Updated: Sep 24, 2020
Let's talk about the big things that you should be doing in the first days and weeks of your engagement.
First off, congratulations on your engagement! So what do you do now that your significant other finally popped the question? Let’s start out with some key things to set yourself up for success and a (mostly) smooth planning process.
Take time to celebrate and enjoy the next step in your relationship
This one should be easy! Have fun, be excited, and remember your fiancé most likely asked you to marry them because they are excited to be with YOU, not plan a wedding... but alas it’s part of the process. Try to not to get too caught up in the planning details just yet!
Tell close family and friends IN Person if you are able
We know you’re beyond excited to share, but before you post that Facebook status or Instagram for all to see, try and tell your parents, grandparents and your closest friends first! They are always going to appreciate finding out in person (or on a personal call!) instead of over a text or from the social media post that you are engaged.
Get your nails done (or do your nails if you’re balling on a budget!) so you can get that perfect ring pic for social media
Self explanatory, and obviously very important.
Take time with your partner to discuss the most important things to each of you and decide on the big picture things
Location: Where do you want to get married? Do you want a local wedding? Destination wedding? Or are you eloping?
Budget: Consider what you can realistically afford between the two of you. Recognize that it is becoming more and more common for couples to foot the bill primarily on their own. Depending on what your wedding vision is, this might mean you decide to have a longer engagement so you have more time to save for your dream wedding. Now is also the time to reach out to each set of parents to see if they have any plans to contribute financially as well. It is important to know exactly what you are working with budget-wise right from the get go!
Approximate guest list: Start by sitting down and creating a “must have” list including close friends and family from both you and your fiancé. If either sets of parents are providing financial help, you may want to consider asking for their must have list as well. From there, draft a secondary list of those you would love to have there to celebrate if your budget and venue selection allows it. You can narrow it down further later, but this helps you get an idea of how big of a venue and budget you'd need to make your dream day happen.
How involved each of you want to be in decision making: Sit down and have a discussion on what is most important to each of you about your wedding day. This is also a great time to set expectations on who is responsible for what. I’ve gotta say - your fiancé might surprise you with what they want to be involved in! Ali’s hubby really wanted to pick out their first dance song, and she never would have thought he would have cared about that!
Create a separate email for wedding related things
Let us tell you - you will thank yourself later for doing this. Having a separate wedding email makes it easy to keep all your vendor communication and contracts in one place. It also prevents you from getting stuck on a zillion email lists and getting overloaded on your personal email after you attend a wedding fair or sign up for a bunch of wedding mailing lists.
Attend a wedding fair
A wedding fair is a great place to start wrapping your head around what you want and the vendors that are out there in your area. It also makes for a great outing with a friend or family member! Get those matching shirts and bride sashes ready!
Finally, if you are looking to get married in a year or less get some big ticket vendors booked.
In Minnesota, this would be your venue and photographer. It's not uncommon for venues in Minnesota to be entirely booked at least one year in advance. This also goes for popular photographers. Do your research, read reviews on multiple forums, and start booking these vendors.
One of the worst things you can do is set yourself up for difficult and uncomfortable situations down the road as your wedding date gets closer. We know you are so, so excited to tell your BFF’s that they are going to be in your wedding or your co-workers that “of course they are invited!” before you consider if you can actually invite them.
Don’t ask your bridal party right away
Our suggestion is to wait until you are about one year out from your wedding date before you officially ask anyone to be a part of your bridal party. This A) gives you time to come up with a fun and creative way to ask them (if that's your vibe!) and B) prevents you from making some potentially impulsive choices on who you ask to stand next to you. You are probably thinking “Well, I know I’m asking my BFF Becky, no matter what!” Great, cool, but do that a year out from your wedding. Becky is still going to be there and be your BFF, regardless if you ask her now or a year out from your date. So, take some time to consider who you really want standing by you on your big day. It might be 2 people, it might be 10. Ask the people who are genuinely excited to be part of this process with you, every step of the way.
Don’t tell people they are going to be invited to your wedding
It's so easy to quickly tell acquaintances, co-workers, neighbors, your BFF Becky’s uncle, and your extended family that they will be invited to your wedding. In reality, it's unlikely that you can actually invite every person you and your fiancé have had a connection with in the past 5,10, 20+ years of your lives. This is why it is important to get a guest list figured out in the first few weeks of your wedding planning.
Remember to enjoy the process. This isn’t meant to be stressful! Your engagement flies by, so take it one step at a time and soak it all in!
PIN IT & Come back later!