Tell Your Family and Friends, But Don’t Go Posting to Facebook First
We know one of your first instincts may be to rush to Facebook and post a picture of your shiny ring, but make sure to tell your family and close friends first. Maybe you want to think of a more creative way to tell them besides just calling or visiting them. Send them a picture message or show up to their door with a sign that says “we’re engaged”. Make it fun and have fun doing it. It can be your little secret while you plan out how to tell the rest of your family. After all your close family and friends have been notified, then you can run to Facebook or Instagram, just promise us you won’t post something cheesy like “he put a ring on it” 😉
Get Your Ring Sized, But Don’t Get a Different Ring
Now that you have a ring, you need to first make sure it actually fits. Even if your new fiance scouted your other rings or asked around to find your exact size, it still might not be a perfect fit. The last thing you want to happen is for it to be too tight or worse off, fall off, so make an appointment to have your ring sized so you can enjoy it comfortably. While there, don’t decide that you want another ring and convince your fiance to get you something else. He or she has spent time picking out the perfect ring they thought YOU would LOVE! Remember that and the ring will surely become your favorite thing, even if you didn’t think you loved it at first. Don’t forget to insure your ring while you’re at it too!
Get Your Nails Done, But Don’t Show Off Your Hand
It may sound silly, but you and everyone else will be looking at your left hand often for the next few weeks, so be sure to get a nice manicure if you don’t already have one. You may want to schedule a few appointments over the next month or two so they always look fresh and clean for showing off your ring. But don’t show off your ring without someone asking, you don’t want to be that girl purposely rubbing her face and scratching her nose trying to flash her ring at other single friends and coworkers. Be proud of it and show it off, only if asked.
Choose a Time, But Don’t Feel Obligated to Choose a Date
Don’t feel the need to set a specific date right away, you just got engaged! Do think about a general time though. Do you want to get married within a year? Are you waiting a year or more because of other obligations, school, work, etc.? Do you want to get married in the summer, fall, winter or spring? Start to think about when you would want to get married so you can begin to narrow down a date. Having this in mind will come in handy when you start talking to vendors. And in case you didn’t know, everyone is going to constantly ask you when the wedding is.
Start Making a Budget, But Don’t Freak Out When You Realize Your Budget Isn’t Exact
Have a discussion with your new fiance and your families about an overall event budget. What do you think you can spend? What is the most and least important to you? Who will be contributing to overall costs? Making an estimated budget will allow you to start your actual planning and move to your next steps, saving and choosing vendors. But remember, this is only an estimate, your budget will likely change as you plan for better or for worse.
Start Saving, But Don’t Forget to Enjoy the Moment
Now that you have an idea of a general budget, you can start to think about an effective way for you to save. Maybe you want to start a separate account for wedding savings? Maybe you want to think of a creative way to save, have a competition with your fiance and celebrate when you’ve reached certain numbers. But the key here is to not make wedding saving a stresser and to remember to enjoy the moment. Maybe you want to challenge each other to not eat out as much to save money, great, but don’t go to the extreme and never eat out for the next year. Schedule weekly date nights where you can dine out just the two of you and celebrate your savings throughout the week. You should enjoy your engagement period together!
Estimate Your Guest Count, But Don’t Actually Invite Anyone
Estimating your guest count will also allow you to start figuring out your wedding budget. Are you looking to have a more intimate wedding with 50 close friends and family or are you looking to have the party of the century with over 200 guests? Having even a general idea of where you want to stay guest wise will allow you to estimate a budget and find the right venue to fit your guests. The key here is to not actually invite anyone until after you have fully finalized your guest list. Don’t go into work and tell the whole office they are invited, you may want to invite them, but once you realize your close family and friends already add up to 150 people, the office crew may get the shaft. Of course you know your best friends and immediate family will be invited, but also don’t post your wedding date or details online for all of your friend to see and comment on.
Find a Venue, But Don’t Visit 100 to Decide
If you have secure a date, you can now start finalizing your wedding venue. It’s the first thing you should check off your wedding to do list, because after all, you need somewhere to actually have the wedding. Don’t take weekend after weekend visiting hundreds of wedding venues to find the perfect one. You can search the internet first and narrow it down to five or so of your favorite and then schedule visits. If you aren’t sure about the venue, at least try to narrow it down where you want you want to get married. Are you doing it locally, back in your hometown, is it a destination wedding?
Secure Popular Vendors, But Don’t Send Them a Million Emails
Though it may sound crazy, some wedding vendors are booked two or even three years in advance. If you have already been planning your wedding before the engagement and stalking some of your favorite wedding vendors, like that amazing photographer, reach out to them as soon as you can to get them confirmed for your wedding day. If you haven’t chosen a specific wedding date, talking to vendors and finding out their availability can help you nail down a specific wedding date. Don’t forget though, that your photographer might do 100 weddings a year, so don’t start sending them a million emails a day telling them every detail you want for your wedding the next year. Relax, they have you in their books and you have plenty of time to think about and discuss what you want for your wedding.
Schedule an Engagement Shoot, But Avoid Posting All the Photos
If you followed the step before this, you should by now have at least finalized the major vendors for your wedding, including your photographer. Now it’s time to set up an engagement shoot! This should be done about 8-12 months before your wedding. Once you get the photos, feel free to post a few on Facebook, but don’t make an entire album for all to see. Change your profile picture or your cover photo, but save some of the other images to use on your wedding materials like save the dates and your wedding website.
Start Getting Organized, But Don’t Go Pinterest Crazy
Pick up a wedding binder, grab a few bridal magazines, download a wedding app, and start writing down a few ideas or concepts you think you would like for your wedding, but please, don’t go crazy on Pinterest. We love it too, but often you can get swept away into a Pinterest dream when you really need to be brought back down to reality. Pinterest is great for inspiration and ideas, but don’t spend too much time getting excited about details that may either be over your price range or overdone at other weddings.
Get Excited with Your Friends, But Don’t Forget About Your Fiance
You should definitely enjoy your engagement time by getting super excited with all your friends, but don’t forget about your fiance. Bring them into the planning process if they want and make sure to show them how excited you are about everything. Even though you have the ring on your finger, they are also engaged too- so make them feel extra special. You are the ones who are actually getting married!
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Childress Photography
Hire a Wedding Planner, But Don’t Hire Them Too Late
Hiring a wedding planner is the smartest decision you can make (we aren’t just saying this because we are planners ourselves)- we really mean it! We have seen weddings go from good to ugly without having a planner on your side throughout the planning process and on the day of. You hire a professional in almost all aspects of your life, and you should do the same for your wedding. The thing to keep in mind here is to not wait to hire a planner until the end, hire a planner from the beginning. We can help with some of the to do’s above, including helping you to set a budget and helping suggest vendors we think would be a great fit for you. Don’t hire us too late in the game even if you are just doing a day-of coordination package, we can be a great resource throughout the entire planning process.