• {Planning Tips} The 5 Things To Do After You Get Engaged

    {photo by Chris Emeott}

    I know quite a few of you got engaged over the holidays (and a few more of you probably will soon with Valentine’s Day on the horizon) so first…. yay! congrats! happy dance!  *throws confetti*  wahoo!!!  and secondly, from someone who has been engaged, who has planned a wedding, and who learned some hard lessons, here are THE five things you need to do FIRST.

    {one} set a budget

    After you call your parents and friends to share the news and celebrate your newly engaged bliss, the first thing you need to do is set a budget.  You don’t have to do this right away, but you do have to do it before you start planning, and definitely before you start buying stuff.  This will determine everything else you do, decide on, and choose.  Are you paying for the wedding yourselves or will your parents contribute?  How much will be contributed?  The best thing you can do is figure this out before anything else, and then stick to your budget.  Did you hear that? STICK TO YOUR BUDGET.

    {two} make a guest list

    You and your fiancé should make a list of who you would like to invite, and you may want to let each of your parents do the same (especially if they are footing the bill.)  Then you’ll have an anxiety attack when you add them all up to 500 people!  Trust me when I say that this will not be your real guest list.  You will cut cut cut CUT until you reach a more realistic number. This can be hard when you include everyone’s friends, family members, work colleagues, and your mother-in-law’s second cousin twice removed.  So set rules: no extended family (meaning parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and first cousins only), no people from work, no kids: these are a few ways to cut the list if you are comfortable with it (make your own rules – those are just suggestions).  And this is just a starting point to give you a good idea.  You can always add or subtract as needed.  REMEMBER – THE MORE PEOPLE YOU HAVE, THE MORE MONEY YOUR WEDDING WILL COST.  This is why step one is so important!

    {three} find a venue

    Warning: for me, this was the hardest and most stressful part of wedding planning.  Finding a venue that meets your budget, finding a venue that fits your guest list, finding a venue that doesn’t make you cut off the music at a ridiculously early hour, finding a venue that isn’t booked for two years… these are just a few of many frustrating parts of your venue search.  My husband and I also really wanted to get married on a particular date, and this made our search hard as well.  Once we let that go, the possibilites opened up for us.  That’s why I didn’t say “pick a date.”  It is much better to be open to any date in the month or two you prefer to be married.  Once you find a venue you love in a location you love that works with your budget and guest count, the hardest part of your wedding planning is behind you!

    {four} think about your wedding style

    Let me repeat, THINK about your wedding style.  Don’t decide on ANYTHING.  You will change your mind 500 times.  Also, repeat after me: I WILL NOT BUY ANYTHING YET.  You will change your mind, and have wasted your money (learn from my mistake!)  Just start looking at some wedding blogs, pick up the latest Martha Stewart Weddings, look around your home (because your wedding style should reflect YOU and what YOU love), bundle things on lover.ly, create a pinterest board, and start thinking.  Don’t go dress shopping, don’t pick a color for your bridesmaids’ dresses, just start thinking…

    {five} take a breath and relax

    Once you have gotten the big things out of the way, stop planning for a little bit (depending on how far away your wedding date is).  Getting wrapped up in the planning can get you frustrated, scare and confuse your soon-to-be groom, and get overwhelming really quick. Having a budget, an idea of your guest list, a venue (and therefore a wedding date), and thinking about your style is enough for now.  Although every city and location is different and demand for other wedding vendors is higher in some places than others, everyone should have a little breather before you move on to the rest of your planning.  Enjoy being engaged. Celebrate.  Go on a date and don’t talk about the wedding.  It is refreshing!

    While these are the first 5 things you should do, you may also want to start looking at vendors you like when you are perusing the wedding blogs.  Many of us (me included) have vendor guides to help you.  Plus, at the end of every wedding feature all of the vendors are listed, so if the feature is in your area and you like the photographs or florals from that wedding, you may want to consider those vendors.

    So tell me, who out there is planning a wedding right now? Are you just starting or well into the planning?  Do any of you disagree with these tips or have others you think should come first?  Do you have any questions you need answered or areas you would like to hear tips for? Let me know! And have fun, engaged girls!

    leave a comment.


    1. Posted Jan 9 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      They really should lock in their officiant, as well. It is the only absolutely necessary professional to be married!

    2. Posted Jan 10 at 12:59 am | Permalink

      I just got engaged last month and I think this is a very helpful post! As a future bride, I’m getting swamped with all kinds of details and this really helps. Thanks for helping future brides keep things in perspective!

      • Posted Jan 10 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

        Congrats Alyssa! And I’m so glad you find it helpful! Remember, if you are looking for advice or have specific questions, feel free to post on our facebook page & we try to answer anything for you, either with a post or direct answer 🙂

    3. Grace
      Posted Jan 1 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

      Thank you so much for this post! I just got engaged last night and am so excited!!! We are hoping for a fall 2014 wedding. I am so thankful for these points- they really helped to calm me down and give me some focus!

    4. Christy
      Posted Jan 3 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      He just popped the question New Years day! I think I am still a little bit shell shocked. . . I loved the information in the post. Many things forget to mention the “small things” that add up to make the biggest difference! Thank you!!!

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