Updated: Jan 2
Just got engaged, and not sure what's next?
There is no accurate formula, or exact recipe to follow once you get engaged. Everyone is different, and follows their own path. However, here is a little guidance if you are feeling lost!
Thanks for dropping by for some friendly advice, but first...
YAY!!! Congratulations! You're engaged, and get to marry the person of your dreams!
Once that ring slips on your finger, oh so many emotions are felt. Including maybe confusion... what happens next?! Thats ok! You most likely haven't been engaged before, so not knowing what to do is pretty normal. I have compiled a list of "steps" that I think could be helpful. After being a newly engaged person myself at one point, and photographing multiple engagements and weddings over the years, these are the "steps" I somewhat followed, and some extras that hindsight has provided! That being said, it's ok to do whatever the heck you want, because it's your life, your engagement, and your wedding!
1. Embrace your moment!
I blame social media for our need to want to share this moment instantly. But if you can hold off and enjoy it between you and your partner, even for a while, please do! It's nice to live in that little bubble of happiness with just your partner. My husband and I were in ours for a couple of days before we told family, and a couple of weeks before we announced it on social media. Of course all the happy congratulations that come with that announcement are amazing to receive, but it's also so amazing to soak up that moment for the 2 people it matters most too. Don't worry about calling people, or planning your wedding venue just yet! Just celebrate in whatever way you want. Champagne, cuddles, do your favourite thing together, whatever! Keep yourself in that happiness bubble for as long as you want - trust me, you'll be glad you did.
2. Now tell your family + friends...
Make sure you begin with Mom; she won't be too happy to share this moment with your old friends from middle school, and that old witch you used to work with if you decide to announce your engagement on social media first ;) If you can, tell the people you're closest with in person. It's super exciting to watch their reaction! Once the news soaks in for them, it's a new happiness bubble to embrace! Sometimes it isn't possible to do this in person, so try to make a FaceTime call for this one! I just did a regular phone call to some of my best friends, and I wish I would have at least FaceTime'd with them. After you've informed your close fam + friends, feel free to craft an announcement for social media! Maybe someday I'll make a post about how to announce your engagement on social media, but until then... P.S everyone wants to see the ring, so make sure to include that in your announcement!
3. Size (and insure) your ring!
Unless your partner is a genius super organized planner, chances are you'll need to get your ring sized. The jeweller the ring came from should be able to help you out with this. I remember the wait to get my ring back was awful, so make sure to slip an interim ring on until then! I ended up purchasing a groovy little mood ring to wear for those 3 weeks. Also, if your partner hasn't already insured your ring, make sure to do that stat!
4. Start up a wedding Pinterest board.
You don't need to have a Pinterest perfect wedding, BUT Pinterest is one of the best (and easiest) places to draw inspiration from. You can make the board private if you aren't ready to share your plans with others just yet! As much as your partner might not be into it, look at some things together so you can establish ideas about the overall style you like as a couple. You may be surprised on what you agree and disagree on! Before you book any vendors you'll want to have a couple ideas about what you'd like your wedding to be like. Let me throw a couple examples at you - you find yourself drawn to a super boho vibe; it's probably best not to contact a fancy ballroom for your venue. Or you like a "dark + moody" photography style, you can probably skip the "bright and airy" photographers.
5. Set a date (sort of)...
Think about the time of year you want to be married. And how long from now. Maybe it's next fall. Maybe it's two summers from now. Maybe it's New Years Eve 2022. Set a tentative date, but with that being said, don't be married to it (see what I did there)! If you have your heart set on a particular vendor, be wiling to be flexible about your date. Sometimes the wedding date you have in mind is already booked for them. When I got engaged, I knew in order to have the photographer I wanted, I would be willing to switch my date. I was lucky enough not to have to do that, but I was ready just in case!
6. Ask your maids + men to be part of the big day.
Asking the guys and gals you want to stand by your side on the wedding day shouldn't be a tough decision. They will also say yes, if they really are the people who love you the most. However, you should let them know sooner rather than later, as being in a wedding involves a time + money cost they might have to make adjustments for. Sometimes they have to make sure they can get the weekend (+ bridal shower, + stag/stagette party) off. Sometimes they have to do a little saving (those sparkly shoes aren't free). Sometimes they might need to do both (especially if you're having a destination wedding)!
7. Book your photographer!
Ok yes, you might think this is a cop out, because the person writing this blog is a photographer. BUT, hear me out! Photos are all you're really left with after the wedding (which seems soooo far away right now) is over. Make sure you book someone whose work you love, and who meshes well with your personality! Most photographers (including myself - shameless plug) offer engagement photos complimentary with wedding packages. Once you've booked that person you can get some engagement photos done. Engagment photos are wonderful and practical. You can use them for invitations, guest books, decor, social media announcements, etc... It is also awesome to work with your photographer before you know, you're busy getting married. You'll get an idea of how they work, and what to expect on your wedding from the experience at your engagement session. There is really no "right" time to do engagment photos, but generally don't leave it to the last second. Especially if you're wanting to use those photos at the wedding itself. I usually recommend 9-6 months in advance!
8. Book everything else!
Once you've booked your photographer ;) start booking everything else! I would recommend booking in order of priority! So if the venue is the next thing you have your heart most set on, do that! If it's the DJ, do that! You get the idea. I've put together a list of vendors that typically book up for weddgins to help. PS. this list does not mean you need to book every vendor. My own wedding didn't have an official venue - we had it at our farm!
Hair + MUA
Decor Rental Company
Thanks for reading along! If you have any helpful tips of your own drop them in the comments for all the future brides + grooms!