It happened!  He popped the question.  You said ‘yes’.  You are engaged.  Now what? Well, unless you are one of the fortunate few who has dear old Dad’s Black AMEX and no islands to buy…there is some legwork to be done.

First things first…set a reasonable budget.  Gather information about who and how much  will be contributed financially.  Here is a helpful guidelines to get an idea of how the money usually gets spent from Real Simple.  Still, before you start making flower selections, design must-haves, and pinning your wedding “Wish List” on Pinterest…you also need your first draft of The Guest List.  Without getting into the P’s and Q’s of invites, take some time to determine who and how many people the two of you going to invite.  (A general rule for invites is 20-25% attrition. In layman terms this means 20-25% of those invited will not attend.)  The budget and headcount are critical to the hunt for the next elusive find…the ceremony and reception locations.

Why, you ask, are the ceremony and reception venue selections top of the “bridal-list-of-things-to-do”?  Here it is…
1. Dates go fast – This is particularly relevant to popular wedding destinations and certain venues and locales.  If you have your heart set on a date or a particular location, make every effort to inquire early about availability. (Incidentally, if your date of interest is available…book it. Again, dates go fast.)
2. Booking other vendors – Simply put, most wedding professionals whether it’s a caterer, photographer, or cake baker cannot commit their services for your big day without the date.  Unless you have a location, you don’t have a date.
3. It sets the stage for your Big Day – For the savvy bride the venue can be a budget blessing or a total-budget buster.  Think church hall versus a vineyard and winery or restored historic building.  Although the winery or historic building may cost more to rent than a church hall, they both will likely require less to make beautiful.

A word of warning about the Pinterest “Wedding Wish List”…the images are spectacular and typically represent the “best of the best”.  They can serve as a great inspiration board to share with your event designer, florist or cake baker.  Keep is mind that replicating those images may be cost prohibitive.

For those newly engaged couples looking for something completely new and fresh, 128 South is excited to announce the launch of our second venue, Bakery 105.  Both 128 South and Bakery 105 are featured venues in the upcoming Courtyards & Cobblestones 2014 tour in Wilmington, NC on Saturday, January 18th 2014. Tickets are available for purchase.   {Incidentally, we may be a bit biased towards the charming character of historic venues.}

Incidentally, the photos of Bakery 105 are part of  “Bakery 105 – An Inspiration Shoot” available on our Facebook page.  The shoot was designed by Design Perfection and photos are provided by Blueberry Creative.  Serious talent. Be sure to like our Facebook pages for new photos and updates.