos are an excellent opportunity to get some lovely shots of you and your fiancé. It is also a great chance to meet and work with your photographer before the big day, plus it gives you a chance to get a bit more comfortable in front of the camera! (It’s not so easy at first if you’ve never done it before!) Even if you’re not the type to spam your social media with your engagement pics, they’re a great memory to have of an exciting time in your and your partner’s lives. 

  1. Find the Perfect Wedding Dress

Now here’s the part we know you brides have been waiting for! It would be great if there were a secret to finding your dress, but it takes time, patience and a good sense of your personal style and body type. Shopping for a dress isn’t like picking up an outfit for the weekend, it’s a unique shopping experience for sure. Don’t rush into anything. Try on as many dresses as your heart desires. As you get into the process, try to figure out a good budget for you because it’s very easy to fall in love with something that could be well over your price range. But trust us, there are tons of incredible, and price-conscious wedding dresses out there. Just take some time and do your research. And ask questions! Don’t forget to include fittings, alterations and any accessories into your budget. Those can add up quick. The best part of wedding dress shopping is, when you find the one, it’s a magical moment you won’t forget!

  1. Create a Wedding Website

A wedding website is probably the best platform for bringing your guests together in one virtual place. There are so many benefits – from streamlining the planning process and communicating with guests, to building that beautiful excitement for the big day. Creating a wedding website is actually super simple and straightforward. Set it up and then post as much information as you want. It’ll make planning your event much easier, especially if you can set up alerts to notify people of any changes or news on the site. There are many options of setting up free wedding websites such as The Knot, Zola, and Wedding Wire. These free wedding websites will allow you to create pages that include details about the ceremony, information about the reception, links to your wedding registries, hotel blocks for out of town guests, maps and area information, photos, facts about you and your wedding party, an online guest book, and a place where your guests can RSVP. Some of these free wedding websites even come with a personalized domain name and a mobile website. You can share your wedding website address on your save the date cards, engagement party invitations, and your wedding invitations.

  1.  Book the Rest of your Vendors

Now that you have your wedding date, your budget and your venue set, you can start booking the rest of your vendors! Your first resource to start this process should be your venue. Find out if they have a list of preferred vendors or if they have any recommendations for you. Make sure to be very clear as to what the venue offers you as part of your package/contract so that you only book the vendors that are needed.  Another way to research vendors is you can attend wedding shows in the area and meet the vendors in person. And of course, word of mouth is always great! This is the time where you can ask your friends and family for all of that advice they probably have already been offering along the way. 😉 Once you have a list of options, make sure they are available and within your budget, and be sure to read the contract (twice!) before you sign anything. You want to make sure you are in control of your day and that you are getting everything you anticipated!

  1. Wedding Flowers

Speaking of vendors, a florist may be someone on your list or you may be planning to DIY your flowers. The right florals add such a wonderful, ethereal feel to any wedding. Pro tip- research what flowers are in season on your wedding day. While many flowers bloom year-round, there are some in-season flowers that are pure wedding perfection. Flowers are the perfect way to add color and to compliment your wedding “vibe”. Having a summer wedding with bright colors? Fill your bridal bouquet with pink and yellow Gerber Daisies. How about a fall wedding? Dried flowers and pampas grass are becoming more and more popular and add a rustic charm to the deep colors of fall. How about Spring? Tulips are your best friend and come in many bright and charming colors. Whether you hire a florist or DIY your flowers, there is a ton of information online about the best flowers to enhance your occasion!

  1. Finalize your wedding list and send save the dates

Now that you have some of your major details squared away, it’s time to finalize that wedding list and if you want to, send save the dates. The wedding list can be something that sneaks up on you as a tough part of the planning process. Don’t overthink it. You know the number your venue and budget allow, now make decisions based on that. What family members must be in attendance? Will you have children at the wedding? How many of your mom’s tennis friends really need to be there? While we absolutely encourage some sensitivity around the list and who your family requests to be invited, always remember, this is you and your fiancé’s day. Be sure to have the people you want surrounding you on that day at the top of your list! Once you feel like your list is complete, use one of your beautiful engagement pictures and create a Save the Date! These can be printed and mailed or you can use your wedding website to send. Either way, a Save the Date is a great idea to ensure your guests keep your wedding date free. There are many different recommendations about when to send it out so we will leave that up to you, but keep in mind, if people have to travel, the more advance notice the better!

We hope this list helped ease your mind and get you started with your wedding planning! If you are looking to have a wedding in the Texas Hill Country, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at Gruene Estate. Our number one goal is to make the planning process as easy as possible on our bride and groom. We would love to be apart of your special day!

Photos by Jessica Chole