Congratulations! You're Engaged!! Wow! What an exciting time! I'm sure you've shown everyone you know your new prize possession and the idea that you're actually getting married is starting to sink in. By now you're wondering "What do I do now?" Here are 10 things that should be at the very top of your "to do" list:
Photo credit: Sabrina Greene Photography
1) Insure and Size Your Ring
First things first, have your ring properly sized. This alone will give you some peace of mind knowing that it's not as likely to slip off your finger. But, we all know that accidents happen and sometimes things get lost. Or, unfortunately, they also get damaged and stolen. Nobody wants to see this happen to your ring but life is sometimes uncomfortable and things happen. That being said, the very first thing you do should be to insure your ring. For about $50 per year you can insure your beautiful ring and give yourself peace of mind knowing that if the unthinkable happens, at least it can be replaced.
Shop for policies with your insurance carrier or you can get a separate policy at Jewelers Mutual among others.
Illustration credit: FeatherQuill Illustrations
2) Plan your budget.
This will be the least fun part of planning your wedding but it is the most necessary part of the process. The budget (like a foundation) needs to be established early in order to build the framework that is your wedding. This needs to be an open and honest conversation between you, your fiancé, and any other contributors including both of your parents. You also need to consider if you are paying for the whole thing entirely on your own. If you are, you need to decide where the money will come from. Will you get a loan? Use credit cards? Savings? All of this needs to be discussed before your planning goes any further. You don't want to get your heart set on a venue or dress only to realize that it's way out of your budget.
All images via Adobe Stock
3) Pick a Season
Before you ever try to pick a date, you and your fiancé need to discuss which season. Seasonal changes will affect venue choice i.e. February is not the ideal month for an outdoor, rustic wedding...many rustic venues have neither air conditioning nor heating and with less than perfect weather in February, heat is probably a necessity. Also, considering that October is the new June and many couples are gravitating toward the autumn months for wedding dates, if you want an autumn wedding this should be decided as quickly as possible to ensure venue availability.
All images via Pinterest: Rustic Winter Wedding Ideas
4) Begin searching for inspiration
You probably have had your dream wedding planned since you were a young girl but in case you haven't, or you need a few more ideas, Pinterest is going to be your new BFF. Create boards that speak to you and your fiancé. Create different boards for different topics: dress, shoes, cake, decor, flowers, etc. Then start pinning inspiration photos. Bear in mind though, many pictures found on Pinterest are from styled shoots and if you try to do everything you see, you are definitely going to blow your budget.
All images via Adobe Stock
5) Choose your style
Once your style and season are nailed down begin searching for a venue. Do this as soon as you've decided on your season because dates will fill up quickly, especially in those super popular spots and super popular months.
Image via Adobe Stock
6) Begin compiling your guest list.
You are going to need an approximate number when you start venue shopping. And, the number of guests will affect your budget with meals, alcohol, rentals, etc. When you start this guest list add the names to a database (Excel is great for this). Include columns for the guest name(s), their full address, phone #, invite sent y/n, reply received y/n, # invited, # attending, not attending. You can also add columns for gifts and thank you note sent.
7) Select your wedding party
Choosing your wedding party could be one the most stressful aspects of planning your big day. You want to include everyone and you don't want to hurt anyone's feelings by not asking them. Stop right there. You do not need to worry about including all of your cousins, all of you sorority sisters, or even all of your own sisters (although it is expected to include them and the sisters of your fiancé). There are no hard and fast rules regarding choosing your party. Ask yourself these 6 questions when choosing:
What does my partner want? Discuss the party size with them and decide how many. Also keep in mind, that contrary to popular belief, both sides do not need to be equal.
Size- just how big of a party are you planning?
Formal weddings tend to have more attendants than less formal fêtes. A good rule of thumb is to keep the wedding party in proportion to the number of guests. Typically there is one bridesmaid for every 30 guests.
How long have you been friends with the person you have in mind? Will you still be friends in 5 years? Lifelong friends and immediate family should be given top priority.
Are they wedding party material?
Aside from the financial burden being in the wedding party will bring, be sure to consider what they have going on in their own life. Are they running around with their hair on fire for their jobs or their families? Keep in mind when asking someone to be in your wedding party that there are many time commitments that come with the role. There will be parties, showers, fittings, and an entire weekend committed to you and your party.
Are they in favor of your marriage?
It will present many awkward moments if your wedding party is not supporting you in your choice to get married. To save yourself some stress be sure to consider their feelings regarding your pending nuptials.
Once you've considered these questions, refer back to your budget and consider the impact having more attendants will have on that budget. Keep in mind that you will be paying for flowers, meals, hair and makeup and although it is not required, their attire.
8) Create a wedding website
Wedding websites are a fairly new addition to the wedding planning process but they are proving to be extremely valuable tool. Couples are using wedding websites to inform their guests of the details of their story, the wedding ins and outs, the reception details, the venue directions, registries, and much more. There are many free or relatively inexpensive resources including The Knot, WeddingWire, Zola, and Squarespace.
9) Hire a Wedding Planner
A wedding planner is certainly not required but they can definitely make you life much easier and give you much needed stress-free support to allow you to enjoy your engagement. They know the ins and outs of the whole shebang, including etiquette to speeches to flowers to cake and everything in between, wedding planners got you covered. Trust me, you are going to want to enjoy every minute of your engagement and when the big day finally arrives, every minute will pass so quickly, leave the worry to your planner and just breathe it all in.
Photo Credit: Mary Jane Murphy
10) Relax, Enjoy the Journey, Love your Fiancé
Remember, this is your day. It is a celebration of the love and commitment you and your partner have for each other and your desire to spend the rest of your lives together celebrating that love. Your engagement will go by in a flurry of activity but remember to to take time for yourself, spend time with each other, and don't forget to let people help you.
Happy Engagement and Happy Planning,