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The Season of Engagement

A guide to planning your special day

Love is in the air! With the stress of the holidays behind us and Valentine’s Day nearing, now is the time to start planning your special day and enjoying all the milestones that come with the process. For most couples, engagement is the shortest period of time spent together, and though it can be hectic, it’s a special chapter that won’t come again. As you finally begin planning your wedding, the long to-do lists may be daunting. But if you start early and take it piece by piece, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy each step in the journey toward life together! 

First: Find the perfect venue and date 

When you start planning, it’s most important to choose your venue first, so that you can finalize your date and start building the event around it. Have a special date in mind? Talk to several venues to find out if it’s available! If your dates are flexible, start by narrowing things down to a specific season or month for this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Then you’ll be able to explore dates with a venue. And if you haven’t yet found your dream venue, set up a tour (or multiple) to find one that accommodates your style as a couple. Book your date before taking on the details!  

Second: Vendors, vendors, vendors 

After you’ve booked your venue and finalized your date, it’s time to start searching for vendors. From photographers and florists to caterers and coordinators, weddings are made up of a lot of moving parts. They each play a role in creating your wedding’s atmosphere, so it’s important to consider what kind of wedding style you envision. Are you going for dramatic and dark? Bright and airy? Moody and colorful? Pinterest will become you and your bride or groom-to-be's best friend at this stage of your wedding planning experience. Once you’ve found your dream wedding style, you’ll be able to choose vendors that fit into your aesthetic.  

Third: Don't forget the details 

Sometimes, the magic is in the details. During this step of the process, you’ll choose your wedding’s colors, finalize invitation designs and guest lists, work with your officiant to map out the ceremony, and create a rough timeline for your reception. This is also the time to think about your must-haves. Is there anything specific you’ve always dreamed of incorporating into your wedding? This is the time to make sure these special additions get included.  

Fourth: You’re almost there! 

You’ve confirmed your final guest count with your vendors. You’ve double and triple-checked your timeline and gotten the go-ahead from your coordinator and photographer. You have reviewed all of your rentals and decided on all of the final little decor, table setting, and floral details. On the week of your wedding, you’ll go to the courthouse to get your marriage license and keep it somewhere safe, where it absolutely won’t be lost or forgotten. Then relax and savor your last few special days together as fiancés - you are ready for the big day! 

Choose a venue and set a date! 

At least 7 months before the wedding date 

Book your vendors  

4-6 months before the wedding date 

Narrow down the details 

1-3 months before the wedding date 

Finalize and make last minute choices 

Final 30 days before the wedding date 

Tyler O'Donnell runs and directs all operations at The Bella Donna Wedding Chapel and Event Center. She is an alum of The University of Oklahoma and takes pride in making sure your big day is everything you've dreamt of and more! In her free time, Tyler serves as a board member for The Stonebrook Project.

  • Photo: Cindy Alvarez

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