Hooray! You said "YES!" You've dreamed of the moment that he/she would pop the question and it finally came.. and went. Like a flash of lightning. If you're one of those lucky brides whose fiance wanted the moment captured, you'll have all these beautiful photos to share and reminisce over. If you're like me, whose fiance is already awkward in PDA department, you'll have a bunch of selfies to share and memories of adorably fumbled words and the embarrassing memory of responding with "Is this a joke?" DOH!
Enjoy the honeymoon! [While you can dot dot dot] There is this magical little honeymoon phase after becoming engaged. You two have this huge, magical secret that leaves a permanent smile across your face. You won't be able to stop examining your new ring (or string, or rock, or big fat nothing) in the light. Ooh, it is sparkly!!
First tip of this post: Keep it a secret for a while. Whether it be for a few hours or a few days, you don't have to tell anyone right away. You can keep a wonderful little secret between you two and keep that honeymoon phase train a rollin'.
Because once you stop the ride, to share with everyone, the questions start and the wedding planning "fun" begins.
Here is what you should first do after getting engaged:
Choose a couple possible dates - or month or season
Yes. This decision will set the stage, per say. This is the decision from which you will base all other decisions (this and the budget, but more on that later). Choosing a couple dates will give you some flexibility, if your perfect venue isn't available or if it is Great Aunt Suzy's 100th birthday and you can squash that celebration without some repercussions on your conscience. Choosing a month or season is even easier - just pray that this flexible attitude stays with you until the end of the planning process.
Also, first question everyone asks - even before they ask about the proposal - "So, when's the big day?" It is so much easier having some sort of an answer, or everyone will have an opinion for you. Lucky for me and mine, I had two dates picked out before we got engaged - I have a 'thing' with numbers - I told Bean my two dates and told him I'd like a minimum of 9 months to plan. A simple "We were thinking about sometime in June of 2046. Yeah, we are sure about a long engagement" will suffice.
Start Researching and Interviewing Vendors
I say this as a bride and a wedding vendor. If you haven't already, get on social media and start following potential vendors. [If you're not engaged, but you know it'll be happening, you should do this too!] The biggest ones to follow: photographer and wedding planner. These are the two that you will be spending the most time with and who are the most valuable to you. Your photographer should be someone you feel comfortable around and have a style you are compatible with. If you've got a moody, edgy style, I'm not sure if a bright, natural light photographer will produce what you will want.
Same goes for your planner/stylist/coordinator: This person will be your PIC for this process - you will become friends by the end of this - so, follow their Insta, check out their website, and take your time. Interview all your vendors, or just interview your planner and have them choose the vendors, whatever your preference. But you do not want to be 3 months from the big day and realize that you picked the wrong vendor.
Choose a Wedding Style/Theme, Create an Inspiration Board
With the rise of Pinterest, it is a lot easier to daydream about your future wedding(s). Rather than a shoe box filled with leftover wedding programs and favors, you have a virtual collage of all the ideas you could possibly use for your future nuptials. If you're one of those rare few who haven't started planning your wedding for fer that it may jinx your luck, get on the internet. Now.
You need to decide on a style or theme - this is something your planner/stylist can help you with. With this wedding style in mind, eliminate all those pins that DO NOT match. Those mason jars will not match your black tie affair, you do not need them. Think of it as wedding planning minimalism, you are removing the unnecessary. Eliminating this virtual waste will keep you on one style and keep your costs down by sticking within your wedding aesthetic.
Set a Budget and Start Saving
This is probably the worst. If you have family willing to help with the wedding, this is where you ask them how much. If you two want to pay for it yourselves, here is where you decide how much you can afford without heading into the poorhouse. Serious note: I absolutely do not recommend going into debt just for your wedding. It is not a great way to start the beginning of your marriage, trying to pay for your party.
There are many online resources to help you decide what percentage of your budget should be spent where. I highly recommend having a wedding planner to help track and budget your expenses, among many other reasons. MY tip: Choose the top three things that are most important to you and give that a higher percentage of your budget. Prioritizing your wedding costs will help you divide your budget and keep you right-side up. Example: For our wedding, our top three are photography, live music, and alcohol - so, that is where we are spending most of our budget. I spent $3 on my shoes because I know I will end up taking them off and throwing them to the side.
Insure Your Ring
Things happen and you really could lose your ring. Or it could be stolen. Or it could be lost in the upside-down while running from the demogorgon. It is always a good idea to have the jeweler's warranty, but ring insurance is for when that runs out, or when you forget to go get it looked at every 6 months and your warranty is voided. Most people plan on having only one ring for their marriage, kind of symbolizing the unity between the couple.
If you're one of those cool girls who doesn't wear a ring, maybe this isn't necessary, but if you spend the equivalent to a down payment for a house, you should really think about it.
Guest List - Ideal wedding Size - Look for Venues
This is another tough one. Where do we draw the line? You and your fiance need to decide what kind of wedding you'd like to have. Whether it be a big affair, a destination elopement, or somewhere in between, you won't be able to choose a venue without knowing an estimated guest list.
This is a good time to get your parents started on the task of getting addresses. I promise, it will take them longer than you think.
Marriage or Couples' Counseling
Required or not, I see this as a preventative act. Usually couples seek counseling once it is too late, after years of holding it in or miscommunication and then it all falls apart. Let's prevent this. Let this relationship last forever by maintaining and taking care of it. I am all about communication and working through things with people, all people, but you two are the most important people to work things out with.
Counseling will be a good way to figure out things together - your love languages, the way you communicate, how your partner receives your communication. Consider this a way to learn more about each other that maybe you would otherwise without the help of a moderator prompting questions.
Ask for Help
Seriously. Wedding planning is like a second job. If you need help, ask for it. People LOVE helping with wedding stuff. Your fiance, your friends, your bridal party, your family - they want to help you! No use getting stressed over something by thinking you have to do it by yourself.
Hire a wedding planner. Some days are overwhelming. You work, you cook, you clean, you love your family; it's exhausting to be human. On top of everything else in your day, you try to plan a wedding and try to plan for your marriage.. I feel you. I'm there with you, I'm here for you. A wedding planner should be your friend, your guide, your light through this journey. You want to enjoy your engagement, you need to spend this magical time planning your marriage. Let's do this together. Connect with me and let's plan your wedding.
Simply Gypsy Events is a boutique event and wedding planner in Bayfield, WI. We frequently work in Duluth and the Twin Cities, MN and Denver, CO.
[ I plan weddings so you can plan your marriage. ]
With love, your friend,
Simply Gypsy Events