Yay! If you're reading this, you just got engaged to the love of your life! Congratulations! After your partner pops the question, you say yes, the tears clear and the jitters calm down. . . Excitement overcomes, but usually there's a little bit of anxiety too. Trust me, I just got engaged. I know the feeling!
After getting engaged, I knew more than the average bride because I've been photographing proposals, engagement sessions and weddings for almost 10 years. Even with this knowledge, I was still stressed. Planning a wedding is not easy, no matter how many blogs you read, TikToks you watch or planners you use. It made me realize. . . If I'm this stressed, I can't imagine how stressed the average bride is!
Take the planning process piece by piece. Break it down by steps. I'll help you get started! Here are my top 8 Things to do After Getting Engaged!
1. Celebrate and let your family and close friends know!
It seems in today's day in age that everything is on social media. Everything. Including Britney Spears's bottom. (Love you, Britney. . . I don't want to see that.) Your proposal can wait for social media. FaceTime or call your family and family-like friends. Let them know! They don't want to find out on social media. They want to celebrate with! After you let your VIPs know, then you can plaster it all over the web! Show off that ring!!
2. Make sure your ring is insured!
I got lucky. My fiancé, Josh, insured my ring before he even left the store. Thank goodness! Some men don't think about it or make the excuse that it's too expensive. The truth is. . . it's not expensive. Especially considering how expensive engagement rings are. . . Men! If you spent $5,000 on the engagement ring, the insurance for THE YEAR is as low as $50. That's it. PLEASE GET THE INSURANCE.
3. Make a wedding e-mail!
The best wedding planning tip ever and it's free - my favorite price. Make an email that will be used for all things wedding. We did ours through gmail. I simply played around with email names I liked until there was one available. Every contact form we filled out, we put that email.
Using gmail allows you to use Google Docs, Sheets, etc. Highly recommend!
If you want to make your life even easier. . . Use the label feature! Catergorize your emails with venue, flowers, DJ, etc. That way when you need to look for an email later on, it's super easy to find! You can see our labels here:
4. Buy a wedding planner
There are a ton of wedding planners to pick from, but my favorite is the Joyful Wedding Planner by Southern Weddings! My sister-in-law got it for us! She even had a binder made with our photo on it. Truly, it was the best engagement gift we got!
5. Start thinking about budgets and time of year
Most people don't realize that these two relate to one another. Most venues and some vendors charge more during certain months. For example, a venue may be a couple grand more to rent during wedding season versus off-season. If you want to get married in October in Savannah, you will most likely pay more for your venue than you would if your wedding was in January.
Josh and I had to plan our wedding extremely far out because MDB Photography was already booked for 2021 and 2022. I also didn't want to give up a busy month because I still have to make money. Therefore, we are getting married in wedding off-season which ended up saving us money! Who doesn't like to save money??
6. Decide on a rough guest list
Yes, I usually recommend doing this prior to touring venues. The reason is. . . If you tour venues and fall in love with your dream venue that only hosts 150 people, but your guests list is 250 people. . . You're going to need to cut down your guest lists or find a different venue.
I still make fun of Josh to this day. . . We made our own separate guest list and then combined them. My list was about 100 people and his was 250 people. I read through it and hadn't even heard of about half of the people on his list. I looked at him and gave him some things to think about
Have you talked to them in the last year?
Would you take them out to dinner and spend $150 on just them alone?
Have I met them before?
If the answer was no to any of those questions, take them off the list. Men sometimes don't understand that weddings aren't for everyone you've ever met. Those questions really helped him and may help you. With the last question, we were a little flexible. For example, we haven't met some of each other's friends because they live far away.
7. Research wedding venues
One of the biggest tasks on your to-do list! Once this one is checked off, everything starts falling into place.
Start with location. Where do you want to get married? Is it your hometown? Somewhere sentimental? Somewhere you've always wanted to go? Somewhere guests can easily travel to? Or maybe even a destination wedding?
Next, decide on the style of venue that you want. Do you want a barn? A historic home? The beach?
Last, start reaching out to venues you're interested in. Typically, they send you pricing prior to your tour so you know if it is out of your budget. Take into consideration that all venues include different things. Some include tables, chairs, linens, etc. while others don't include anything other than the building and land.
8. Make your wedding website
This is one of my favorite things and again, it's free! You can pay for some things, but you don't need to! It's been a lifesaver to have every question a guest could have right on the website. Websites are especially useful for guests coming from out of town.
I go into more detail about wedding websites here.
BONUS: Wedding credit card
While Josh and I did not do this, I know a lot of my couples do. Open a credit card that is solely used for wedding expenses. Then you can use those points to buy your honeymoon flights or even pay for your whole honeymoon!