Congratulations! You just got engaged! And you’re not alone. Did you know that close to 60 percent of couples get engaged between the Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day?
So, how to embark on this new beginning?
Here are our top tips to help you successfully navigate, and truly enjoy, this exciting new chapter in your life.
1. Tell your nearest and dearest
Call your family and friends and let them know the exciting news! They will be so happy that you took the time to let them know before updating your Facebook status and posting photos of your gorgeous ring on Instagram.
2. Set 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.
3. Hire a planner to build your vendor team
You may feel that having a wedding planner is an “extra” that you don’t want to spend money on, but they can not only help smooth out the planning process and offer suggestions you may not have considered, but they can also save you money with their vendor connections. Even if you only hire a day-of wedding planner, having a consultant could be just the thing to ensure a stress free wedding day. A good event planner is the best person to help you select and negotiate as you hire your vendor dream team. This will ensure that you can confidently hire quality wedding professionals.
4. Meet the parents
We will assume that you have already met each other’s parents, but have your parents met one another? If not, now is the perfect time to make this happen. This is the first step in laying the foundation for a good relationship between the parents and families, especially if there is a chance they will be working together during the planning process.
5. Get ready for the questions
Everyone will be super excited for you both and will naturally want to know all the details. Plan ahead with your fiancee to have some good catchall responses to these types of questions:
Q: When are you getting married? Have you set a date? You can say, “We’re thinking of a spring wedding,” or, “We’ve decided on a one-year engagement to give us time to plan all the details.”
Q: Tell us about the proposal! Develop your story. You’ll be telling it over and over again.
Q: Am I invited? Important tip: Don’t commit to inviting someone that may not make the guest list. In the early stages of sharing your news, you haven’t had time to determine whom you will and won’t be able to include, so unless you’re 100% sure someone makes the cut, don’t commit. Be polite but vague, something like, “We haven’t finalized our wedding plans, but I think we may be keeping it fairly small.”
Q: Am I in the wedding? Important tip: Don’t ask someone to be in your wedding party until you know some of the details and associated costs. Wait until you have a good idea where your wedding will be and what costs your wedding party will be expected to pay. When inviting your attendants, discuss the costs up front before they commit. If they can’t afford it, let them decline gracefully and tell them you understand.
6. Start dreaming about your wedding
Sit down with your fiancee and talk about your wedding day vision. Being on the same page will help eliminate miscommunication and arguments down the road.
7. Insure your ring
If your fiancé proposed with a traditional diamond ring, family heirloom or another expensive bauble, make sure to protect the investment with insurance. You can add it to your current homeowner’s or renter’s insurance. Don’t have insurance? Now is the time to take that step. Your wedding planner is always a good resource for who to call for things like this. Also, make sure your beautiful engagement ring fits! Get it resized, if needed when you get it insured.
8. Draft the guest list
While you don’t have to decide on your exact guest list right away, its a good idea to at least formulate a rough draft. Gather lists for you, your fiancee and parents. By involving your parents, they may even help you remember family members you haven’t seen in a while! Forgetting a guest can be an embarrassing situation, so you’d rather have lists overlap then forget a loved one. You will want an idea of your guest list prior to your wedding planner scheduling meetings with venues and caterers, as it will decide what you will be able to afford as well as what type of venue will work best for you. If your guest list seems to be growing at an exponential rate, make an A, B and C guest list. “A” should be immediate family only (no third cousins), plus close friends (people that you have known for 2+ years). “B” list should be extended family and friends that you have not known as long. The “C” list should be reserved for your parents’ friends, co-workers, and the people you would feel guilty about not including. Invite the amount of guests that fit within your budget starting with your “A” list and extend invitations through to the “C” list if your RSVPs come in under your budgeted head count.
9. Choose a venue & set a date
Once you know your guest count and budget, your wedding planner can start the venue search for you. They will know what questions to ask to get what you want. They will take pictures and notes so you won’t have to try and remember what each venue offers.
Pick the date: The time of year you chose is key to your wedding planning. The most popular wedding months are (in this order):
If you’re picking a popular time of year, you will want to plan well in advance to make sure you’re able to secure your preferred venue. The best method is to pick a season, month or selection of possible dates; pick your venue; and book an available date at that venue.
10. Create a wedding website
Guests are happiest when they are well informed. A wedding website is a must as soon as that date and wedding location are locked in. By creating a wedding website all of the information about your wedding will be in one place and since everyone is online, it is easy for everyone to access. Give directions, hotel accommodations, registry information, post your engagement photos and even give sneak peeks to your wedding style! Many wedding websites will help you create your guest list, allow guests to fill in their addresses and even RSVP online. You’ll want to take advantage of that! Best of all, a wedding website will help keep you sane by simply directing everyone there instead of fielding oodles of questions.
11. Take engagement photos
Take your engagement photos as early as possible. You can use them for your save the date cards, wedding website, wedding guest book and perhaps even your invitations. Your photographer can replicate poses that you have both selected on Pinterest or even suggest some fun ones just for you!
12. Say yes to the dress
Even though you just got engaged, you might be surprised to learn that it can take 6-9 months for your dress to be shipped to you. This doesn’t include the time it took you to find your dress, either! It’s best to start looking as soon as possible just in case there are any last minute hiccups. While finding the perfect gown may not be as easy as it sounds, rest assured that it’s okay to be extra picky when it comes to your wedding! Many brides will use their wedding gown as a statement piece as it is one thing guests are the most curious about when attending a wedding. This is a great way to reflect your personality, style, and the tone of your event.
And finally, some parting advice that we share with all our couples as they start off in this new chapter of their lives together:
Don’t share everything (or anything) on social media. We know you’re excited, but holding back on how much you post about your wedding plans can actually make your life easier. It will reduce the unsolicited advice, number of questions, hurt feelings and self-invited guests.
Don’t let wedding planning take over your relationship. Make time to date each other and keep the romance alive. Set aside date nights where you focus only on each other and not the wedding. Wedding planning can be very stressful. Take a deep breath and remember that the lifelong commitment you are making is much more important than the wedding. This is a time to build your relationship up; not let the stress tear it down.
Most of all, don’t forget to have fun! It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of wedding planning. But keep in mind that this is a magical and finite time in your relationship. So take the time to pause and enjoy it, and if you hire a good planner you can say YES to less stress!