The question has finally been popped, “Will you Marry Me?!” You’ve been dreaming about this day for some time now. Now that it’s here…what do you do?! Where do you start? Wedding planning can be very confusing and stressful especially when you’re experiencing the excitement and emotions of being engaged. So I’ve put together the first ten steps in order for you to make things a little bit easier. So hopefully this list of What To Do After You Get Engaged will be helpful in getting you started on the wedding planning road!
Celebrate with those involved in the proposal!!
I feel like this step is a no-brainer but it needs to be said. Take the day/night to celebrate with whoever was present for the proposal and anyone else you want to bring in on this celebration. Whether that’s just you and your brand new fiance or a whole slew of family and friends. Bring out the champagne, go to dinner, order dinner in. However, you want to celebrate take the time to be excited about this very big moment in your life! Don’t rush through it!
Inform all your people then announce on social media!
Please please please, do not announce on social media until all your key people have been told with a phone call or in person. You decide who your key people are and then make sure they know before you post to Instagram! As yourself, if this person posted about their engagement on social media without telling me personally first, would I be offended?
Talk with your fiancé about how you both envision your wedding day & get on the same page.
Where do you want to get married?
Do you want to stay local or are you open to travel?
Do you envision a big guest list or a small intimate wedding?
Do you want rustic or ballroom?
How involved does your fiance want to be in the planning process?
Do you envision certain family members being involved in planning and how does your fiance feel about them being involved?
Take the time to have an open and honest conversation with each other about these questions and more before either of you get invested in planning to then find out that your partner hates everything you’ve already planned. Or they’re feeling completely left out.
Take the time to try and avoid unnecessary conflict later by having this sit down now.
Talk finances & set a budget for the wedding day.
There are a few steps involved in this process. The first step, have the frank conversation with your partner about how you two envision the day being paid for – will you pay for it yourselves, will you be asking for money from family, will you pay for everything with cash, are you open to putting things on the credit card?
Now discuss with them how much each of you is willing to look at spending on the wedding. Is it $10,000 or $100,000?
If you’re going to be asking family for contributions, sit down with them and have this conversation.
Now that you have an understanding of what your absolute final amount available is, here is the next vital step in the process…do the research!
Take the time to understand and learn what the average cost of services are in your area. For example, the average Baltimore Wedding costs about $35,000. Of course, that number is workable – you can save in certain areas and splurge in others. What does it cost for florals, how much does the average wedding photographer in your area cost? How much does the catering cost? Go into meetings with your vendors with knowledge about the average cost of their service and if you’re concerned about the cost of it, take the time to understand why it costs that much. Remember, you are paying not only for a product but also for a service and the time and talent that goes into that service. So yes, a wedding photographer costs, for example, $3,500 and that might seem crazy to you. I mean don’t we all want $3,500 for 8 hours of work?! Yes please, I would love that. However, remember I’m not just with you for 8 hours. That price also includes your engagement portraits (about an hour of time with you), all the email communications between us over the year, editing process (1-2 hours for an engagement session and about 12 hours for your wedding images). Now add on the fact that I also have to use the $3,500 to fund my business – pay for the second shooter and the assistant for the day of your wedding, cover the cost of my equipment, education, cloud services, business insurance. Then, of course, the government wants their take. So while you pay me $3,500, I typically see in my personal paycheck about $1,000 of that. Which means if I photograph 26 weddings in a year, I’m only walking away with an annual salary of $26,000. So take the time to understand the cost of the services and why they cost what they do.
Now you need to decide what services hold the most value to you ie where do you want to splurge vs where do you want/can you save? Do you want to send Save The Dates? I personally choose to not send Save The Dates. It saved us money on printing and postage. As well as it saved us money in the return of YES RSVPs’ because not every single guest had our wedding date on their calendar a year in advance to make sure they were blocking it off. We splurged on our wedding photographer. We saved by having a Pennsylvania wedding where our per person catering cost was about half that of a Baltimore venue. We splurged by adding an after-party bonfire at our venue and a next day brunch with all our guests who stayed overnight. We saved by putting a cap on our alcohol budget and only served beer and wine. You need to make the decisions that are best for you, the decisions that will make you happiest.
Now that you have a budget, Build a guest list.
There is absolutely no point in finding venues without a guest list. It doesn’t have to be the absolute final guest list but a rough list that you’ll cut down later is needed. By having your guest list, you know which venues will be able to accommodate you. No sense visiting a venue that’s built for 100 guests when your list will be about 200. Or vice versa, a venue made to host 250 guests will make your 50 person guest list look even smaller in it’s a massive ballroom with its high ceilings. This will also help you in determining if you’ll be able to afford the catering bill if the venue offers catering. You’ll know if you can afford the venue that has a higher rental rate but you can bring in a cheaper caterer since your guest list is smaller and the prices will be offset. But if the venue rental and the catering bill is going to take up 80% of your budget because of your guest list, you may want to either look at other venue options or re-evaluate your guest list.
Start searching online for venues
Go and visit venues
Fall in love with one, sign the contract, pay retainer and lock in your date!
Are you interested in hiring a wedding planner?
Ps. I strongly suggest it! Planners often get ignored and thought, oh well my venue has a day of coordinator. And yes the venue’s coordinators are amazing but having someone that has been with you every step of the way with the knowledge and understanding of all things weddings will help relieve some major stress for you throughout the entire process and especially on the day of.Here are some recommendations (click their name to head to their site):
– Angelica & Co Weddings
– Amavi Wedding Events & Coordination
– Unique by Design Weddings & Events
– Lemon & Lime Event Design
– Nouvelle Weddings
Hire your other vendors
Designer & Planner
Hair and Makeup Artist
DJs or Band
Event Rentals (Tables, Linens, Cutlery, Lighting, Tents)
Rehearsal Dinner Services (Location, Caterer)
Variety Acts for your Reception& those are just the vendors that you’ll need to hire and contract to be there on your wedding day. But start with that list to determine who you want/need to make your day perfect for you! Then you can worry about finding the right dress salon and tux rental, the best hotel rental blocks, and spots to get ready in, the honeymoon details and registry services, your rings and other jewelry details.
Sit back and enjoy!
Attend bridal shows to find other vendors and enjoy all the yummy goodies. Check out Pinterest for inspiration to really narrow in on your design vision to show the vendors you just hired. Now just follow along with the team of vendors you hired as they reach out and remind of you of meetings you need to have with them and decisions to be made. Also, follow along on the Knot’s timeline for help with the little details that some of us forget to do.
Find other Wedding Planning Advice Here:
One Trick To Get The Best Reception Photos
Groomsman Gift Suggestion
3 Questions to Ask Your Baker
The Most Important Question to Ask Your Photographer
Unplugged Weddings?! Yes or No?