First things first: Congratulations!! You are engaged! This is a really big and important step in a relationship. Now, the next step will be to plan the wedding of your dreams. It’s happening! If you’re not quite sure where to start, we’ve got you covered. Here are seven things to do once you’re engaged.
1. ENJOY THE MOMENT
Your instinct might be to start planning immediately, but I recommend that you fight that instinct for a a minute. This is a moment where you and your partner have committed to spending the rest of your lives together—and that’s worth honouring and celebrating! Let it soak in for a bit as you will never be in this step of life with your partner again and this moment will go quickly.
If you have family members and friends inviting themselves, asking about your colour palette, trying to get you to confirm a date, or asking non stop questions about your plans and you are feeling overwhelmed with not having all the answers yet, here’s a phrase you can use: “Thank you so much for your kind words. We’re so excited about being engaged and are taking some time to enjoy this moment before we start planning.” This will give you some breathing room to enjoy the moment and create space to determine what YOU want to do for your celebration.
That said, these are ‘unprecedented times’ (my least favourite phrase currently!) and if you are hoping to get married in 2022 or even in 2023, I would highly recommend as soon as you have taken a minute to let this moment in, that you quickly move through the rest of these steps and lock in your wedding venue and wedding vendors. 2022 is estimated to be the busiest wedding season since 1984.
2. DETERMINE YOUR BUDGET
The next step is to figure out how much you are going to budget for your wedding. If you haven’t planned an event like this before, it can be hard to know what’s reasonable from a cost perspective. First, take a look at your savings and have a conversation around what you’d be willing to spend. And, if someone has offered to contribute to the wedding, talk to them frankly about their expectations so that you don’t have any misunderstandings down the road. With our clients, creating a budget that includes everything that is costing them money because they are getting married, is our very first step in the wedding planning process. Having a realistic budget to work with from the beginning will eliminate any surprises along the way and take away any unnecessary budget stress.
3. CREATE YOUR GUEST LIST
Hand in hand with determining your budget is creating the guest list for who you would like to invite to your wedding. This is a planning step that can be equal parts fun and stressful. I always tell my couples to start with the people they can’t imagine not being there, whether that’s family, really close friends, or a mentor that meant a lot to them as they were growing up (your non-negotiables). Then start having a conversation who you would love to have there if possible. You maybe in the situation that you have family members that will want to have input in creating the guest list with you and this is an important discussion to have early on to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Note: your budget will depend largely on the number of guests you have—so that will be an important consideration as you’re setting your numbers. One way to cut down costs if you’re thinking of a bigger wedding is having a wedding brunch or cocktail reception to bring down the costs of having a plated meal for every person. Also the time of day can impact your bar bill. We will share more ideas about this in a future post.
4. SET YOUR PRIORITIES
This is an important one. Take the time as a couple to figure out what the most important elements of the wedding are to you. Is it food? The guest experience? Photography? The design? Or infusing lots of personal details in the event? Having clarity around these things will help you make decisions down the road when you’re looking at venues, choosing decor, and mapping out the day.
5. CHOOSE YOUR VENUE
The venue will be the canvas on which you paint your wedding day. It needs to be appropriate for the number of guests you have in mind, align with your budget but it should also evoke the feelings you want to experience on your big day. As you’re looking at your options, consider visiting them during the time of day you’d want to have your ceremony to get a true sense of what the backdrop will be when you say “I do.” If you are looking for a Vancouver Wedding Venue, we have some suggestions here.
Then, and only then, do I recommend you choose a date. This may sound counterintuitive, but if you lock yourself into a specific date, you risk losing out on the perfect venue. This is particularly the case as we navigate this “new normal” coming out of the pandemic and more and more people are celebrating their weddings.
6. LOCK IN YOUR CREATIVE TEAM
With a date and venue set, you’ll be ready to start booking the different vendors for your big day. Start by selecting the people that can only work on one wedding day at a time—and therefore have more limited availability. This includes your planner if they are not on board already, photographer, officiant, videographer, caterer, and perhaps music. Then you can go into more of the details, choosing your hair and make up artist, florist, cake designer, and stationary provider and so on.
7. SHARE YOUR WEDDING DATE
Once the planning is in motion, it’s time to start telling your guests. This is especially important if you are planning on getting married in 2022 and 2023 as it will be a busy social year and you want to ensure your VIPs are saving your wedding date. Choose your save the dates and get them out to your guests as soon as possible. Our recommendation is to send out the save the date about a year out from the wedding date. A wedding website can also be a useful tool here, sharing details such as the location of the ceremony and reception, local places to stay, and the guest registry, if you have one. It is a good idea to include the link to your wedding website on your save the date.
I hope this is helpful and you now know where to start now that you are engaged, just remember, enjoy this moment and that you got this!
Engaged and looking for some help? We’d love to chat with you about how we could help bring your wedding to life. Get in touch.