Here are the three things that you should do once you get engaged to make your life less overwhelming.
First thing, Congratulations!
Let the wedding planning process begin. But, the good news is that you don't need to do it alone. If your best friends are making you confused and you can determine what to take seriously on social media then the first step is to read this blog. The best thing to do for the first few weeks or months is to just enjoy the moment. Enjoy being engaged. Show off your ring and be happy. If people start to go up to you and ask you, do you have a date? do you have a venue in mind? what are your colors? how many bridesmaids are you having? or they start soliciting their thoughts and saying, you HAVE to hire this vendor and this vendor because they were amazing at my wedding. Just tell them you have it under control and when you get there and are ready to share you will. Here are the first three things you should do once you get engaged.
Time to pick your date.
Pick a date for your wedding, but don’t just pick one day. Pick two dates and possibly a third option. The worst is scheduling an appointment with a venue only to find out your date has been taken. When my wife and I were looking for venues, we picked our date first, and then we contacted at the time our dream venue. We scheduled a tour. We drove 2 hours to the venue and when we got there the wedding coordinator for the venue asked us if we had a date when we told her 10/10/2020 she smiled at us and say, "sorry but that date is already taken." I still remember the smug look she gave us. Made me a little upset that she thought it was funny. We then asked, well what dates do you have. "Oh, well we only have one date left for 2020 and it's in December." Our hearts sank and we felt defeated because by this time we had spent weeks looking for possible venues online. So, by having multiple date options, if the venue is already booked for your big day, you will have other options to pick from. Suppose you are thinking of a destination wedding. In that case, contacting a wedding planner in that area might be wise in this situation since they will be able to contact the venues on your behalf and ensure that all the essential things you are looking for are included, such as your date. But, when picking a date, start with a season, not the wedding date. Start big and work in as this will be easier for you to come to a compromise if a specific date is already taken for a specific venue. For example, if you pick Fall, then if October 22nd is taken and the date has no significance, choose another weekend in and around October 22nd for your dream wedding. Pro-tip, if you are trying to keep the price down, some venues have special pricing during non-peak wedding months, such as Winter. My wife and I booked our venue for half the price because it was outside the peak wedding months. Decide if you want an indoor wedding or an outdoor one if you're going to the traditional wedding route. If you're having an Adventure Elopement, just decide if you want to be cold, wet, or hot.
Time to pick your venue.
By this point, you should know if you are having a traditional wedding or an Adventure Elopement. If you decide on a Traditional Wedding, you should also see if you want an indoor wedding venue or an outdoor venue. This part is essential because it will cull the list of venues you need to contact or consider for your big day. At this point, it might be wise to think about how many people you will consider having at your wedding. You do not need a guest list just yet, but a rough idea will help again cull the list down as the venue has a guest capacity. For this step, I might spend a little time going over which family members, close friends, and even the size of your wedding party you must have, and I say must have very loosely because, at the end of the day, the only people that need to be there is you and your partner.
If you need to cut the list down, a good thing to consider is who are the family members and the closest friends that will keep you accountable for your commitment to your partner. This is what marriage is all about, committing to your partner, not showing off your bridal body, your engagement ring, or how grand you can make your wedding.
Distance. Consider the distance the venue will be from your nearby airport, hotels, or your family in town if you plan to marry in a neighboring town or a destination. By this point, I would say a list of top 5 venues is a safe bet that you will land one of them. With your five venues, check out their wedding website for common questions or FAQ page as this will tell me a lot of information, such as do they provide tables and chairs? Do they allow alcohol, and if so, do they allow hard alcohol? Are they a weekend venue, meaning do you have it booked for the entire weekend or just on the day of the wedding? This is important because it will determine when you can set up for the wedding and need to break down and clean up. Otherwise, you'll likely delegate this task to your fiance, his groomsmen, best man, or a day of coordinator. Another thing to check is if they have a full-service kitchen or prep kitchen and they allow you to bring your own vendors or do you have to pick from a list of approved vendors they have?
Time to pick your photographer.
Your photographer should be next to book as soon as you have a date or venue because they can be booked up to three years in advance. The best thing is that you find a photographer to photograph the wedding of your dreams as you see it. A good photographer will ask you, “ what do you envision for your wedding day”? They will pay as much attention to details as possible. Your wedding photographer should be able to photograph your wedding so that the images are beautiful for the following years and not just during a fad that will fade in a year or two.
Do you need photography coverage for the whole wedding? Ask yourself that questions. If the answer is yes, then book your wedding photographer for 6 to 10 hours. An excellent way to figure this out is by asking the following questions: do you want to get ready photos? That is about a 2-hour coverage because the photographer will arrive at the location you're getting ready at. While there, they will photograph all the details such as your shoes, rings, veil, dress, invitation suite, and the atmosphere that is your getting ready room with your maid of honor and bridesmaids. They will photograph you putting on your dress and your mom or maid of honor helping you button or zip it up. Then you'll have time to photograph yourself and your bridesmaids. At this time, the photographer will also have a second photographer if you booked one, or they will have to go to where your fiance is getting ready for photos of him. The good news is that getting ready photos for men are much shorter and can be done in 15 minutes. Next, is to ask yourself if you want a lot of coverage during the ceremony? Do you want to make sure the cake cutting is photographed? How about speeches, first dance, mother and son dance, father and daughter dance, bouquet toss, garter toss, and open dancing. I like to tell my couples that they don't need 1-2 hours' worth of photos of people dancing. Thirty minutes is all you need to tell the story that people were dancing. Plus, most dancing enthusiasm ends after 30 minutes because people get tired. So you can work backward and see if 6 hours is enough or is eight more reasonable.
The last thing to think about is engagement photos. First, this is an excellent thing to do to get comfortable going in front of a camera with your photographer. Two, you can use this time to do a test run on makeup. Third, you can use these photos to save the dates. If you take it a step further and plan a destination engagement, you can make it into a bit of mini-vacation or an engagement party and invite the bridal party or just keep it romantic with you two. I have had couples say to me that their engagement session was one of the most fun days of their lives. I have even had couples tell me that other than their wedding photos, their engagement photos are the favorite photos they have ever taken. Part of this is because, in a world of social media, your friends and followers get tired of seeing wedding photo posts pretty quickly, especially if they were not invited to the wedding, but engagement photos do not get the same treatment because more people can relate to those images over bridal portraits.
There it is. I hope this blog post helps highlight the important things you as an engaged couple should do and gave you a good idea of the different things to consider. There is so much information out there and the first days of your engagement should be a great time. So take share those ring selfie photos of your gorgeous engagement ring, share the love of your life, your new fiancé, and enjoy this special day.
I hope this list of the top 3 things you should do once you get engaged was helpful and cleared up some confusion or made this process less overwhelming. If you need further resources, I have wedding planning guides, an engagement guide, and some timeline templates for you to download. And I would love to hear about your wedding day vision.
Again thank you again for reading.