You've scored the bling, so what's next for you?

Essentially, planning a wedding takes roughly 9-12 months, 12-14 months if you're considering a destination wedding. Relax, take the time to enjoy the process, and let us help.

We've compiled seven of the most important things you'll need for a successful wedding. 

1. Set a timetable: As soon as you're engaged, other than requests to see the ring and to know how the question was popped, people will soon inquire about the big day. Realistically, a date won't be set until other important things are in place. 

Bahamas Tip: Sit down with your partner and decide a range of dates that work for you. Some people will recommend avoiding holidays but depending on what you both want, holidays may work in your favour. Give yourself enough time to play around with dates.

Money in Hands

2. Money, Money, Money: If you and your fiancé are paying for the wedding out of pocket, it's okay to plan an affordable wedding and focus on splurging for the honeymoon. Keep in mind, if you are taking on the expenses, you have the freedom to personalise your wedding to your tastes without added pressure. According to the American Wedding Study 2016, the average wedding cost is $26,522 but yours doesn't have to be!

Bahamas Tip: Consider the wedding you want and how much you're comfortable spending. Do you want intimate on the beach or historic in the remains of a plantation owner's castle? Have the awkward contribution conversation with your family, adding in the guest count and crunch numbers. This is the most tedious part of wedding planning (unless you love numbers) but it is also the most crucial as it affects everyone.

3. Choose Your Venue: Think back to when you pinned the perfect wedding on Pinterest, which style was it? Which venue would best compliment that? If it's a destination wedding, consult a wedding planner who is well versed with the country and its wedding locations and can match you with the best location.

Bahamas Tip: Inspiration is key. Here's the time to purchase all the wedding magazines. Some of the more popular ones go for 59 cents an issue on the Kindle depending on whether you have a Prime membership or not. The traditional paper magazines are just as inspiring. Heck, make an inspiration board! Inspiration can come from anywhere. The sky is the limit. That idea is on us!

4. The Perfect Palette: What's your colour scheme? It's okay if you don't have anything in mind right now. The colours you choose will, however, affect everything, believe us. Colours help to set the mood. You can choose to either be safe or daring. You only live once, go out with a splash, of colour, that is. 

Bahamas Tip: Avoid colours that are expected due to seasons or clichés. Go with the type of mood you'd like to create. Do consider colour trends. Consider whether or not your colour clashes with your venues. How will it look on your bridal party? Find a colour that you love, one that's easy to find and run with it. 

5. Who's Who & Who Will Not Attend: We will have a more comprehensive post on this later but for now it's important for you to realise that unless you can afford it, your wedding should not be the biggest event of the year. Depending on your venue and budget, you may be restricted on how many people you can invite. Be particular and cautious.

Bahamas Tip: With a guest list comes etiquette rules. For example, etiquette advisors would say if you invite one cousin, all should be invited. If you have a lot of cousins, this rule could prove to be costly. Prioritise using the numeric system - use 1, 2, 3 and rate the guests starting from close family and friends to guests and see what your budget allows. Or you can opt to come to The Bahamas for a destination wedding which gives you the freedom to invite fewer guests while splurging on "extras" such as gift bags and planned activities on the island of your choice. 

6. Save the Date Announcements: Save the date announcements should be sent out 6-8 months before the wedding. But if you're planning a destination wedding they should be sent 8-10 months in advance. This gives everyone on your guest list time to save and plan. Decide whether your announcements will also serve as invitations or whether the invitations will follow.

Bahamas Tip: If your save the dates will also be invitations, advise when you would need an RSVP by. For older guests, follow up with a phone call, after the announcements/invitations are sent. If invites will not be included in announcements only send to your A-list as B-list guests will also expect an invitation. Make sure you print on your announcement "invitation to follow".

Rings

7. Wedding/Honeymoon Registry: Twenty-five percent of couples use gifts from wedding guests to help cover the costs of a honeymoon. This is called a travel registry. Gone are the days, registries are simply plates and fancy china you will never use. Now they can be anything you desire, including experiences.

Bahamas Tip: Not to toot our own horn but only in The Bahamas will you find a registry unique to the Islands of The Bahamas. If a destination wedding isn't in your future, keep in mind that you can register at more than one location and for a wide range of gifts at different prices. You can also request items that match you as a couple. Explore different sets of registries, and remember you only have one wedding day, enjoy!

By the way, have you considered insuring that gorgeous stone?