Why are we writing about what you should do after you become engaged? Because, in essence, it’s a damn whirlwind. After having been engaged ourselves and from working in this industry, we just like to see people enjoy themselves. With engagements, it gets so crazy. You are being pulled in a million different directions by well minded people. That’s why we wanted to offer you things to do after you become engaged.
Just Enjoy Yourselves
This is SO important. When you get engaged, the first things you think should not be, “who’s going to be my maid of honor, when and where do we get married,” and so forth. Let me say that again – it should NOT be. This is a moment in your life that you should get to enjoy. So do it. You don’t have to immediately jump on social media and let everyone on the planet know you’re engaged. You certainly CAN, but if you want to keep it to yourselves, do it. Kyle proposed to me on vacation in Key West. I called my family, but apparently they all knew before me that he was going to propose. So we took the rest of our vacation and just had fun together and enjoyed the beginning of the engagement. No planning or anything until we got home and back to reality. It may sound hard, but it’s really not.
Tell Those You Love
This was already mentioned, but, let your family and friends know. If you’re like me, everyone will know before you do. Word to the wise – that is when the whirlwind will begin. People will start asking you zillions of questions and offering advice nonstop. Just take it all in at this point. Let them know that you are excited about this new chapter in your life.
Set a Budget
I cannot stress enough how important it is to set a budget, unless money doesn’t mean anything to you. Regardless of this industry being how I make a living, I always stress to people not to put yourself into tremendous debt for a wedding. Will you have some debt? Most likely and that’s totally normal. But don’t go super over the top if people are telling you that you HAVE to have your day a certain way. There are many ways to set a budget. We paid for nearly everything with cash because I refused to put anything on my credit card for a wedding. We also both picked one thing that was very important to each of us and that’s what we could spend the most on. Mine was my hair. I wanted awesome super long extensions on my wedding day. And guess what? I got them. But to get them, I got a used wedding dress and other things that were not brand new to offset the costs. And it was still an amazing day.
Envision the Day
Work with your partner on this one. Talk to each other about what is important to you. It can be anything. Awesome food. Photography. Having your entire family there. Having no one but the two of you there. The options are absolutely endless. The most important thing to remember is that the day is about THE TWO OF YOU. It is not about anyone else. Do what you want. These ideas are also really important for anyone you have working with you on your day. For example, if you want to have a live band at your reception instead of a DJ, you’ll want to work to find a venue that can handle that. You’ll want a photographer and videographer that work well with live bands. You’ll want to work a band into the schedule to get the most of them. If you want to get married somewhere, but have the reception elsewhere, you’ll want to add in travel time. There’s so much to think about. But if you envision your ideal day with some wiggle room right away, you’ll have plenty of time to make it work.
Create a Guest List
Okay, just so you know, this will change a lot. Just plan for that and accept it. You’ll want to get this done prior to booking vendors. Why? Some venues cannot hold a really large group of guests. Some venues are better for different sizes of weddings. You don’t want to have to think about all of that when looking for vendors. One big thing I want to emphasize – never feel guilty about who you are (or are not) inviting. Again, it is YOUR DAY. If you invite a ton of people, awesome. Say you decide to have children at your wedding or not, that’s great. If you only want it to be you and your partner, that’s all your decision. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about what you want your wedding day to look like.
Set Your Date and Start to Pick Your Vendors
This is the point where things really start to pick up. One thing you want to decide is how important the specific date is to you. You’ll find when you start looking at specific vendors that things book FAST. We typically book anywhere from one to two years out for photography. So if you’re flexible with your date, you may have a bigger chance at getting your ideal vendors. Kyle and I actually did this with our date because my priest wasn’t available on our original date. We’ve had multiple couples move their dates based on our availability.
The second part of this is booking your vendors. We always let people know that the ones that book out the earliest are the venues and photographers. Odds are, if you book your venue, they’ll tell you the same about photography. Booking a venue and photographer two years in advance is not uncommon, especially during the popular seasons.
Searching for vendors as a couple is ideal. It’s also helpful to bring someone you know that can be a true neutral party with. My sister came with to look at a few vendors when I was engaged. It was helpful because she wasn’t emotionally invested into the day and could pull reality into situations. She also was able to speak for me when things got really overpowering. I had black roses at our wedding and I remember her telling the florist, “Yes, she wants black flowers at her wedding,” after the florist tried to tell me that maybe it wasn’t a good plan. They turned out fantastic, by the way.
Ask questions of your vendors. Check out our article about what you should ask a photographer. It’s important that you make sure you are working with good people.
Pick Your Wedding Party
This can get a little nuts, so anticipate it. Much like with your guest list, be realistic on this. Don’t feel that you need to have every person you are friends with in your party. Narrow it down. After all the weddings we have shot, I can tell you that less is better. SO MUCH BETTER. Why? Far less variables. Instead of having emails and phone calls from twelve people every day before your wedding, it’s only from four or five people. There’s less of a chance of complaints, there’s less “you should do this, why aren’t you doing it this way?” It’s also less people to feed, less to take photos of and less people pulling at you on your big day. However, if you want a whole bunch of people, go for it! Just remember to have people on your side that you can rely on.
Do It Your Way
We can’t emphasize this enough. This wedding is for YOU AND YOUR PARTNER. Don’t let others tell you what you should or shouldn’t do. We’ve heard people complain about everything couples’ do at weddings from food to timelines, outdoor versus indoor ceremonies, plated versus buffets, types of deserts, and so much more. It’s ridiculous. Don’t worry about any of that. Do what you want and enjoy your day.
Hopefully this helps you out. The time after you become engaged is amazing and can at times be maddening. It’s important to enjoy it. It’s a big part of your life and looking back on it with fun memories is wonderful.