Congrats, you’re engaged!!! I’m sure you are over the moon about your engagement and so excited to start planning your wedding, and I’m here for it! But before we do that, let’s have a cup of coffee and take a look at these 5 helpful tips on what to do after you get engaged.
Sit back and enjoy - Everyone is guilty of getting so excited that they rush right into planning their wedding immediately. It’s an exciting time, I get it! I know when I get engaged I’ll definitely do the same, so no judgement here, but what I do want to warn you is that once you put it out into the world that you’re planning your wedding, you can’t take it back. No do-overs. No pause button. The endless questions will begin: what’s your date, where’s your venue, what are your colors, where will you go dress shopping...it goes on and on. So when you get engaged, take a minute to sit back and enjoy this time with your fiance. The wedding planning can wait, I promise! Bask in your newly engaged status and save the wedding planning for next week. Or next month. Or a few months. The choice is yours!
Start with your budget - When you are ready to start planning your wedding, the first thing you need to do it talk about the moolah. This is one of the most important steps of planning a wedding and although talking about money can be awkward, you have to do it. You don’t want to get stuck planning a 50k wedding and then realize you only have a 20K budget and have to totally start over. Have that initial convo with your fiance about how much you both want to spend and take that wedding budget as your starting point. Next step, talk to your parents. I know a lot of you probably don’t want to put the burden on your parents but take a second and consider all the pieces they will want to be involved in: inviting guests, including traditions, helping make choices, and so on. Giving money to help you make this big day a reality is part of those choices and it’s worth talking to them about. Another option that I certainly am not endorsing but want you to know about is that you can also take out a personal loan or credit card to help pay for your wedding. This might sound scary when you first hear it and I certainly don’t want you to put yourself in a bad financial state, so take this suggestion seriously! Opening a new credit card can get you all sorts of bonuses and points that you can use toward your wedding or the rest of your life together. Even if you have the cash on hand to pay for things, it’s not a bad idea to rack up those points and get some honeymoon travel miles! Like I said, don’t do this willy-nilly and definitely have a conversation with your fiance to figure out if this is a good option for you. So the long and short of it is, have that wedding budget discussion FIRST so you know what you’re working with. Here in Southern California, the starting budget for most of my weddings in the Inland Empire, Temecula, and Palm Springs is $25-$35K, so keep that in mind as you have this convo!
Guest list - The next step you should take is drafting a guest list. You may think 50 is a lot of people but once you start putting names down, it fills up in a snap. Trust me, I know from experience. My sister and I once made a list of all the family we’d have to invite to either of our weddings and had 75 names down within minutes. And that’s just family! When you have a big, close family and lots of close friends like we do, it probably isn’t realistic to limit yourself to 100 people. For me, I’d probably plan around 175-200 people. This is an important number to have in mind since it affects not only your wedding budget but also your venue. My advice is to not look for a venue until you have a preliminary guest count and a budget (of course). Once you have even just a rough number in mind for both of those, you can move on to the next step.
Choose a venue - The great search for a perfect venue is probably one of the biggest choices of your wedding. Your venue sets the tone for your wedding and directly affects each choice you make, be it decor, flowers, music, or dress code. If you want a themed wedding, try picking a venue that fits in with your theme to set the tone. For example, if you’re looking to have a nautical themed wedding, try a waterside location to really bring out those sea-faring details. Aside from the physical aspects of the venue, you want to make sure it can accomodate the details that are most important to you. I want my future wedding to go until the early hours of the morning, so for me, finding a venue that allows a party all night is important. Others may want a loud rocking dance party, so you’ll need to ask about noise ordinances and make sure you follow the laws in your area. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! It’s an important decision and you should have all the information you need before you choose.
Attend a bridal expo - There are so many bridal shows and expositions in Southern California and you should definitely take advantage of them. The professionals that come to these expos are full of tips and ideas that you might not have thought of on your own. Bonus, you don’t have to pay for a consultation or set up an appointment when you attend an expo, so it’s really a win-win! Some venues even hold their own bridal shows that you can attend, and the benefit to that is they always fill them with their favorite top-notch vendors. Choosing your wedding vendors from a list of people your venue has worked with is always a good idea, since they will only present the people that they have had great experiences with. Take this opportunity to throw on your “Bride” sash and ask your bridal party to follow you around and help you take notes while you pepper vendors with questions. It’s the perfect time to flex that bride power and get your besties to help you out!
These are some of my tried and true ideas on what to do after you get engaged. If you have any questions or comments about anything I’ve discussed today, I’d love to hear from you! Drop me a comment and I’m happy to get into the wedding planning process with you. Happy planning! And congrats again!