8 Things You Should Do As Soon As You Get Engaged
I'M ENGAGED! NOW WHAT?
First things first -- You’re Engaged! Congratulations!!! This is such a beautiful time in your life and I’m so happy for you! If you’re anything like me, you just can’t stop staring at that beautiful ring on your finger and being thankful for the sweetheart who gave it to you!
After I was engaged everyone began asking me a lot of specific questions. When’s the wedding? Have you picked a date? Where is it? What should I wear? Whose taking the photos/doing the ceremony music/making the cake/etc? I hadn’t even caught my breath, but the number of questions I didn’t know the answer to really left my head spinning! My sweet friends and family were so well meaning and I really appreciated that they cared enough to ask! However, it really left me wishing that I’d had a step by step guide on what to do next. Well, my lovely bride, I now present to you the “I’m Engaged! Now What?” guide!
Here are 8 ideas to get you started on your way!
Take Your Time
Now that you are engaged, everyone is asking a million questions and it leaves you feeling like you should jump straight into wedding planning full force. However, I urge you to step back and just breathe! It’s really ok not to know the answers to their questions right now. You’ll only be engaged once in your life and you want to enjoy this time.
I have seen so many brides run straight out and ask all their friends to be bridesmaids, buy a dress, and book their date before they’ve even had time to get a full picture of their wedding day. When you do this you might find that you rushed into some choices a little too quickly! Unless you know for certain that you are getting married in only a few months, I recommend that you sit back, enjoy being engaged, and avoid making any final decisions for at least three or four weeks after you get engaged.
While you are taking a couple weeks to sit back and enjoy your engagement, use that time to get inspired and get a full picture of your wedding day. Without making any final decisions, discuss the following with your fiancé (isn’t it great to call them that now?!?!).
Do you want an outdoor wedding/reception? Where do you envision it happening? What time of year is it? How formal is the event? What kind of feelings do you want your guests to have (ambience)? Is the event big (everyone you know) or small (just those that are closest to you)?
Take some of these questions and begin defining the overall “style” of your wedding. Now, before you dive headlong into Pinterest, I encourage you to look inward first for your inspiration. What kind of unique qualities does your relationship have that can be incorporated into the wedding? Do you love camping and hiking? Maybe an outdoor ceremony in the forest of a nature preserve or camp would be a meaningful location to get married. Do you love ice cream and stop in every new city to try out a new ice cream place together? Perhaps your cocktail hour can feature each of your favorite flavors as signature treats for guests. Did you meet in a unique way? Perhaps aspects of that fateful meeting can be incorporated into your décor.
Hire a Wedding Planning
If you are currently planning to go it alone or designate a family member as your wedding planner, I strongly encourage you to reconsider! An experienced wedding planner is one of the best investments you can possible make on your wedding day. Your wedding planner will act as your mediator between your parents when you have differing opinions on the wedding. They will help you find honest, extraordinarily talented vendors who will set your day apart. They will handle all of the behind-the-scenes craziness of the wedding day so that you will never worry about any of them. They will correspond with all of your wedding vendors about the nitty gritty details so that you can focus on your fiancé instead of your email inbox. A great planner is likely to SAVE you as much money as you spend on them and will help you enjoy being engaged instead of being utterly overwhelmed!
As a photographer, I know from experience, wedding planners make for happy and relaxed brides on their wedding days and happy and relaxed brides look happy and relaxed in their images! A win-win all around!!!
Set a Tentative Guest List
Believe it or not, your guest list will determine a lot of things for your wedding! If you have a big guest list, you’ll know that intimate venues for 30 people won’t be the right places for you to say ‘I Do’. Feeding 20 guests is also a lot different than feeding 200! In order to properly determine your budget, you’ll want to have at least a general guest list in mind. Don’t forget to ask all parents to review the list, too (especially if they are going to be contributing monetarily to the wedding)! Parents normally have additional guests to add to the list that you might not have considered.
Set a Budget
This is one of the less fun parts of wedding planning, but very important. Are you and your fiancé paying for the wedding yourself or is your family helping? If others are contributing, you’ll want to have these necessary conversations with them early so that everyone will be on the same page. Your budget will help you determine your next steps in what venues, gowns, vendors, and décor to look for, as well!
Determine Your Priorities
As you prepare to make big decisions about your wedding vendors for your day, think a moment about what your biggest priorities on your wedding day are. If there is a band that you simply have to have at your reception, or an amazing florist is key to executing your vision, act on hiring those individuals first. As a photographer myself, our wedding photographer was the number one vendor priority for the wedding day (go figure!) and I knew that I would make sacrifices to have a photographer who would capture the day the way we dreamed of. As such, we booked our photographer first and then picked our wedding date and venue based on her availability. Wedding professionals typically book a year or more in advance so once you have established your priorities, it is helpful to secure those first. An excellent planner will also be key to helping you find the perfect vendors!
Keep Your Eyes Set On The Real Reason You're Doing This
It is so easy to get overwhelmed. Honey, I know it! There are a million blogs, magazines, and wedding shows out there with even more ideas. Whenever you are feeling overwhelmed or get flustered with your decision making, take a step back and remember why you are really doing this! Your wedding day is the first day of your marriage to the love of your life and the commitment you are making to each other is the only true reason for this day. When you remember that core truth, suddenly coral vs blush peonies, or fretting over the perfect bridesmaids dresses, all fade into perspective. Details are fun and oh so pretty, but they pale in comparison to the love you share and the marriage you are heading into!
Spend Time With Your Fiancé
Don’t forget about your fiancé! Sometimes brides will get so overwhelmed (or obsessed) with planning that your significant other will feel pushed to the side (especially if he or she is not particularly involved in the planning). Take plenty of time to step away from planning altogether and just be the two of you! Your engagement is a time to treasure and you want to remember it as fondly when you look back on it. I recommend designating time each week (it could even be a fun date night!) to talk about anything and everything except wedding planning so that you can both refresh and refocus!
Lindsey LaRue is a Georgia wedding and anniversary photographer for heirloom couples who love timeless, romantic, and legacy-filled imagery. She serves the Southeastern U.S. and beyond, traveling often. Learn more about her wedding photography at www.lindseylarue.com.