Congratulations, you’re engaged! And despite working at a wedding venue I still had no idea where to start and maybe you don’t either. This post should help you get your feet wet and get the ball rolling on wedding planning.

I was completely surprised by my fiancé asking me to marry him. We had discussed it plenty of times and I knew we would be married someday, but he was still in graduate school and wanted to wait to get engaged until after he graduated. That was all fine and good. And then he didn’t wait. Deciding instead to ask seven months before his expected graduation date.

It was the perfect proposal (story to come later if y’all are interested) at my favorite place and completely unexpected. I didn’t even have a Pinterest board started yet. And of course, I said yes! This happened while we were travelling so we had a week left of happy engagement feels and he requested we don’t start planning anything until we got back to real life. As soon as we got back to Texas, I was stressed.

After two weeks of travelling abroad with my family, we got off the plane and immediately drove for six hours to Corpus for a beach trip with his family. The second we got in the door (at 9:30 pm after 14+ hours of planes and cars) we were bombarded with questions. Where’s the ring? When are you getting married? Where are you getting married? Have y’all started a guest list? When will we have more grandchildren?

Whoa, pump the brakes people. All I’ve done since this kid asked is stare at my sparkly ring.

After chatting with his mom and aunts we went to a bar to meet up with his siblings. Once again, a barrage of the same questions were thrown at us.

Even friends, as we told them, wanted every single detail the minute they knew we were engaged.

There are plenty of blogs about the steps to take after getting engaged and the order in which to do them, I few I found helpful are here: 

 Photo by: J May Photography

Photo by: J May Photography

 Photo by: Paul Von Reiter

Photo by: Paul Von Reiter

But I definitely suggest starting out with two tasks once you’re ready to start planning:

Guest List

Wedding Date

These two components of a wedding seem to be the ones that are needed in order to start everything else. Photographers need a date, venues, caterers, and bakers need a guest count. So it seemed the most obvious place to start.

When I receive emails asking for pricing at Hodge Podge Lodge one of the first things I ask is: Do you have a date in mind or an estimate of how many people you are going to invite? These two questions help me point our prospective brides toward a package that is right for them and it also lets me check our calendar to see if we are booked on the day they are requesting.

Some people will be dead set on a date. I know 11-11 is a popular date and this year November 11th fell on a Saturday, perfect wedding day. There were quite a few inquiries for this date and this date alone. These people wanted this date or nothing. If you have a specific date that you want to get married share that with the venues you are emailing so that if they are booked, you can move right along to the next one.

I didn’t have a specific date in mind, I have general seasons that I like, spring and fall, so when I speak with venues or vendors it’s not so much about the date, as long as they have some availability during the months I like, they are in the running. Once I pick a venue I will have a date nailed down and will then be able to share that with the rest of the vendors in an attempt to narrow down my options.

The next most important thing is the guest list. This will help narrow down your venue options based on their ability to accommodate your guests and your caterers based on the budget you have set for them.

As mentioned before, I always ask prospective clients to share their guest count when they inquire about Hodge Podge Lodge. While we throw amazing weddings for smaller guest counts, our historic home is not built to accommodate more than about 150 guests. So when someone asks for HPL pricing for a 300 guest wedding instead of the possibility of having them tour and love HPL only to be disappointed when they learn their guest count is too large, I am able point them to our fellow nearby venues that do accommodate that size guest count.

This can go the other way too. I have a guest list of 114 people, and obviously not every single one of those people will show up. So when I tour venues I am considering if the space will look “empty” with 100 people in. I do not need a venue that maxes out at 500 because then there will be too much space and I will end up having to fill it with items that cost me more money to make the space feel comfortable and homey.

These two items are a great place to start! When I first sat down and realized all the details that needed to be planned for a wedding I was extremely overwhelmed! I broke things done into smaller chunks and wrote a list. Doing these two fairly simple tasks first have helped a lot! Next step: Pick a venue!

Until next time,



Where are you in the wedding planning process? Was there something that you found extremely helpful after getting engaged?

Let me know!


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Header Photo by Kati Hewitt Photography