A planner’s advice on what to do after you get engaged.
Congratulations! The long-awaited moment finally arrived.
You are engaged and it was the moment you have always dreamed it would be. The location was perfect, your families are ecstatic, and you just can’t stop looking at the photos from the photographer your fiance thoughtfully hired.
Cue the sound of tires coming to a screeching halt.
Now, what the heck do you do next?
It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the idea of getting engaged but once it actually happens, a lot of newly engaged couples have no idea what to do next.
And it’s understandable. Most of us don’t have a lot of experience with getting engaged, much less planning an entire wedding. It’s easy to go a bit “deer in the headlights” when the excitement simmers down and you are left with the daunting task of starting to plan your wedding.
Enter your friendly neighborhood wedding planner, yours truly.
So to help you get started without feeling burned out before you begin, here are the first steps (in order!) that you need to take after you get engaged
First step: Enjoy being engaged.
First things first—please enjoy this time. I repeat – Please. Enjoy. This. Time.
I feel like the second you get engaged, the questions start. When is the date? Where is the ceremony? What time is it? What are you wearing? Who is in the bridal party?
People. Slow the roll.
Take it slow. Savor these days. This will be the one and only time in your life that you two are engaged. And it should be enjoyed. And tell people to back off (said in love of course).
I’m jumping ahead for a lot of you but it is kind of like when you have a baby. Instead of people just enjoying this new bundle of love, they are constantly asking you when you will have another, how long you will wait until you try, etc.
And it is so easy to let yourself get caught up in the questions and excitement from others (and remember, they do truly mean it all in love). But my whole point is to not let the questions and the excitement pressure you into planning right away.
Take a trip. Go out on special dinners. Just enjoy each other’s company and bask in the excitement that you are no longer just dating, you are truly on the road to being eternal plus ones.
This is a once-in-a-lifetime period in time. Bask in it. Savor it. Slow it down.
Second thing to do after getting engaged – Figure out your budget
The actual first step in your planning soiree is to figure out a budget.
You can figure out an exact figure or, if you are a bit more flexible, come up with a range that you want to stay within. Just figure out something.
Before you can even think about where you are going to get married, you need to figure this out. This is important because it will keep you from going “house broke” and spending too much of your budget on one thing (say a venue) and then having no money left over (to decorate it, for example). Or having your dream celebrity photographer but no money for that couture dress you’ve had your eyes on
And, as a side note, one of my least favorite pieces of advice that I see floating around is to keep not share your budget with vendors.
I’d like to state that this is categorically incorrect. Do not keep your budget close to you and do not lie about your budget. Vendors usually have a range that they work within. If you tell them your budget (or your range) they can tell you if you fit within this range. This is especially true for your planner. The last thing you want to do is not be open about your budget with them.
Third step after you get engaged: Decide where you want to get married
The next step in your planning is deciding where you want to get married. And I don’t necessarily mean the venue, but rather, what location do you want to get married in?
Do you want a destination wedding? Where? Banff? Cabo? Italy? Bali? (I hear Montana is nice.)
Or do you want a wedding in your hometown? Or in your adopted city?
Before you can even think about vendors and venues, this is what needs to be decided.
The caveat to this is if you have a wide-reaching budget and will be bringing in your luxury destination vendors. Some vendors, like myself, like to travel for weddings but there is always an added cost for flying your vendors in.
It’s also important to keep your budget in mind as you decide on where you want to get married. You may not know how well your budget will work in your chosen area but when you contact planners (see next step), this is where being up front and honest will be in your best interest.
Fourth step: Start contacting planners
A planner is invaluable when it comes to creating your dream wedding and, as counter-intuitive as it sounds, they can actually help save you money in the long run. Their expertise can help you find vendors that fit your vision and your budget as well as help you avoid costly mistakes.
Your planner can help you save hours Googling other vendors, emailing them for pricing, and culling through the responses. Planners know the area, the vendors, and their prices—which helps streamline your process tremendously.
This is why finding a planner is the next step in your process. Hire a planner before you hire anyone else.
This is all especially true if you are planning a destination wedding. Your planner will know the area so much better than you and be a constant source of guidance and support.
Now, how exactly do you find your planner?
Here are some ways to find your dream wedding planner:
1 – Online search engines like The Knot and Wedding Wire.
2 – Google searches that are specific to your area or wedding vibe (ie: LGBTQ+ friendly planner in Montana)
3 – Personal referrals. If you know someone who has recently been married, ask them!
4 – Instagram. Do some savvy Instagram hashtag searches to find planners who may not do paid advertising or don’t show up first on Google searches.
Once you have your planner, the rest will fall into place as you follow their guidance and plan.
And if you just truly don’t have it in your budget to hire a planner, I’ve still got you covered. Make sure you sign up for my newsletter and stay in the know with all of the most up-to-date, easy to follow, wedding planning advice. I also have an exciting release coming soon to help all of you planning weddings without a planner. So make sure you sign up to learn all about it.
What to do after you get engaged
There you have it: the best steps to take after you get engaged. You’ll have a lot of decisions to make in the coming months but by taking it slow and intentional, it won’t feel so overwhelming and will be much more enjoyable.
So enjoy and congratulations. It’s going to be a beautiful engagement.
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