6 Things to Do after Getting Engaged | Tips for Brides-to-Be
A few weeks ago, I blogged about 5 things to do before your wedding. Today, I’m going to talk about 6 things to do after getting engaged. I have a lot of friends who always ask me where to start the wedding process, so now I’m sharing some answers with you!
1. Enjoy Your Engagement
I’ve known many brides who get engaged and within a few hours to a few days, they have a date and venue and immediately start planning. That’s great and it works well for some couples! Many Americans choose to have a “short” engagement of just a year or less. I’ll never forget when I heard Sofia Vergara on a late night talk show saying that she had been engaged for a few years with no wedding date set. She explained that especially in her culture, engagements are meant to be enjoyed for a long time before wedding planning. Being engaged is a new step in a relationship, so take some time to soak it in with your fiancé if there’s no rush!
2. Set a Budget
After you’ve had some time to enjoy being engaged, you should discuss and set a budget with all of the people who will be financially involved in your wedding. This is so incredibly important! Wedding vendors and decorations can add up quickly. If you don’t have a budget for your entire wedding and a budget percentage for each vendor category (photography, florals, etc.), it’s easy to wind up spending much more than you had intended. When this happens, the budgets for the remaining vendor categories will have to be reduced or you risk going over-budget.
Set a budget before booking anything and stick to it! It’s one of the most important things to do after getting engaged. Also, be sure to factor in taxes, fees, tips, and any wedding party gifts. I’ll create a dedicated budget creation post in the next few weeks, so stay tuned!
3. Create a Guest List
Yes, make a guest list for your wedding before you search for and book your venue! You don’t want to have to alter your guest list after you’ve booked a venue because it can’t fit everyone or because it’s so big and won’t create an intimate atmosphere.
Start your list with family first, then close friends. Then move on to the other people you want to be present for your big day. Account for guests’ children and significant others, too.
4. Set a Date + Book a Venue
Now that you have your budget and guest count, it’s time to set a date and book your venue. You can do these in either order, but be aware that your favorite venue might be booked already on your dream date and vice versa. Some venues are booked two or more years out, although most don’t have such a long “waiting list.” I suggest having two to three potential dates in mind (yes, it’s ok to have a preferred date!), when you start requesting venue tours.
To find venues, think of the style you’re looking for (rustic, modern, beach, etc.) and then consult Google, the knot, wedding blogs, etc. I also strongly recommend checking the reviews of your top picks. I tend to find that most vendors and venues all have 5 star reviews on wedding-related sites, so I trust Yelp and Google more. Request a meeting and walk-through with the event coordinator or catering manager for your top venue picks. See how you like them in-person and make your pick!
5. Wedding Websites + Save the Dates
Wedding websites are awesome, as long as you take the time to fill out all of the relevant information. You can create your own on WordPress if you’re tech savvy, like one of my couples (below). You can also create one through the knot or mywedding. Either way, give your guests all of the information they need, so they don’t have to contact you for details if they lose their save the date or invitation.
I do adore a good save the date, especially when it contains your wedding website URL! You can ask a stationary and paper goods vendor to create you a whole invitation suite that includes save the dates. Or you can actually use your engagement images on a save the date that your photographer creates for you. That’s such an awesome way to use your e-session images as a part of your wedding! Many photographers, including myself, will be happy to provide you with a few different designs and have the cards and envelopes printed for you. It’s that easy!
6. Invest in a Wedding Coordinator
Even if your budget is tight or you happen to be really organized, I recommend hiring a “month-of” or “day-of” coordinator at a minimum. Some venues even require that you have at least a “day-of” coordinator to ensure the wedding runs smoothly. Better yet, book a full coordination package with someone who has numerous reviews and references and a good portfolio of images (especially if you want them to do any styling/decor). You’ll gain some free time to spend with your fiancé and you’ll lose a lot of the stress you’d have with planning and coordinating the whole wedding by yourself.
In the past, I’ve photographed weddings without coordinators and I really notice a difference in how well the day runs. When there’s no coordinator, the photographer (and sometimes venue) has to pick up the slack of making sure everything is on time. That can really take away from their ability to photograph everything they had intended to capture. How? If I’m having to run back and forth between other vendors or locate half your family for a given reason, then I can’t be taking images during that time.
In the end, you’ll be so glad you hired a professional! If this is new information for you, you can read about the difference in a wedding planner and coordinator here.
I hope you enjoyed this post on 6 things to do after getting engaged. If you’d like me to answer any questions you have in an upcoming blog post, leave them in the comments!
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