16 Steps Once You Get Engaged
Updated: Dec 3, 2020
This is the moment you've been waiting for. You just said “yes” to the man or woman of your dreams. You've got the ring and you're getting married! Congratulations! While you may still be floating on cloud nine, we know that you’ve got a lot of work to do and we’re here to help you make the most of your engagement.
With so many things to think about, so many people to contact and so much to get done you may start to feel overwhelmed. Don't worry! You have plenty of time to plan the rest of your lives. However, if you're like most newly engaged people, you'll be itching to share the news with all your friends and dive into the actual wedding planning part headfirst.
Pinterest boards, bridal magazines, blogs, dress shopping, venue hunting...the list goes on and on. Years of watching wedding movies couldn't have prepared you for what's to come (trust us, it's totally different). While the average engagement lasts a year to a year and a half, there are certain things you'll want to get done right away, no matter how long you plan on being a fiancé.
Committing the rest of your life to the love of your life is scary and amazing and the best kind of stress, however, it's a major, major milestone, and planning a wedding together is the icing on the cake — we promise!
So where to get started? There's no hard and fast rule on the order to follow. We highly recommend that you tackle the immediate to-dos as soon as possible, though.
Below, you’ll find 16 things to do right after saying yes that will surely set you up for wedding planning success.
1. Tell your nearest and dearest
Call your parents, siblings and closest friends to let them know about the exciting news! (Unless you are keeping your engagement under wraps for a while). The last place they should have to hear about your new status is on social media, so give them a ring personally. Chances are, mom and dad already know what's up and have been eagerly waiting by the phone for your call.They will be so happy you took the time to let them know before updating your Facebook status.
2. Get a Manicure
Your hands will be in the spotlight for the next couple of weeks, which means your mani must look its best. Or, if you're going for the natural look, make sure your nails are clean and shaped. Otherwise, friends will be focusing more on your chipped nail polish than your gorgeous engagement ring. Then you can post that gorgeous ring selfie! A picture is worth a thousand words after all. We can even help getting that perfect Insta-worthy Ring Selfie, too! If you're ready to share with the world that you're engaged, open up that Instagram and share the love. Even better—if the actual proposal was caught on film, nothing is better than that look of surprise. And don't forget to make it Facebook official!
3. Create an email address
You will want one dedicated solely for your wedding. We have many clients who tell us that they wish they created a wedding-specific email address. Instead, they will be emailed (literally forever) by all the vendors they reached out to.
4. Start dreaming about your wedding
Before you start checking off a checklist, sit down with your partner and talk about your wedding day vision. Create a Pinterest board, Google Doc, save photos on Instagram, or create a folder on your computer to compile imagery of your favorite wedding elements. Keep it to yourself just for organizational purposes, or share with your wedding planner, mom, friends, fiancé, and whoever else to view and contribute. Getting on the same page with help eliminate miscommunication down the road. While you can find tons of great ideas and inspiration on Pinterest, we also have a few other ways to get you inspired for your big day! Be sure to check out what other couples are doing by visiting previous blog posts of our Real Nashville Weddings.
5. Discuss a Budget
This is definitely the least fun part of planning a wedding but is key when it comes to deciding what vendors to hire and how many guests to invite but money talks. Unfortunately, no one likes to talk about money. It can be awkward. However, before you can really move forward with any of your wedding plans, this is a discussion that has to be had, be it between you and your spouse, or you, your spouse, and the parents.This is where hiring a professional wedding planner is key. They can secure deals with vendors that you will not be able to because of their long standing relationships with these vendors. In the long run they can potentially save you more than you are paying them both financially, and in terms of stress and time spend working on planning every aspect of your event. Not to mention, they are masters of keeping you on budget.
6. Create your guest list
You really can't start looking at venues or gathering quotes for your wedding until you know how many guests will likely attend. In recent experience, we have seen a lot of events book with lower guest count numbers with the possibility to grow. While we highly recommend this tactic, also make sure you request quotes for the highest possible guest count so that you can know what the bottom line TRULY looks like. You don't want to be caught with any surprises at the end. And that high-end guest count bottom line may also prompt you to lower your guest count to save on costs!
7. Hire a Planner and Build Your Vendor Team
Select your dream team early as many of the best professionals are booked a year or two out! Your wedding planner should be your first hire as they know the best professionals to get you in touch with based on your budget and style. They can also negotiate contracts on your behalf and ensure that you get everything (and sometimes more) than what you are paying for.
8. Consider Dates & Research Venues
The most desirable wedding dates and venues get booked far in advance and with all the postponements from 2020 many dates are already taken, so if you're hoping to get hitched in the next year or two, it's a wise idea to start thinking about the time of year as well as the potential dates now. Find out what works for both your families and if there are any potential conflicts. If at all possible, don't set an exact date. Most venues, especially looking into 2021, will be pretty booked up as far as prime wedding dates. That said, we highly suggest not having a "date" set if at all possible when you're in the initial planning stages. Most venues offer different rates based on different months or even days of weeks. If you're set on a specific venue, be sure to look more openly at their availability.
9. Inquire with your top vendor selections
Initial inquiries to vendors should include ALL your information. Seriously, the more the better! Be sure to include your estimated guest count, possible dates, your fiancee's name, your phone number, if you plan to have a ceremony and reception in the same venue, specific time of the day for your event, what you are envisioning for your ceremony and reception (it takes a while to build some of these larger floral pieces), the type of menu you're envisioning. Too much information is not possible...every little detail is important!
10. Pandemic Plans
Ask about cancellation and rebooking information from ALL your vendors. Trust me, with everything going on in the world right now, you will want this information, even if you never have to use it. (And we certainly hope you don't!) Do your vendors refund or allow rebooking with the original payments? Are there added fees to rebook your event? Will the vendor keep your money if you need to change your date due to, say, a pandemic? What happens if the government shuts down and you can't host your event? Ask these questions before you sign your contracts.
11. Get Your Ring Sized and Insured
We know, we know — it's not exactly the most romantic or exciting thing in the world, but it could wind up saving your butt in the long run. When added as an extension to your homeowner or renter's insurance policy, it's surprisingly affordable. And of course, if the ring fits, great, and if not, you'll want to take it to your jeweler as quickly as possible to get it sized...especially if it's practically falling off your finger. After all, you'd hate to throw thousands of dollars down the drain mere moments after saying yes.
12. Take engagement photos
Take your engagement photos as early as possible, as you’ll want to include a photo or two on your save the date cards as well as your wedding website.
13. Build A Wedding Website
At the very least, look at your options and decide whether you'd prefer to create your own from scratch or use one of the many wedding website templates out there. Check out the pros and cons, and then pick together. We go over our favorites on our blog post What to Include in your WED-SITE.
14. Select Your Bridal Party
How many bridesmaids or groomsmen do each of you want? Are you ok with having odd numbers or are even number a must? Does one of you (or both) want a bridesman or groomslady? Will you have a maid of honor or best man? No matter what, you need to discuss these things before one of you starts popping the question to friends.
15. Say Yes to the Dress
Even though you just got engaged, you might be shocked to learn that it can take 6-9 months for your dress to be shipped to you, and that doesn’t include the time it took you to find your dress! It’s best to get this step out of the way as soon as possible just in case there are any last minute hiccups. If you have your eye on a specific wedding dress designer you don't have to make a mad dash to try on dresses, however, you may want to check into their trunk show schedule to see when they'll be in town (or where you'd have to travel to) and how much of a discount you can score on the new collection. For something entirely unique, we recommend that you go to Fabulous Frocks for their couture line of one-of-a-kind gowns or Nashville's newest boutique Vow'd Weddings for some great deals!
Your amazing wedding planner has got it all from here. Do something fun, just the two of you. Mini golf, bowling, ice skating, a trip to the beach...whatever floats your boat and brings out the kid in you both. Wedding planning can be insanely stressful from the get-go, so try to find the humor in things and take some time to laugh, reconnect, and remember why you're getting hitched in the first place.