I just got Engaged, What do I do Now?
This is the single most asked question I get. Most often the question comes before the celebrating has even ceased. Whether this is your first wedding or your last, let us help you navigate the Top 5 Things to Do Now.
1. Continue the Celebration
Don't rush to planning. If there was ever a time to enjoy the moment, this is it. You will get bombarded with well wishers and family offering to help, asking for the plan, and giving you tons of unsolicited advice. Politely tell them that you are still soaking in the moment and will let everyone know when you are ready to start the planning process.
This is honestly the hardest piece of advice that I can give to you. You want to bust out your wedding notebook and go Monica all over the place, but slow down. Once you decide on your date everything will seem to resolve around the wedding, so take this reprieve for a good week or two and stare at your ring, call everyone in the family, drink some champagne and remember this feeling of excitement. Maybe start a journal to keep those memories fresh.
2. Talk to your Fiancé
Before you trample ramrod right through the plans, sit down and talk about what is important to each of you. You may care about the ceremony above all, and your fiancé wants to celebrate and cares more for the reception. Write out the things that are most important to each of you and be sure that you don't discount anything. Your wedding should be a reflection of each of you and the life you will build together, so practice the art of compromising now.
I once had a bride tell me that her husband really wanted to incorporate Star Wars into the wedding, but she wasn't having it. After much coaxing, we surprised him and had the Imperial March play as they entered the reception for their initial entry. It didn't change anything in the grand scheme of things, but he loved it and she learned to give a little.
Besides learning to compromise, your visions for your wedding day need to feel a bit like a good business model. When you start a business you want to have your Mission Statement be the prevailing force of all of your decisions. The same is true for your wedding day. If you truly know what you both want, you will be able to filter all the suggestions thrown out you through the filter of your vison. This is when you want to decide on the season you want to get married in, dates that are important to you both, holidays you want to work around and colors that you both love. If you get really into it, create a Mood Board on Canva to hold all your thoughts and ideas. But know what you both want before trying to plan anything.
3. Decide on your Budget
Too many times I ask a couple what their budget is and they cannot tell me. This is absolutely the most important step in any plan. I cannot know what to help you with if you don't know what your budget is. Once you have your big number, decide on how you want to split that up? Will 50% go to your venue? There is a great article at https://www.brides.com/story/wedding-budget-guide-allocating-funds-staying-on-track that will help, but I like to use this diagram as well...
4. Decide on your Guest List
Now, if you have successfully created your wedding vision with your fiancé this part should be easier. Sit down with your families and be practical about who should be invited. If your wedding day vision is a small and intimate wedding in a garden, then you might want to put a cap of 50 on the guest list. If you both want to a big barn wedding, then go to town. I will warn you though, this is the area that tends to cause the most friction in families. Hold firm to your vision and if you need to, give both sides of the family a guest allotment. If mom only has 25 guests that she can choose, she might not feel the need to invite her entire book club.
5. Choose your Venue
Now, it is possible that you want to flip-flop number 4 and 5 and that is perfectly acceptable. If you already have a location set in your heart and you want that location no matter what, get it and let their room capacity be your deciding factor for the guest list. It is nice to be able to say, "Sorry, our venue is maxed out at 75." But, if you haven't picked one, do it now. Let me tell you though, October weddings are the first ones to get snatched up, so if you have your heart set on an outdoor fall wedding, find your venue and put the deposit down. I will go into more detail on venue selection in my next blog, but make sure you take into consideration wheelchair accessibility if your Gigi needs that. Are there a ton of steps leading down to the alter? Do you want to bring in your own caterer and bar? Do you want a venue that is all-inclusive? Get a list together of your Must Haves, Want to Have, and Don't Wants.
This should get you through the first couple of months of planning. Relax and enjoy the process. My last bit of advice before you go is this; put a weekly date night on the calendar. Do not talk wedding at all! I repeat: DO NOT TALK WEDDING. The wedding can become all-consuming, and you need a time that is just for you to remember why you are doing this in the first place. Have fun, and remember that I am around if you need any help!