You found the love of your life, you got the ring of your dreams, and now the shock and surprise is starting to wear off and you’re wondering what to do next. As happy and excited you are, it can be really overwhelming to think, okay. This is it. I’m planning my wedding now.
After I realized that my husband, Westin, was The One, I started thinking about what my wedding day might look like. I had so many ideas and design elements that I loved, but when he actually popped the question, even I – a wedding planner! – was left in a state of dreamy limbo, wondering how to move forward and narrow it all down. I’ve worked with clients from “will you?” to “I do” a million times, but it all seemed so new and different and overwhelming when it was actually my wedding to plan!
So what did I do? I poured a glass of champagne (or two, or three…) and made a list, and then I started working down it, step by step. For any newly engaged couples out there, congratulations, and here’s my advice for how to start the craziest, most fun, most overwhelming, happiest process of your lives.
Step One: Share the news with your loved ones – and not on social media!
When you get engaged, tell your closest family and friends personally, whether it’s in person or on FaceTime. Chances are they’ve seen this moment coming and they’re going to be overjoyed by hearing about it from you – not by seeing it on social media. You don’t want your sweet Aunt Imogen finding out about your engagement the same way your 4th grade summer camp roomie does!
Step Two: Get your ring sized.
If the engagement was a surprise or if you hadn’t gone to try on rings with your SO, you’ll need to take your ring in to get it properly sized. You don’t want it flying off your hand every time you show it off – which is about to be all the time! And while you’re at the jeweler…
Step Three: Get your ring appraised and insured.
It’s not fun or glamorous, but you know what’s even worse? Losing it and not getting the money back to replace it! It’s easy to add your ring to whatever policy you already have for home, auto, renter’s, etc, but be sure and check with your insurance broker to find the best policy for you and to see what paperwork is required.
Step Four: Set a date – even if it’s not official.
Everyone is going to ask when the big day is, as if you’ve already planned the whole wedding prior to your engagement, so be ready with an answer – even a vague one! Westin and I took a solid month to officially pick a date based on availability of our venue, but in the meantime our answer was, “spring of 2019.” That was a good enough answer to tide people over until we put our deposit down on the venue and set it in stone. And remember: your date isn’t official until your venue is booked!
Step Five: Be a responsible adult.
It’s definitely not fun, but you need to at least start talking about a workable budget and your priorities with your wedding – BEFORE you fall down the Pinterest rabbit hole! Figure out how much you can spend, who else is contributing, what your approximate guest count will be, and what aspects of the wedding you want to devote the most money to. Do you care a lot about flowers but not as much about your attire? Are you and your fiance big foodies but not big drinkers? Figure these things out so that you know what your price range is for each vendor and you don’t start out at the top of your budget for everything. That’s a sure way of disappointing yourself in the end!
Step Six: Hire a planner!
Not that I’m biased or anything, but having a planner from the get-go will start you off – and keep you – on the right track. Most couples realize late into the planning process that they’re going to need help, but when you have someone there from the beginning, you’ll have guidance on EVERYTHING. Someone firmly rooted in and knowledgeable about the wedding industry will be able to help you create a realistic and workable budget, advise you on things to look for in a venue (it’s not just about how pretty it is!), and help you narrow down vendors that fit your style and budget. While you’re enjoying the excitement and the fun of the planning process, your planner will be behind the scenes, working hard to make your day absolutely perfect.
Step Seven: Take a break!
You’re just about to start the wedding planning marathon, so even though you’re excited beyond words, take a few days to relax. Go out on a date. Pop a bottle of champagne. Celebrate with your friends, post your ring selfies, and relax on the couch with some wedding magazines. Enjoy this calm before the (fun!) storm – there’ll be more than enough going on to keep you busy very, very soon!