You may be wondering, what should I do first? Take a deep breath and let me help you tackle wedding planning strategically. I’ve put together a list of the Top Ten things to do when you get engaged to help you break it down, and hopefully feel a little less overwhelmed.
This may sound obvious, but it’s one of the most important of the top ten things to do when you get engaged. Take time to celebrate together. No matter how long you’ve been together, you just took a MAJOR step forward in your relationship. You declared that you love each other so much you want to spend the rest of your lives together! That’s HUGE! So whether you spend the day of the proposal together enjoying each other and your favorite things, or have a special date to celebrate the two of you, take this time together to enjoy the start of this special season in your life.
Of course you’ll also want to celebrate with others! BEFORE you make that post on social media, call your parents. Even better, if you are in the area, stop by. Chances are they know, or at least, suspect a proposal is coming and will be thrilled to celebrate with you! Call your siblings and those closest to you.
A good rule of thumb, would you want to learn about their big news on social media? If not, take time to call them before telling the world. They will appreciate your thoughtfulness.
An engagement ring is a big investment, one you want to protect. You may think, there’s no way I could lose it, I’ll never take it off. Well, the sibling of one of my co-workers lost her engagement ring putting on lotion! That wasn’t what she expected! She actually found another lost engagement ring that she used as her own, but no one should count on being that lucky!
Jewelry can be added to a renter’s or homeowners policy on a rider, and it’s surprisingly inexpensive. Ask your insurance agent about special coverage for jewelry. Our rings, covered on a rider, are covered no matter what–loss, theft, etc. with no deductible. I was thankful for our insurance when I lost the diamond in my ring during a freak curtain hanging accident. Having the ring insured allowed us to have it fixed and the diamond replaced with no cost to us. My husband picked out the original diamond, so he did the same again preserving the sentimental value, as much as possible. <3
If your ring is too big, you’re obviously at risk of losing it. If it’s too small, it will always be tight and uncomfortable. Sizing is usually provided at no additional charge by the jeweler where the ring was purchased. If you have a separate band as a wedding ring, take them both in to be sized together.
I promise this will make everything else easier! Besides marrying your best friend, what is most important to you about your big day? Do you need to plan your date between semesters of classes? Do want to get married on an important day in your relationship or in a certain season? Maybe you have a dream venue or photographer you want to book and the specific date isn’t important, as long as they’re available.
Think of what you want to invest in the most and where your resources are? You’ll be investing both time and money into your big day, prioritizing will help you determine how you need to balance these to create the wedding of your dreams. When we were planning our wedding we chose to invest the most dollars in our rings and our photography, because those are the things that we knew would last. All these years later, and we’d make the same decisions again–our rings are still strong and our wedding photos look like they did the day we got them.
It’s time for the budget. Probably the LEAST fun of the top ten things to do when you get engaged. It can be hard, and a bit awkward, but necessary, and will save you a lot of stress down the road! Start talking with just you and your fiancé. Decide if this is something you want to finance on your own or if you want to talk with your parents.
Most parents are thrilled to be able to help their kids with their big day! However, even if your parents have already offered to help with wedding costs, it’s important to sit down and talk through the specifics. If they are offering to cover a specific item on the wedding day list, talk about the amount they expect the coverage to cost. Then as you are looking at vendors you’ll know the price range you can afford. Since you’ve already prioritized, you’ll already have an idea of how you want to allocate the budget that covers everything from venue, pictures, and attire to reception, decorations and food.
Now that you’ve taken care of that gorgeous new ring, told everyone, prioritized and made a budget…
Depending on your perspective this may be the most fun of the top ten things to do when you get engaged. It’s like celebrating and planning rolled into one. Maybe you’ve been dreaming and planning for years, or maybe you’re just beginning to think about what you want your wedding to look like. Gather a few bridal magazines to look through. Search ideas on Pinterest boards and wedding blogs. Even watching wedding movies can help you find inspirations. Ask your married friends what they liked best about their wedding and if there’s anything they wish they’d done differently.
Gather all your favorite ideas into one place, a Pinterest board, a three-ring binder, whatever will work best for you to keep you focused and organized. This is a great time to buy a wedding planner/organizer if you haven’t already. One of my brides shared with me that Michael’s offers an amazing wedding planning binder with lots of tips, as well as pocket folders to keep your organized–they almost always have a weekly coupon for 30-50% off.
As you look through your favorites, what kind of theme are you noticing? Elegant or Rustic? Classic or more modern? Determining the type of style you want for you wedding you will help you narrow down your vendor search. If you want an elegant wedding, you probably don’t want to look at barn wedding venues. If you like classic photography, you can skip looking at photographers with a dark moody style.
What was your top priority for wedding planning? ( See how the top ten things to do when you get engaged are building on each other 😉 Whether it was planning around an anniversary in your relationship, being able to hire a vendor you’ve been dreaming of, or getting married in a certain season, it probably related in some way to the date. And by now people may be asking you, when’s the big day? Where are you getting married? If you know you want to get married in your church, contact the event coordinator as soon as possible to look at dates open on their calendar.
For all other vendors, pick 3-4 top dates and begin researching vendors with the date and style in mind. You probably don’t want to have a completely outdoor wedding in the middle of winter, and in summer, air conditioning can be crucial! Ask for recommendations from recently married friends. Indiana Wedding Vendors and the Knot are great resources to find local vendors. Local wedding blogs, like Wedding Day Magazine and Midwest Bride can give you a glimpse of real weddings, that utilized vendors in your area.
Look at websites and social media pages of vendors to get a feel for their style and if they would be a good potential fit for your vision for your big day. Venues and photographers book up to a year or more in advance, so it’s wise to start nailing those down first. Narrow down the vendors you’ve been looking at to the top five. Contact the top three venues and photographers you want to know more about, and use the next two as back-up options.
Reach out to those top vendors to set up interviews. Tour the venue you’re considering. What to look for in a venue could be a whole post in itself! For today, we’ll stick with…. Do you like the venue as much as you did online? Did you feel the event coordinator was a good fit for you as a couple?
Meet with your potential photographer. Your photographer will be with you nearly all day during your wedding. Feeling like your photographer’s personality is a good fit for you as a couple is as important as liking the style of their final images. I offer complimentary engagement sessions with all my wedding packages, because getting to know my couples is so important to me. This time together not only gives the couple beautiful images together, it helps us to start building a relationship and become comfortable with each other. On the wedding day, my couples are familiar with me and my work style and I’m familiar with them and the way they interact. All this helps me tell their story and capture genuine emotion on their big day.
Once you’ve made your decision, make it official, book your venue and your photographer… Whoo hooo! You’ve done it! You’ve booked your biggest wedding vendors, and are working your way through the top ten things to do when you get engaged. You can relax a bit. Now you can use the same process when choosing your florist, DJ, caterer, rentals, etc.
Before you start asking your friends to be in the wedding, sit down together and talk about who you want to include in the bridal party. Is it important to you to have an even number of groomsmen and bridesmaids? Which family members, if any, are important to you and your fiancé to include? Ushers and guest book/program attendants are other roles to consider when planning who to include in your big day.
You’ll want to invite everyone you ever met to help you celebrate your big day, but few people have the budget to make that a reality! The more guest you have the higher the cost, because ultimately more people means more meals, more tables, more centerpieces… Here are a few categories to consider when making your guest list.
Friends and Co-workers
Close-Friends of Parents
As you’re keeping track of your final numbers, be sure to account for yourselves (the bride and groom), the bridal party, all plus-ones and children.
Once you work your way through these steps of what to do when you get engaged you are well on your way to planning your big day! Take time to relax and enjoy each other. Go on a date night where you don’t even talk about wedding plans! There’s still much to do, but you have a great foundation for your dream wedding. Over the next few months work on choosing wedding attire, starting with your wedding dress. Then work on planning the details of your big day–decor, florals, meals, etc. Last year I spoke with R Geary Floral about choosing your wedding flowers, check out that blog post here: Choosing Your Wedding Flowers
It may all seem overwhelming at the beginning, but break it down step by step, and you’ll see progress. Looking back at completed to-do lists is a great way to remind yourself of the progress you’ve made. Remember in all the planning, all the details–all the to-do lists, your big day will be perfect because you’ll be marrying your bests friend!
To learn more about the Simply Seeking Photography wedding experience click here: The Wedding Experience