Congratulations! You just said "Yes!" to perhaps the most exciting question of your life! As you begin to transition from dating life to engagement, it is easy to get overwhelmed with where you should start with wedding planning, celebrating with loved ones and more. Lucky for you, we have gathered a list of the top 10 things you should do to get the ball rolling.
1. Tell your loved ones! Family, friends, and anyone you want to be the first to know!
Okay, so this one might sound like a given, but telling the people you are closest to is an essential first step! Whether that's Facetiming your family and friends to show off your dazzling new ring, sending a cute picture or scheduling an in-person visit (COVID permitting, of course) to celebrate the news, sharing your excitement with the people who will be by your side on the big day is bound to be met with bright smiles and eager attitudes.
2. Make it Instagram Official!
Take some pics to announce your big news on social media! Whether its a professional shot or a simple and sweet selfie, getting your engagement announcement on your favorite social media platform is a great way to document this special day and share the news with your Facebook friends/followers and exciting start to your engagement journey! As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.
3. Ensure You Ring!
This is a must! Guarantee the protection of your sparkly new rock by getting an insurance plan. Hopefully nothing will happen to it, but it is better to be safe than sorry. Talk to your jeweler about what options are available and safeguard your bling!
4. Engagement Party!
Now obviously we are not suggesting you gather in large groups during the pandemic. If you are planning to have your big day during this time we suggest a themed Zoom call (dress up and turn your camera on, change your background, use filters, etc.), a socially-distanced drive through parade, or a Netflix watch party! If you are planning way ahead for your big day and COVID-19 allows it, an engagement party, bridal shower, and of course a Bachelor/ette party are fun ways to celebrate your upcoming nuptials with your bridal party and friends!
5. Plan ahead! Think about potential dates!
One of the first steps of the planning process is figuring out what kind of wedding you would like to have. Whether your dream is to say "I Do!" a sunny summer day in a garden or on a snow-filled mountain top in the middle of winter, there are numerous options to explore. Determining a date that works for both you and your families (and avoiding any potential conflicts) is crucial to do ahead of time so you can plan around it. It's best to start early.
6. Look at finances and create a budget.
This is the hard part, but setting realistic goals (How much can you afford to spend? How much do you want to spend?) before you get the ball rolling is the best way to avoid burning a hole in your pocket. The wedding you planned on Pinterest is expensive and wedding sticker shock is real. Determine which aspects of your dream wedding you can't live without and then talk finances with your fiancé, parents (if they're helping foot the bill) and planner (if you have one) to find options that work within your financial means.
7. Narrow down your invite list!
Whether you envision an intimate gathering of 50 or an extravaganza of 300 (post-COVID, obviously), creating a list of those of those who you want to share your special day with is often one of the great wedding planning conundrums. Set a realistic goal for the number of guests you plan to invite and remember that your budget, venue (if you've already chosen one) and vibe you want for your day should play into that decision. Each guest isn't just an additional plate of food, its an extra place setting, an extra chair at the table, an extra piece of cake ... and as the headcount rises, so does your budget - exponentially. That being said, decide where to draw the line and stick to it no matter what. And of course, make sure to get your family's input if it matters to either of you (and if they're contributing financially).
8. Research Venues
When it comes to venues, the options are endless ... so where do you start? If you have a wedding planner, start the conversation with them as often times, they'll have the knowledge and familiarity with a wide list of venues to be able to direct you accordingly. It is important to determine your estimated guest count in addition to what city or vicinity you'd like to get married in as well as what time of year in order to narrow the options before you get started. When looking for a venue, it is important to determine what's included as some venues are full-service (including rentals, catering and more) while others offer four walls but nothing more. Also, make sure to find one that aligns with your vision and fits the aesthetic you have in mind. Choosing the perfect canvas for your wedding might take a little time, so be patient with yourself as this is going to be one of your most important decisions.
9. Check in with yourself and your partner.
Wedding planning can be stressful, but it doesn't have to take a toll on you! Make sure that you are taking care of yourself and your fiancé. Whether that means going on a date night, having a cozy night in, or a picnic outdoors, make sure your well-being is your first priority.
10. Enjoy every moment and take it all in.
Your engagement period is short and sweet, and soon you will be in matrimonial bliss! Make sure you are enjoying every second of this exciting time. It can be a whirlwind, but make an effort to take lots of pictures, allow for some relaxation when necessary, live in the moment and soak it all up. Focus on creating a beautiful marriage, not just a beautiful wedding.