Photo by Ashlephoto

If one of your holiday gifts involved a diamond and a significant four-word question, your new year might be full of etiquette books and vendor samples. For those still radiating newly engaged bliss, Kate & Company has some advice.

Following an engagement, Jill Perez, lead coordinator at Kate & Company, recommends couples take a moment to pause. “You get such little time to relish in it,” she says. “Spend some time with family and friends—and, of course, it’s time to get going soon after.”

For the newly engaged, Perez says step one is brainstorming. “Sit down and talk as a couple. Before you meet with a planner—if that’s something you’re going to do—you really need to be on the same page about what you want.” For those hoping to work with a coordinator, Perez recommends meeting with several to find the right match. She advises to look for comfort, compatibility and proper listening while deciding on a planner.

Next on the to-do list: Create a budget and a guest list. “The good thing about a planner is that we’re able to work with many different budgets,” Perez says. “If paper products are not the most important thing to a bride and groom, why should we send them to a vendor specialized in top-of-the-line papers? If flowers are very important, we want to make sure they’re getting the most bang for their buck.”

The budget also can help answer certain questions about the guest list, such as whether single guests may bring a plus-one. Perez reminds couples to start on the guest list early, as the process may involve not just the bride- and groom-to-be’s guests, but guests of their families, as well. “The good thing about having a planner is that we will really guide you along that process of the timeline. It’s not as overwhelming as thinking you have to do everything at once.”

For those not at the wedding planning stage of their relationship, Kate & Company offers proposal planning services. “More and more, I think you’ll notice a trend of proposal-planning, because [proposals] seem to be getting bigger,” says Perez. Case in point: the videotaped scavenger hunt Kate & Company recently worked on, which ended with a soon-to-be bride meeting her now-fiancé, baseball-shaped ring box in hand, on the grass at Busch Stadium. “We like to help those guys plan a great proposal, but we don’t necessarily think it has to be complex.” Instead, she explains the proposals should reflect what is important to the couple and hopeful-bride-to-be. Over-the-top, public proposals can be great for those who would like the spectacle and attention it brings; however, she notes, it might not be right for a more reserved future-bride.

If you’re hoping to pop the question on the next big romantic holiday, keep in mind that Kate & Company suggests at least three weeks of preparation time. Much like at a wedding-planning session, Perez recommends future grooms bring any and all ideas so one of Kate & Company’s pros can help bring it together. “Our favorite way of doing it is learning some more about them as a couple, and coming up with something where we can be really behind-the-scenes,” says Perez. “We don’t want it to come from us, we want it to come from them.”

On the Cover: Kate & Company offers customizable planning packages for events, proposals and weddings. For more information, call 909-9996 or visit kateandcollc.com.

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