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Newly engaged? Here’s how to start your wedding planning

Newly engaged? Here's how to start your wedding planning
Newly engaged? Here's how to start your wedding planning
Newly engaged? Here's how to start your wedding planning

Nearly 40 percent of engagements in the U.S. happen in the two-and-a-half months between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day, with Christmas Eve a particularly popular date for popping the question, surveys show. With the ring on the finger, what’s next?

Determining a budget and overall vision for your wedding are the first steps after you’ve got the bling, says Tammy Johnson, CEO of High Sprits Hospitality, one of the Upstate’s largest wedding event groups.

“Do you want a destination wedding on the beach, or do you want to have a big grand ballroom wedding here locally?” Johnson says. “You and your fiancé need to determine what the goals are for the wedding, from a vision standpoint, then make sure your budget can accommodate that vision.”

When considering your wedding budget, Johnson offers the following Pro Tip: “Every guest at the wedding adds $75 to $250 to the budget. If you’re running on a tight budget and need to eliminate some guests, I recommend holding $100 cash in front of you and look at that name on the guest list. If you would not give that person the cash just because you love them, don’t invite them.”

The location of your wedding is a big part of planning, with the Upstate offering myriad options from farms to formal settings.

“A lot of times I tell our couples to get the venue before the dress, because sometimes your venue determines the dress and you may end up falling in love with a dress that doesn’t fit your venue,” Johnson said.

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When selecting a venue, make sure you know the services and costs offered by the venue such as food catering and bar service. Next, determine the date, making sure to check family calendars for any graduations, special events and in this part of state, football games, taking place that day.

Johnson recommends beginning the search for a venue eight to 24 months ahead of your big day. High Spirits Hospitality, for example, is opening two new event spaces this year at Judson Mill, the former 36-acre textile mill is being converted into a live, work and play, mixed-use district.

“We’re going with the boho industrial theme, very vintage, very authentic, just really warm, welcoming spaces,” Johnson said.

A larger, 7,000-square-foot space called The Annex can accommodate up to 350 seated guests and 600 for a standing reception. Smaller space called The Smokestack, can accommodate 175 to 190 guests, with access to a 3,000-square-foot courtyard.

Smaller, intimate weddings became more the norm during the height of coronavirus, Johnson says, with one trend developing from the pandemic that has been dubbed “sequel weddings.”

“That’s where the couple went out and had a small wedding during the pandemic, and now they want to have a big party and invite all of their friends and family, and so they’re doing a sequel wedding,” Johnson said.

For more information, visit eventsatjudsonmill.com.

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