You're Engaged, Now What? The Beginners Bridal Guide on Where to Start
Your partner just popped the question and you said yes! It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for. You knew when you met them that they were the person you wanted to spend the rest of your life with, and of course, you dreamt about it but now that you have a ring on your finger - you can’t believe it. You’re engaged - now what?
The next couple weeks and months are going to be emotional and maybe even overwhelming at first - that is, if you don’t know where to start. But that’s not going to happen to you, you know why? Because we’re here to help you out. So, take a breather and sit down, this is a moment in your life where you’re supposed to celebrate and enjoy. Planning a wedding can be stressful but if you follow this list, you’ll tackle the critical just-engaged things that’ll bring you peace & joy now and in the future.
#1 // Alert family and friends
You’ve spent some time alone with your partner after they proposed but now it’s time to tell family and friends. Call everyone who’s closest to you whether it’s your parents, best friend, grandmother - they’ll be ecstatic to hear the news and share this moment with you. Though, be ready to repeat how your partner proposed to you over and over again, trust us, everyone is going to ask you that question. Then, once you’re done telling everyone close around you, you can share it on social media.
Side note: In a world where we’re quick to overshare, take time to remember the last time you found out something huge from someone close to you, on social media. Did you feel some kind of way? Even though it may take a long time to do this, and you’re itching for those Instagram likes, take the time to call your relatives -- them finding out on social when everyone else does can really hurt their feelings.
#2 // Get your ring sized
Unless your partner was sneaky and matched the size to one of your other rings (he’s a smart one!) then you’ll need to go get your ring sized. Of course, your ring is perfect, though there may be a little too much wiggle room. The last thing you need is it falling off or being too tight, so get it sized immediately. Most jewelers offer this for free or include this service in the package your fiance bought when he purchased the ring.
#3 // Celebrate the engagement
You don’t have to have a giant party, but you should celebrate your engagement with your closest family and friends. It doesn’t have to be somewhere fancy, you can have a home party or a dinner. You can even keep the engagement a secret and surprise everyone at the engagement party. But remember, everyone invited to the engagement party should be invited to the wedding. Or else it’ll get a little weird when your wedding rolls around! So make sure to invite those closest to you, and resist the urge to spread the wealth.
#4 // Insure your ring
It might seem like an extra expense (especially when there’s a wedding to plan) but trust us -- insuring your ring is something you’ll never regret. It’s one of those things where -- if you end up needing it -- you’ll only be upset if you never got it. To get your ring insured, you’ll need to get to appraised by a certified independent gemologist. This service is usually offered upon the purchase of the ring. Once you have an appraisal, you’ll be able to determine whether or not your ring will be covered if it’s stolen, lost or damaged.
#5 // Don’t jump into wedding planning
We know, a wedding company telling you to not jump right in? Trust us and listen to this one: You don’t have to start planning the wedding the day after your engagement. Typically, most couples get married after a year and a half of being engaged, but there’s no rule to that. You decide when you want to get married and if it’s three years or five years or five months from now that’s fine. Even if you choose to get married next week, you’ll be better off if you take some time to sit and just be. You want your wedding to suit you and your partner’s needs. Everything & everyone can wait. Don’t rush, instead, take some time to enjoy the engagement. You’ll have a lot of work ahead of you for the wedding, so, take a break ahead of time.
#6 // Talk dates
As soon as you get engaged, the first question you’ll hear over and over again will be “so, do you have a date?” This can get annoying really quickly, but know people have good intentions. They know that picking a date is the very start, but don’t feel pressure. Maybe you don’t have a date but maybe it’s a good idea to start with a year, or a season. It’s perfectly okay to say “We’re thinking May 2020, but we haven’t looked at venues yet.”
A starting season and year can help you start making decisions. Once you have a date set in mind, then you can start researching venues, seeing which ones have available openings. Without a time of year, there’s no venue. And without a venue, there’s no wedding. Also, talk to close family and friends, make sure they don’t have anything planned around the tentative date of your wedding.
Read this next! // 10 Secrets of a Flawless Wedding Invite
#9 // Make a budget
100% of wedding planning will affect you and your partner financially. Everything (and we mean everything) has a cost of some sort -- even if you do it yourself. Thus, you want to make sure that you are on the same financial page as your partner. Sit down together (and with family members if they are willing to help out) and discuss the budget for your wedding.
Knowledge is power. Without a budget, the costs for your wedding can easily get out of hand, but with a budget, you are armed with the knowledge you need to make decisions and prioritize. Create a budget that you are both happy with, that way you can plan the rest of your wedding with a peace of mind.
#8 // Make a rough estimate of the guest list
When you start to looking at venues, you’re going to be asked how many people are attending your wedding. You’ll want to be able to answer that question because it’ll affect the price or even if that venue now is or isn’t possible to book. All venues have limits on people it can have at once, due to local fire codes and laws. So, make a rough draft of the guest list because from there, it’ll give you a rough idea of how many people you’ll need space for. Of course, you can add and remove people, but this is just to help you with the budget and to have an approximate number to get started. No need to look at a venue that can fit 500 when your rough draft has 100!
Read this next! // The Ultimate Guide to Keeping Your Wedding Guest List Under Control
#7 // Pick some venues
Like we said earlier, if you don’t have a venue, you don’t have a wedding. You need to choose a place where you’re going to host your wedding. Go online, do some research and then, if you have a couple places in mind, physically go and check them out before booking them. Make sure they fit your budget and are a variety of different sizes, and be sure to look at what each venue includes in the price. Don’t feel like you have to put money down and secure a place at this point, but it’s always good to have a list of favorites so if you secure a professional wedding planner, they can pick up where you left off, ask relevant questions to the venue staff, and negotiate on your behalf.
#10 // Get a wedding planner
No, you don’t actually need to hire one. Many brides plan their weddings on their own. BUT, not every bride is the same, with the same schedule, workload, organization level, money, and personality. You have to know yourself to make this decision.
Do you love tiny details? How much experience do you have keeping a lot of things moving at once? How much free time do you have? Remember, hiring a professional doesn’t mean you can’t do it yourself, it means you’d prefer not to. For a lot of brides, it makes wedding planning a lot more enjoyable, because they can reserve themselves for inspiration, decision making, and bonding, leaving the rest to the pro’s
#11 // Get inspired
With Instagram and Pinterest, you can go wild and look through thousands of different wedding themes, dresses, floral arrangements, etc. Save the images you like on a Pinterest board, or even on a file on your computer. It’s best to keep everything in one place, that way, you can start to see the theme of your wedding. If you’ve hired an wedding planner or designer, or you plan to later, this will help them to create your vision for your wedding day. You know what they say: “A picture is worth a thousand words.”
#12 // Decide on the wedding party
If you’re having bridesmaids and groomsmen, it’s time you started to think about who they’re going to be. Who’s the best man? Who’s the maid/matron of honor? How many are you going to have? These are all questions you need to have answered before you start asking people.
To make sure you’re not making snap decisions, write down your list of desired bridesmaids, and come back to it in a month. If reading any of the names make you pause or second-guess, that’s a sign.
#13 // Start saving
Last but definitely not least! Start saving! Unfortunately, weddings are not cheap, so start a savings account just for your wedding. Put the money that you’ve saved up so far in there and don’t touch it unless you need to. Take small steps that work in your favor like setting up your direct deposit so a percentage of your paycheck goes into the wedding account without you noticing it or missing it. A separate account is by far the easiest way to keep a record of how much money you have and how much you’re spending.
Getting engaged is the fun part! It feels glorious to take the next step with the one you love, but now, it’s all about planning. It can feel overwhelming, but it’s all going to be okay! Just follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to your big day.
Natasha Ivanovic is a writer at Broomstick. Other than her love of writing, she loves reading, getting lost in nature and drinking a good cappuccino (it's not as easy to find as it sounds). She recently finished her post-graduate degree in forensic psychology but decided to stick with writing as her imagination always seems to get the best of her. Be like Natasha and apply to join the Broomstick blog team here.