This is becoming an increasingly common scenario we’re hearing about. The question hasn’t been popped, there’s no ring, but a wedding date, venue and key vendors have been booked. In 2019, some couples start planning the day well in advance of their engagement and it can be a very smart idea.
Aly Armstrong, principal event planner at Aly Armstrong Events in Vancouver says this is the new reality for many soon-to-be-engaged. She has recently worked with a few couples who started the wedding planning process well in advance of their engagement. Here she shares her thoughts on why it can be extremely savvy and some things to consider before you forge ahead with advance wedding planning.
When did you notice this shift happening with couples and wedding planning and why are couples going this untraditional route? “In the past three years it’s really become a thing. I personally have worked with two couples who started planning prior to getting engaged. In both cases, the couples were in their early 30’s and had openly discussed marriage and starting a family as soon as possible. Their motivation and sense of urgency to begin the planning process came from a fear of not getting a preferred venue and wedding date. They opted to select a date, venue and secure key vendors prior to the engagement to ensure they could have the wedding of their dreams.”
How far in advance do couples typically start planning before engagement? “My most recent couple worked with me for six months before they got engaged. We started planning their wedding for the following year in the summer and they got engaged around the holidays. The wedding was then six months later.”
Do you think going this route with your wedding planning is a smart move? “I have to admit, with my first experience, I was a bit hesitant to take them on as clients. But I quickly realized they were a committed and loving couple who had a very open channel of communication with one another and their families. The bride in this case was vocal however about her expectations for the engagement; she wanted it to be very special and wanted to feel 'surprised' by the circumstance. Clearly she knew it was inevitable but it was still magical nonetheless. I think as long as you as a couple are on the same page there is no harm doing a little advance planning. I would in no way advocate for one person to start planning a wedding without their partner’s support. Don’t put the cart before the horse!”
For couples who are considering advance planning, what are some challenges they may encounter and some tips to ensure the process runs smoothly? “A flag that does come up for me is ‘Why hasn’t the proposal happened yet?’ and the fear that someone will have cold feet! The onus will be on you as a couple to deal with any repercussions in case something does happen like loss of venue and vendor deposits for example. I would caution against making any secret plans. As a couple, you want to ensure you’re on the same page and your expectations… alignment is key!”
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