CONGRATULATIONS! YOU'RE ENGAGED!
Woohoo! Awwww yeah! So excited for you and all that lies ahead for you and your fiance! (Yes, you have a FIANCE!)
When you get engaged, there will be a flood of excitement... and the pressure to start answering big questions you might not have the answers to yet. So what you should be doing when you say YES?!
1. Take a deep breath. And enjoy this moment!
You're engaged! This is a very exciting time for you both! You've said YES to spending the rest of your life with someone... and that is something worth celebrating! While there will be the millennial-reflex of wanting to instantly post to social media, just take a moment and BE.
2. Celebrate! Champagne and all!
If you haven't already, make plans to celebrate your engagement, just the two of you! Do something special, plan a fancy dinner and for heavens sake, pop some CHAMPAGNE!! Everything is more excited when a bubbly beverage is in hand and you can toast to your future together.
3. Tell your family and friends -- in person or over the phone!
Word of advice... CALL, SKYPE or GO SEE your immediate family and best friends, whenever possible. This is LIFE-ALTERING news!! It deserves to have personal attention, and you deserve to hear from those you love... and more importantly, they deserve to hear this special news right from you. While technology is easy to use, social media is not the most appropriate way to tell those closest to you. Save the Facebook status change and Instagram post for AFTER the VIP's have been notified of your awesome news!
4. Do not just "pick a date"!
While it is very temping to just look at the calendar and go "Voila! This date is perfect!", many wedding venues book up potentially 1 year in advance of the wedding date. Also, if you haven't started talking to your fiance about wedding vs. elopement, your wedding budget, etc.... just hold off a bit. Read more about our suggested wedding planning formula below!
5. Start talking to your fiance about wedding vs elopement.
Some people dream about their wedding day their whole lives. Especially the ladies! We know the kind of dress, the kind of flowers, maybe we even have our First Dance song picked out.... but don't forget, there is someone else who gets a say here! INCLUDE YOUR PARTNER FROM THE BEGINNING! Ask them about whether they envision a large, fun party or a small, intimate gathering... or maybe, just the two of you, maybe a few friends and an officiant to marry you on a beach somewhere. But please make sure you include your beloved... it's their "big day", too!
6. Money, money, money.... MONEY! Start talking.
One of the single most stressful parts of planning a wedding -- MONEY. Who will pay for the wedding? Will you and your fiance foot most of the bill (very common for milliennial weddings, ours included!), or will parents chip in or pay for it all? If someone else is paying, how much say do they get over the Big Day?
As you start to discuss a wedding budget, take what you *think* you want to spend, and increase it... by 30-100%. That is very likely a more accurate. If you think you're wanting to spend $15k on a wedding with 150 guests, it is far more likely, you'll end up in the $25-30k range, unless you cut a lot of corners.
Most bride and grooms do not yet have a realistic expectation on what the wedding will cost. So start making budgets now. Look at what you can afford. Who will be pitching in to help pay? And which expenses are the priority for you?
7. Insure your ring!
Make sure you insure your ring! If your man is already all over that, awesome! But chances are... this is still a very important To-Do. The average ring investment is anywhere from $2-6k. Rings are tiny pieces of jewelry, that can be accidentally misplaced, lost or even have a diamond that falls out due to a loose prong. My ring is covered now under our homeowners insurance, but you can likely add coverage through your homeowners insurance, renters insurance, umbrella policy or otherwise. Contact your insurance agent to find out the best way to cover your precious possession!
8. Prioritize the wedding planning
As you begin the wedding planning process, there will be 10,000 things you'll want to try to plan and book at once. Slow down, Bessie!! You don't have to build Rome in a day. Trust me! But it is helpful to prioritize your planning, and the following is a good formula for success:
Find your Venue and Set the Date ----- This will alleviate 90% of wedding stress!
Hire a wedding planner (if you want help!)
Choose your Photographer
Schedule Engagement Photos
Pick who will be in your Wedding Party
Begin working on your guest list
Find your wedding dress
Choose bridesmaids dresses
Contact your favorite floral designer
Pick suit/tux styles for purchase or rental
Choose your Videographer
Choose your Caterer
Find an officiant
Book your DJ
Taste and Order your cake or desserts
Finalize your linens/decor
Schedule gown fittings
Finalize guest count and catering choices
9. Go easy on the bridal magazines and Pinterest boards
One of the most fun (and stressful) parts of planning a wedding or elopement, is simply the INCREDIBLE amount of information and inspiration that is out there! And while buying or receiving your first bridal magazine sure is SUPER FUN!... don't get too wrapped up in it. Don't worry too much about "traditions" or what you're "supposed to do". This is your day, and the TWO OF YOU (yes, remember, your fiance is a part of all of this!) should be looking at ideas together. Set an idea and stick with it. Once you have your initial inspiration, step away from the Pinterest boards!! Trust me, it's fun to look, but it can definitely add to the stress... and this is supposed to be fun, right?! :-)
10. Remember that your marriage is far more important than any detail from your wedding day
This one is a biggie, friends. I'm ashamed to say that I had an argument with my calm-as-a-cucumber hubby the night before our wedding — because I was all wrapped up in the few details that weren't finished/ready/etc. In the end, my grandma totally found a place to sit without placecards and somehow we still got married without a fancy program that was misprinted…
Your wedding day or elopement is simply the formal occasion where you will promise to love, cherish, and be a faithful partner to your sweetheart, forever. You may be surrounded by family and friends, or it might be just the two of you and some witnesses. But your wedding vows are the most important part of your wedding day. Not the dress. Not the flowers. Not what color the fondant is on the cake.
No matter how you choose to celebrate, always keep your faith, your love and the health of your relationship at the center of all of your decisions. Weddings and elopements are joyous occasions.... and I wish you all the best in your planning process!