Updated: Nov 9, 2020
Are you newly engaged and wondering what next? Don’t worry, I got you girl! I know, your mind is probably racing thinking about everything that needs to get done STAT. Who do I share my exciting news with? What tasks should I complete upfront? Do I need to hire vendors?
Phew, overwhelming right? Planning can have that effect, but I can help! I’ve laid out a list of 10 things you’ll want to do as soon as possible post-engagement. So, here it goes!
1) Tell Your Story
First things first, take it all in and embrace it wholeheartedly. It’s important you enjoy this time personally before sharing the news with everyone else because you know once you do, it’s questions galore! The main question your friends and family will ask is “What was the story?”. While you don’t need to hang on every detail, you’ll want to set yourself up to voice a story that both you and your fiancé agree on and that gives everyone just the right touch! It’s important to target your family first. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want my parents finding out the news from someone else other than me (ah!). Next, what close friends do you want to share the news with? And, a note going into this, you do not need to talk about specifics. If any close friends ask about your wedding plans such as who is in your bridal party or invited to the wedding, it’s OK to avoid the questions and let them know you aren’t quite there yet. As far as sharing on social platforms goes, be ready for the crazy rush! This can be a lot of fun, however, if you’re one who is easily overwhelmed, the commentary and/or questions can increase that overwhelm. Some brides-to-be need a bit of time to take it all in! But, remember, this is YOUR day, not theirs!
2) Get That Rock Insured
You need to protect your beautiful piece of art. We both know a ring is NOT CHEAP. This is important for all brides-to-be, but especially for those who easily misplace things. You gotta’ keep it safe. There are many places out there that work within your budget, so DO NOT dismiss this step!
3) It's A Good Day For A Spa Day
But, like who doesn’t love a good spa day? Massage, nails and toes, facial, eyebrows and lip treatment? You name it. It is extremely important to treat yo’ self. A spa day will not only relax your mind before diving into all things “wedding”, but acts as a refresh. Plus, you’ll be in the spotlight and it’ll feel good to look your best!
Now that you’re feeling refreshed from your spa day, go get yourself ready to celebrate! Throw on your favorite dress, curl your hair, put some fresh lipstick on, book a reservation at the fanciest place in town, and freakin’ enjoy girlfriend! You’ve hit a milestone worth documenting!
5) Lay Out The Basics
The wedding planning will sneak up on you quicker than expected! I've noticed that a lot of brides today are moving forward with bookings before even laying out some of the most important items. The key to setting yourself up for success is to brainstorm and layout the basics upfront: getting organized, setting a budget, determining the guest list, picking your date ranges, and deciding on a theme.
Get Yourself Organized, First. From bridal blogs, emails, magazines, Pinterest boards, social media, & more, there's a heck of a lot to take in! That said, the number one step to laying out the basics is getting organized. Buy yourself a planner to document tasks leading up to the wedding/hold yourself accountable, invest in a wedding-specific email address to avoid wedding-related items getting lost in your personal inbox, and start creating your Google Docs as this will streamline logistics and enhance collaboration with vendors.
Set A Budget. Most people avoid asking themselves the hard money-based questions upfront such as “What is the absolute max amount I’m willing to spend?” You and your fiancé will want to agree on a realistic budget. It's supercritical that you first highlight the elements you just cannot live without. From there, you can start adding other items to the mix (including a safety net or splurge fund that you can dip into if need be) and determine where you might be able to cut back/eliminate. Lastly, a lot don’t take into consideration that costs can go up when you add more guests so you’ll want to monitor as you go and try to stick within the means of the initial plan.
Determine The Guest List. Before even thinking about the WHO, you need to decide the count. Some questions you’ll want to ask yourself are: how many people total does the venue allow, how many do I feel comfortable with, what fits my budget. The biggest piece of advice I can give here is, don't feel bad. You have to lay out ground rules and stick to them, especially in these crazy times. It isn't ideal nor fun, but it will all work itself out.
Pick Your Date Ranges. Picking dates can be the simplest or the most difficult beforehand task. What most do not think about is selecting a handful of date ranges instead of specific dates before stepping into a venue meeting. Other things that can impact the date you chose are the key parties involved, no-go dates, season, year, and how long you have to coordinate the wedding itself. You need to plan to be flexible and go into your venue meetings with an open mind because hey, the venue of your dreams might require you to be!
Decide On A Theme. What's your flavor? The vibe of your wedding is everything and shouldn’t be overlooked. Plus, it’s the best part! Are you going for vintage, boho, modern chic, farmhouse, etc.? Do you want a black tie or lax look/feel? You should consider the season (especially if outdoors). Then, you can factor in the decor. It all comes back to your personalities and what themes fill your heart with immediate passion. Remember, you can always settle on a basic look and incorporate specifics later on. Don't be afraid to get creative!
6) I'll Take You To The Venue Shop
Are you ready to go venue shopping? Whether a long or short engagement, you should always be actively looking for venues. As soon as you’ve laid out those basics, get groovin’ sister!
7) Hire A Wedding Planner
How many of you already have a wedding planner? For those that don’t, you’re probably wondering why investing in one is so crucial. Regardless of whether you’re the most organized person in all the land, having a wedding planner can save you time, energy, and a heck of a lot of stress. A wedding planner will take endless tasks off your shoulders and allow for a more relaxed experience leading up to your wedding. Even though they might be a significant part of your budget, a good planner can save you money in the long run. If planning is not your niche or you just do not want to overload yourself with the overwhelming details and decisions, this makes sense for you. A wedding planner will not only be your expert, but your best friend that stands by your side throughout the planning process. They’re there to take the pressure off of you. You’ll benefit from tips and tricks, input on overlooked details, logistics management, and so much more.
Once you have a solidified date, you’ll want to research photographers. My tip for you here is to pick someone you vibe with as they are going to be capturing all the precious moments that make up your big day. Plus, if you book sooner than later, it’ll give you more time to craft your engagement and wedding photos. Trust me, you’ll need time for this. There’s just so much value a photographer brings, so you’ll want to make sure you have everything laid out accordingly to maximize your time with him/her.
9) Your Wedding Website
Every girl needs a wedding website to call their own! You can start by researching the different site options and see what best fits your style. The Knot and WeddingWire are of course the staples! Your wedding site is where you’ll share your beautiful story, photos, any and all wedding details, registry, and more. And, we know your guests will have questions and what better place to send them than your wedding site!
Registering for gifts is not necessary at this stage of the game, but it sure as heck serves as a good break from planning! Go ahead and create a standing list of everything you and your fiancé need as a new married couple (eek!). Then, research some of your favorite spots. Kirkland, Amazon, Target, Crate & Barrel, Williams-Sonoma, Bed Bath & Beyond, etc. A quick tip here, start with your top three! Next comes the fun part, saying YES to all the things you’re hoping for! Like I said, use this as time away from your planning … because what girl doesn’t LOVE to shop!
Three Tips To Avoiding Procrastination Pitfalls
Handle One Thing At A Time. As we all know, taking on a ton of items at once can be quite overwhelming. My pro tip here is to slow it down! Instead of zipping through, you need to set realistic goals for yourself. What are all the things you’re hoping to accomplish over the months leading up to your wedding and when do you plan to accomplish them? You want to set a reasonable number of goals for each week and hold yourself accountable to completing them, but try your best to avoid adding more!
Factor In Breaks. It's important to always take breaks throughout the process. It's OK if you leave the planning to fend for itself while you go for a quick walk or even take the weekend off! I promise, it will be there when you get back. If you don't enjoy the process, it will only lead to that unnecessary stress and overwhelm which is what we set out to avoid at the start of it all!
Practice Gratitude. Practicing gratitude will keep you focused and in the right mindset. I suggest setting aside 5-minutes in the morning and at night for this practice. Every morning, focus on all the things you're grateful for and layout the top three things you want to accomplish. Every night, document what you did indeed accomplish and most importantly, show yourself some love. You are your own best friend deep down, so you gotta' treat yourself like so throughout this entire wedding planning process!