Newly engaged? Congratulations! Now, where to start wedding planning!?

Image: Wild Atlantic Way wedding elopement shoot shot by Remain in Light Photography

We hope you've taken at least a little time to enjoy the celebrations before jumping into wedding planning - you deserve to make the most of it!

Eventually though, the inevitable, 'How do I actually plan a wedding?' questions start creeping into your head - and we're here to help make that simple.

It's not all booking vendors and choosing cake flavours. There are a few first steps newly engaged couples need to contend with before a single vendor is booked, that will help make wedding planning a breeze, so take some time to figure out the details listed below before you jump in head first.

Before we get into the steps, check out the Confetti Wedding Planner - your go to guide to every part of wedding planning. It's our wedding bible and no engaged couple should be without one.

While you're waiting for that to arrive, consider this your wedding planning starter kit - enjoy!

Step one - bask in that newly engaged glory

We're serious! If you haven't taken some time to enjoy simply being engaged, put down the planning pens and break out the champers. Unless of course you plan to be married within three months, in which case, you may need to get your skates on. But you can still do that with champagne in hand.

This is a big deal, and you'll only be engaged for a short period of time (relative to your lifetime together!) so just enjoy it, tell everyone on the planet, and start some gentle wedding planning idea discussions to ease yourselves in.

Further reading:

The 9 most common reactions to being proposed to - which were you?

How NOT to announce your engagement on social media


Step two - consider what kind of wedding you want

If you're not the kind of person who has dreamed about their wedding for their whole life, this one can take a bit of thought. And even if you are, maybe your partner has a different idea.

Before you even think about booking a single thing, look at the big picture and imagine the vibe you want at your ideal wedding. It might be a black tie affair for 500 people or it might be a casual, intimate dinner at your favourite restaurant. There are endless possibilities.

Think about things like if you want it to be casual or formal or somewhere in between, big or small, home or abroad, outdoors or indoors, church or civil ceremony, summer or winter. Do you want it be modern, classic, romantic, vintage, rustic, glam, alternative, or some mix of the lot? Think about how you want to feel on the day, and some firm ideas on what will and won't work for that should become clear.

Further reading:

Wedding styles - how to decide what kind of wedding is right for you

The legalities of getting married in Ireland

The four main types of wedding ceremony in Ireland

How to plan a church wedding

How to plan a civil wedding



Step three - decide your wedding budget

It's not the most romantic of topics, but money plays a big part in weddings. Your budget really determines what kind of wedding you can have and while a black tie banquet at a five star venue for 500 might be your dream, it'll be hard to achieve on a budget of €10,000. You can still have the same vibe, but maybe for less people. Or if you want a big wedding, you may have to go for a black tie vibe but a more budget venue.

There are ways and means of achieving the style of wedding you want, but you may have to make compromises based on your budget. Unless you're a millionaire, everyone has had to do it. You need to consider how much you can realistically save in the time before you'd ideally have the wedding, and you need to determine (delicately!) if your parents plan on contributing anything. Once you're armed with all those numbers, it's time to decide if that sounds do-able or if you want to consider a loan or even a longer engagement period to allow for extra saving.

Be very straight and realistic about what's possible. Saying you'll save a MILLION euro every month is all well and good but if that won't leave you with money for groceries, it's not going to work. The number you decide on will pretty much decide the vendors you can have, so have these conversations, even if you find them uncomfortable, before you start booking anything.

Further reading:

Wedding budgets - how to create one you can afford

Wedding budget worksheet - FREE download for Confetti readers!

How to actually pay for your wedding - our go to guide

Five super easy steps to creating a wedding budget

Wedding budget anxiety be gone - ways to stress less about the bottom line

Step four - decide on your wedding guest list

You probably hoped you could put this off a little longer, but actually your number of guests plays quite significantly into a lot of things down the line, from what wedding venue you can choose to what kind of wedding you can afford. Newly engaged life isn't all quaffing champagne, eh?

It can be easy to get totally carried away, so consider some big questions - who do you really want to celebrate your day with? Do you want a huge wedding, or would a more intimate group suit you better? (Intimate doesn't have to mean 15 people - up to 100 can still be classed as intimate the way Irish weddings go!) How extended do you want to go with your family?

Are you inviting work colleagues, school pals and the entire local football team? With some of these groups, it's all or none, so consider carefully who is important to be present. Oh, and add in an extra table for parents' friends even if you don't think they'll want to invite anyone - they inevitably will.

Overall, be realistic and prioritise. It might end up with some tough calls and ruthless decisions, but you probably can't invite everyone you know, so best to get a good idea of your numbers now.

Further reading:

Wedding guestlist etiquette and tips - a no nonsense guide to who to invite to your wedding

How to master your guest list without offending anyone

Wedding guest list SOS - 5 ways to win the numbers game

Wedding guest list planning in 18 hilarious stages

Take control of your guest list - 5 people you DON'T have to invite

D'unavoidables - 6 types of wedding guest you'll unfortunately probably have to endure


Step five - start vendor research, booking and planning

Now you have a good idea of what you want your wedding to look like, how many people are coming and what you can realistically afford, you can start to get your teeth into the wedding planning process.

Start your wedding planning spreadsheets, gathering wedding vendor recommendations and getting those first booking done so you feel like you've gotten the first hurdle over. It'll all start feeling real very quickly, promise!

Further reading:

The 5 wedding vendors you need to book first

Your 12-month wedding planning timeline - what to do and when to do it

The ultimate wedding checklist - everything you need to check off

Four wedding planning lists you need to maintain

Hiring friends as wedding vendors - are friendors a good idea?


Newly engaged and looking for the best wedding vendors in the biz? Check out our Confetti Recommended Supplier Directory!