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You’re Engaged! …So What’s Next? | The First Steps to Planning Your Dream Wedding

You’re Engaged! …So What’s Next? | The First Steps to Planning Your Dream Wedding
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Photo by ShutterFreek


It's the first question on any bride's mind... often before she's even officially a bride! Somehow with the advent of countless online articles, the information can just feel overwhelming.  This article should help make it all feel a lot more manageable...

You're Engaged... Now what?

First of all, congratulations on your engagement!  If you and your S.O. consider yourself an 'adventure couple' and are planning either a destination wedding or elopement, this is the perfect article for you!  We are the top inspiration resource for Destination Brides & Adventure Couples celebrating their big day in one of the most incredible and expansive areas of the country-- the West! Whether you're tying the knot in Southern Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, or Arizona, we'll help you through the planning process at this early stage of your engagement. We'll be focusing mainly on bringing your vision together and nailing down the budget...


1. Envision your dream wedding


This is your wedding day! You're about to plan for the most gorgeous celebration of your life! Right now, the sky's the limit-- take the time to truly envision what this gorgeous day is going to look like. Every time you think of a something, even the little details like ring boxes or pins, write it down! You don't want to forget a single brilliant idea!


Imagine what kind of location you see in your mind, what time of year (so you can set a good date), and how you want your big day to feel? (We'll get to specifics in a moment).

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2. Nail down the budget

Have your dream wedding in your mind? Awesome! The reason it's so key to begin with the vision rather than the budget is because you'll be surprise along the way how much of your dream wedding is actually possible when you're willing to do a little digging. That includes finding the perfect venue, the right planner, an experienced photographer, and more. Your focus right now isn't on trimming things out right now. Instead, know your budget and ask these questions...

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Featuring Basic Invite


Wedding or Elopement?


Did you envision a full wedding or an elopement?


Adventure couples are known to have the best time doing either, but making that decision will more accurately set the pace for your budget. After all, more guests mean more rentals and catering, but that may be exactly where you feel the best money is spent.


Perhaps when you wrote down your vision, killer views were a bigger priority. And, of course, as some of our adventure couples have elected to do, you might even do a little of both. This is your big day-- YOU call the shots! Here's a way to help narrow down which you'd prefer to plan for...

Finding Your Dream Wedding Style

How do you envision your wedding day?

By now, it's highly likely you've selected a wedding style (at least in your mind's eye). While there are a number of styles (even more than we showcase here), we've narrowed it down to several of the most popular among Zion Brides couples.




Photographers: (top left to bottom right in order) Kindred & Co, Ashley & Justin Photography, Casandrah Jensen, Shutterfreek, JoAnn's Photography, Niki Baldwin Photography


Much of this is ideal to do with a planner (which is why we've included tips on how to find the right one for you), especially if you'll need rentals. Sometimes your style comes after you've selected the perfect dress. In the early stages, it's okay to still be figuring this out.




Your vendors are your dream team. We'll be guiding you through the process of selecting your ideal Planner & Photographer later... One important tip is to give yourself plenty of lead time to make sure you lock down your ideal selections for Venue, Photographer, and Planner for the big day.

Odds are this is your first time getting hitched.  Most of our brides have looked around long before a ring ever touched their finger trying to decide who they would eventually select as a photographer (or the venue for the big event).  That aside, they haven't formally put a list together of everything they'll need.  We've taken the liberty of assembling your dream team vendor checklist to help get you organized in this early stage of your engagement. 


Getting married or eloping in Southern Utah (or near that area) and need help with vendors?  Click here.




We understand a budget is necessary for a wedding or elopement. Some couples are paying for themselves, others have some help from family/friends. You have a few key pieces that can trim the budget and still throw the wedding of your dreams!



Items that you may scale back a little

Guest List:
You want as many as you can, which we totally get! Just remember that the fewer you have, the smaller the budget needed for the items below...

  • Catering
  • Open Bar
  • Some Rentals (amount of tables | chairs)

So make the guest list and wedding party your A-listers and stream your ceremony to the rest!


Highly recommended not to skimp on

While saving some cash may be a virtue in certain parts of your wedding, these items below can severely hurt your overall experience if cut or 'bought on the cheap', Be sure to prioritize these items when it comes to allotting your funds.

  • Great Venue
  • *Experienced Photographer
  • *Real Florals
  • *A Perfect-Fit Wedding Dress
  • Planner | Same-Day Coordinator

*These will make a major difference in you liking your photos or LOVING your photos.


This is a great place to start, but we have so much more to cover.  Luckily we've recently released a guide just for couples like you!  It's free to open, just click down guide below.




Are you getting married or eloping?  Don't do anything until you've read this guide!



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The Top Resource for Adventure Couples & Destination Brides
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ZB Team Since 2018
The Top Resource for Adventure Couples & Destination Brides
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ZB Team Since 2018

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Welcome to ZION BRIDES

Our online inspo publication, started in 2018, has helped countless couples find everything from how to build their dream wedding to the vendors that can make it all possible. 

We've achieved our mission of becoming the top site for destination weddings in the Southwest and want you to see why!  Our staff has years of experience in the industry and shares top tips, inspo, vendors, and more!  Let Zion Brides be your guide...

Zion Brides is honored to serve couples looking to have their destination wedding or elopement in and around places like Zion National Park, Moab, Grand Canyon, Sedona, Big Sur, and more. 


Need some ideas?  Looking for planners or venues?  Start here...