Congratulations, you just got engaged to the love of your life! Now what? After you’re engaged it can feel like you get swept up in a whirlwind, between the congratulations from friends and family, all of the planning that goes into your wedding, and the huge changes that both of your lives are about to go through. This is a time to celebrate though and not stress over what you should be doing and when. To help get you on track I put together this 5 step list of things that you and bae should do after you get engaged.
The initial reaction after an engagement for most is to immediately start dialing up the fam to share the news! If this is you, so awesome! Call your family, share the news with your bestie, but once the day has settled down a bit, make sure to shut off the phone and spend a little time as just the two of you!
The Excitement of wedding planning comes at you fast. Take some time, a week or two, to just enjoy being engaged and having some fun in this new stage of life you’re in! If you think about it, you’re more than likely going to be engaged for less time than you dated and significantly less time than you will be married. So take a pause, soak up all the goodness that comes with engagement and enjoy some time as just the two of you!
If your family is anything like mine, an announcement like an engagement is a BIG deal! After you get engaged make sure to take some time and tell the people at the top of your priority list all in one sitting. That someone important doesn’t hear from the grapevine before you have the opportunity to call them or facetime them!
Make a list with bae to help make sure you’re contacting everyone at the top of your priorities. Then everyone else can find out either through your relatives, close friends, or social media, or the next time you get a chance to catch up with them.
After you tell your relatives, if you plan to have a wedding party, you will want to tell your wedding party members that you are planning your wedding and you would love for them to be a part of it! You will rely on them for quite a bit of support as you start to plan your day so letting them know ahead of time when you will need them the most is super important!
If you plan to have an engagement party, you’ll want to start talking with your family members and friends to choose a date sooner rather than later. Engagement parties are an awesome option for couples who have family members or friends who might not have met before. This makes things easier as you’re planning the wedding and opens up communication for your family as a new unit.
Talk budget, talk length of engagement, talk wedding day, you’ll want to be on the same page as you start this planning process. I always encourage couples to sit down after they get engaged and have a nice date night and do a rundown of a lot of the details concerning their wedding days. From the get-go you will want to make some of the following decisions together.
Does your venue need to be a church? Are there family, religious or cultural traditions that you need to be including on your wedding day? Is there a specific venue or vendor that you need to have for your wedding day? These are all questions you’ll want to ask yourselves very early in the planning process after you get engaged so you can start to put together what your wedding day might look like. From there, look at the vendors and venues that you will need to be a part of your wedding day and rank them from highest priorities to lowest priorities so you know when it’s time to look at the budget, you know what items or vendors have some flexibility and which do not.
When you talk about your budget, think about how much you want to spend as a total, and then plan for how much time it will take to gather the funds. It is also important to talk about family contributions and traditionally how your family contributes on wedding days.
Once you decide on a rough budget, start to do some research on your non-negotiables and map them out with roughly how much they will cost you to book them.
Do you want a more laid-back experience on your wedding day or something a bit larger and hyped? If you want a more laid-back experience you might opt to have a wedding on the smaller side. If you want a super hyped party with all of your family and friends, then you’re going to want to start planning for a bigger wedding. There are no right or wrong answers to these questions, it is important that the two of you have open communication about what you want though.
Next, take a piece of paper for each of you and write down all the people you hope to invite to your wedding day. Try to list them from highest priority to lowest priority. With that list, you can find your guest list totals. With this number, you will be able to have an idea of what kind of venue you will need to have for your wedding day.
Think about things like ease of travel for your guests. If grandparents are a high priority on your guest list but they’re afraid to hop on an airplane, you’re not going to want to have your wedding 5 states away from them. Also, think about where you want to have your wedding in terms of experience! You will have a very different experience hosting your wedding in your backyard vs. the local wedding venue.
Last but not least, how long do you want your engagement to be roughly? Think about the wedding day you hope to have and how long it will take you to plan it and budget for it. With a rough timeline you will be able to put together roughly when your wedding date can be.
Depending on your wedding date, you will want to start setting due dates for different aspects of your wedding day. Start to reverse engineer after you have reserved a venue. What things do you need done before the wedding day and in what order? By industry standards, this is what your planning might look like if you’re having a year long engagement:
12 months: choose a date, set a budget, pick a venue
11-8 months: Book your vendors, schedule engagement photos, mail save the dates, plan your wedding shower
7-6 months: Reserve rentals, pick out wedding attire, order invitations
5-4 months: Book honeymoon, order desserts, prep a music playlist, plan a rehearsal dinner
3 months: Hair and makeup trial, make a seating chart, purchase the details, mail invitations
2 months: Start writing your vows, apply for your marriage license, put together your timeline
1 month: Final fittings, pick up license, check in with vendors, and write thank you’s!
Head to this link to download my full wedding planning checklist for ALL of the details that go into your wedding day and when to take care of them!
As you start to form a vision for your wedding day, you’re going to want to start booking your vendors, especially if your wedding day is less than two years away. Go into booking your wedding vendors with a game plan and your list of priorities. This will help you to make decisions and avoid overall decision fatigue!
The first wedding vendor you will want to book is your venue. If you two have a dream date as well as a dream venue, you will want to book this almost immediately after you announce your engagement. Venues in the Midwest typically book their Saturdays a little over a year in advance so you’ll want to move fast if you plan to have a short engagement!
If you and your partner are flexible with either the date or the venue for your wedding day, you can be a little more relaxed with how fast you move to book your wedding date.
Soon after you book your wedding venue you will want to book your photographer. Generally speaking most in demand wedding photographers book out their wedding calendars a little over a year in advance. If you don’t have a specific photographer in mind, I would suggest reaching out to three or four total and going from there. More than likely one of the three to four you reach out to will be available and within your budget. If you reach out to more, planning can get overwhelming fast.
From there make sure to utilize them! They more than likely will have a list of vendors they like to work with if you don’t know where to start. If you want to see if I fall within your budget check out my investment page and let’s get to planning!
You’ll want to start booking the rest of your vendors eleven to eight months out from your wedding day. This can vary depending on how picky you want to be with your vendors. Take some time, and do some research. There are so many vendors out there. You’ll want to make sure you choose vendors that you can have a good time with, and who will take care of you and bae on your big day. As you’re researching, make a goal to have them reserved at least eight months out from your wedding day.
Last but not least, get excited! You’ll want to enjoy these moments, even though it can seem like a lot sometimes. It’s important to take your time in planning out your next steps after you get engaged. This way you don’t overwhelm yourselves leading up to and on your wedding day. Take some time to soak in all the excitement and attention you and bae are getting get from your engagement though. You’re only engaged once!
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