Welcome! Here are my top 10 things you need to do first after getting engaged. I have a special offer for you at the bottom.
1. Enjoy the moment!
This time is so special and goes by so quickly. Tell everyone and anyone about it. Yell it from the mountaintops, “I’m engaged!” And if you have ever needed a reason to get a manicure, this is it. You need some perfect nails to go along with that perfect ring because you will be showing it to everyone. Tell everyone about your fiancé (french accent required) and how excited you are to spend the rest of your life together. SOAK – IT – IN and just enjoy being engaged before you even think about planning a wedding.
2. Talk to Your Fiancé
When you are ready to start the wedding planning process, the first thing that you need to do is talk to your fiancé. Before expectations/opinions/good intentions are gently or not-so-gently suggested from outside sources you need to be on the same page. Remember, there is a wedding AND a marriage. One is an event, the other is a journey. Take time now to chat and save a lot of frustration down the road. You and your fiancé need to be on the same page focusing on what really matters to you both. Ask each other questions! When should we have the wedding? Where should the wedding be? Are we thinking of a small intimate beach wedding, or a big party with everyone we know? What do WE want? Focus on what matters and pick your battles.
3. Create a Budget
No one likes to talk about money. It can be, well, awkward. However, before you can really move forward with any of your wedding plans, this is a discussion that has to be had – this will likely include you, your fiancé, and your parents. The answer to the budget question will determine so many factors you will have to consider for your wedding day like the venue, guest list, bridal party size, wedding dress, etc.
4. Determine the season you want to get married
This will play a factor (indoor, outdoors, beach, church, etc). Planning a beach wedding during hurricane season has some risks, so just plan for it.
5. Work on your guest list
Your budget is going to dictate a lot of this part. If parents are financially helping with the wedding, I would make it a courtesy to ask them who they would like to include at your wedding. Better yet, even if you’re paying for the wedding yourselves, it’s a good idea to get the families together and talk about the guest list so there are no surprises. Traditionally, the couple splits the guest list with each getting half.
And then it’s time to crunch the numbers. It’s not glamorous, but there is a monetary figure you really can’t avoid. Each guest adds to the number of plates your caterer will prepare, favors, chair rentals and how much cake you’ll need. We recommend choosing a number that’s smaller than your venue’s capacity. Later, if there’s room in the budget, you can add on at a later time (just don’t make it the day before the wedding).
A general rule to remember, about 20% of the guest list will decline to attend. This is either due to circumstances surrounding pregnancies, illness, or travel. And out of those who RSVP “yes!” about 5% will end up not showing up. It just happens.
6. Choose a Wedding Venue
Your wedding venue is a huge factor in a lot of your wedding decisions. Is it indoor or outdoor or both? If it’s outdoor, is there a backup plan for inclement weather? How many people can it hold? Where is it located? Can Grandma and Grandpa physically get up the aisle? These are all things to consider. Now that you have your budget figured out and a guest list, you can start looking for a place that has all of your needs and hopefully all of your wants. Here are a number of things to consider when looking for a wedding venue: Location, Capacity, Availability, Layout, Rates, Restrictions, Parking/Transportation, Facility Extras, Catering, Bartending, and Rentals. If you have people traveling to your wedding also consider hotel accommodations. Site visits are a great way for you to see the possibilities for your decor. Is the venue naturally beautiful and therefore, would require less decor? Or does it need some extra pizzazz and additional (costly) inspiration?
7. Choose your Bridal Party
Take a note from Marie Kondo and invite those who bring you joy (include family if you can). I would not recommend contacting your bridal party immediately after getting engaged. Take some time to think through your list and think through expectations for them. For your Maid/Matron of Honor and Best Man be sure to pick someone responsible.
Just a reminder, that more isn’t necessarily merrier. If you want 12 bridesmaids and 12 groomsmen at your wedding, then there needs to be a place or an opportunity for all of you to get ready and have your photo taken. Like, all in one spot. Is there space at your venue for this? This will add time to your photography timeline. Can you afford 12 bouquets and 12 boutonnieres? Can you afford the stress of dealing with 24 people and all of their questions, comments, and personalities? It’s just something to consider.
Once your date and venue are booked it’s time to start reaching out to other vendors. I’m a little biased but reaching out to your photographer should be your next step. Get engagement photos taken so you can send out save the dates.
Other vendors you need to contact – Hair & Makeup, Floral, Catering, DJ/Band, Videographer, Officiant, Wedding Cake, Rentals
9. All the Pretty Details
Details to include in your planning process – your wedding dress, jewelry, shoes, cake topper, thank you gifts.
10. Wedding Planner
If all of this is sounding a little overwhelming (and there’s certainly a lot going on here) then reach out to a wedding planner. They have resources for all of the above and can often save you time and money.
If you’ve made it this far I want to give you a special offer. I have a list of some wonderful venues where I’d LOVE to shoot in Hattiesburg and Jackson, MS. Simply click below to view the offer.
Mississippi Photographer serving Mississippi, Alabama and the panhandle of Florida.
It’s my joy as a photographer to give you classic images that you will be proud the years to come!
Nothing overly posed, stiff, or easily “dated” but a reflection of who you are and how you felt on your wedding day. Looking back you will be so proud of who you are and who you have become together.