Life Update: I GOT ENGAGED! Ya girl said yes and now it’s onto wedding planning! Maybe you’re also engaged and now you’re questioning what happens next. If so, congratulations!! Getting engaged is an exciting milestone in your life. It’s the beginning of a new journey with your partner and a time to celebrate your love. However, it can also be overwhelming with all the planning and decision-making involved. Here are some tips on what to do after you get engaged (and what not to do):
- What to Do After Getting Engaged
- 1. Take some time to celebrate!
- 2. Have an initial conversation with your partner about expectations for how you both want to get married.
- 3. Create a tentative draft of your guest list.
- 4. Set an *initial* budget
- 5. Decide on the three things that are most important to you for your wedding.
- 6. Make a Pinterest board or a mood board for your wedding!
- 7. Decide whether or not you want to hire a wedding planner.
- 8. Create a wedding email.
- 9. Get premarital counseling.
- What Not to Do After Getting Engaged
What to Do After Getting Engaged
1. Take some time to celebrate!
You’re engaged! Congratulations! This is a very exciting time in your life. It’s also VERY busy. Take a few days, or even a week or two to relax with your love and soak in that newly-engaged feeling. Don’t forget to share the happy news with your loved ones! If you’re planning on having an engagement party, now is the perfect time to have one.
2. Have an initial conversation with your partner about expectations for how you both want to get married.
Are you eloping? Having a courthouse wedding? Hosting a small, intimate gathering with friends or a big bash with everyone you know and love? Destination wedding? These questions determine the scope of what you’re planning and make a huge difference when deciding on your budget.
My fiance and I made this into a date. We went out for boba and then had a heart to heart about our wedding expectations. I definitely think that this helped us a lot. We quickly realized that while we are on the same page for many topics, we have some very different ideas about getting married. For example, my fiance and I come from two very different cultural backgrounds (Chinese and American) and this has influenced the way both of us view weddings.
Here are some good questions to think about:
- What expectations do you have for your wedding?
- What expectations does your partner have for your wedding?
- What expectations do your parents and your partner’s parents have for your wedding?
- Note: I’m not saying you need to adhere to all or even any of them, but it’s good to at least know if you’re going against those expectations.
- Who do you want with you when you get married?
Again, this is a high level overview to make sure you’re on the same page. If you’re envisioning a small affair with less than 50 people, but your partner is looking to host a large party to celebrate with 300 people, you’re going to have a difficult time planning your event until you settle on something you’re both happy with.
3. Create a tentative draft of your guest list.
Now you may be asking, “shouldn’t we talk about budget first?” No. Your guest list determines so much of your wedding. I’m talking about potential venues, costs, location, etc.
During this step, you should also make sure that you’re writing this list out. Sometimes you may think that this group of friends is only ten people, but have you considered their spouses or dates? What about family? Parent’s friends?
You don’t need to know exactly who you’re going to invite, or who is getting a plus one. You don’t need to determine your tiers of guests (also known as guest list A, B, C, etc.). That can, and will be done later. This list just opens you up to possibilities and can be added to or slashed later on.
4. Set an *initial* budget
When thinking of what to do after you get engaged, this may be one item you’re tempted to skip over. However, this is one of the key items to do after you get engaged. Weddings, large or small, can be expensive. That’s why making a budget (and sticking to it) is so important. It’s so easy to get caught up in the moment or in your Pinterest dream board, that you can find yourself quickly over-budget if you’re not careful. Remember your three most important things!
Also, please note how above I said *initial* budget. Personally, I think this works best when you make your ideal budget first (this step). You can use this for when you’re looking for venues or getting quotes and filtering through possible vendors. However, I know I was surprised by some costs when I did my research. That’s why I think it’s good to go back and redo your budget later (if necessary), after you’ve received estimates from certain vendors. I’ll do a separate post on this later!
Here are some good questions to discuss:
- Who will be contributing to the wedding? Will you and your partner be paying for the entire thing?
- Note: If someone else is going to be contributing, that’s great! However, sometimes these contributions come with strings. Be prepared to discuss these with your partner. Common examples include parents wanting to add people to the guest list, stating what they want the money to be spent on, etc.
- What can you afford to spend on a wedding?
- Do you have any large expenditures coming up? If so, how do you plan on saving for both?
- How many people do you want to invite?
5. Decide on the three things that are most important to you for your wedding.
I cannot stress this enough. Decide on the three things that are most important to you for your wedding. This can range from your ceremony, entertainment, wardrobe, food, open bar, flowers, venue, stationary, etc. But soon you’ll be creating a budget and this list can help you decide where you want to allocate your money. Plus, eventually you’ll have to make some decisions about things to cut or cut back on unless you have unlimited resources and this list will remind you of its relative importance.
Compare your list to your partner’s list. Is there any overlap?
6. Make a Pinterest board or a mood board for your wedding!
Now is when it starts to get fun. You get to collect new ideas for your wedding! Personally, I’m a huge fan of mood boards, so that’s what I do, but at the very least, I’d create a *new* wedding pinterest board. The keyword there is new. So many of my friends and I started our wedding boards a long time ago and while it has some great ideas on it, my tastes have definitely changed from ten years ago.
Your tastes may change even as you plan your wedding. However, having a rough idea will help you get started in your vendor search!
You should also have your partner do the same thing or get their input on what you have on your mood board. After all, the day is about the two of you. If your partner doesn’t care or know what they like (my fiance definitely did not and had not interest in creating a mood board lol), I’d start by asking some of these questions:
- Do you want an indoor wedding, outdoor wedding, or both?
- What vibes/style are you going for?
- Ex: Modern, Classic, Traditional, Beachy, Romantic, Bohemian, Rustic
7. Decide whether or not you want to hire a wedding planner.
Wedding planners are awesome and can definitely help you plan your wedding and they’re a great resource to help you figure out what to do after you get engaged. However, it’s a service you have to pay for, so you should see if there’s space in your budget for one! They usually have different packages ranging from full service where you only have to be as involved as you want to and they plan it all, partial planning (varies depending on the planner), or day of coordination.
Wedding planners can help you search for venues, recommend vendors, read over contracts, etc. so the earlier they’re involved, the better!
Sometimes your venue will require one, provide one, or have a list to choose from. At the very least, budget permitting, I’d recommend getting a day of coordinator who can help you on the day manage your vendors and take care of the behind the scenes so you can focus on celebrating your love with your friends and family.
8. Create a wedding email.
Believe me, it’ll be so helpful to keep all wedding information in one place for you and your partner. This way you won’t have to search through your personal emails, shopping promotions, etc. to get to your vendor contracts.
9. Get premarital counseling.
Consider getting premarital counseling to help build a strong foundation for your marriage. My fiance and I did and we are so happy that we went through it. It asks a lot of questions that you might not have thought of and can help set expectations for your marriage so you know you’re on the same page.
What Not to Do After Getting Engaged
1. Don’t make hasty decisions.
Don’t rush into making decisions just because you’re excited. Take your time before making any major decisions such as setting a wedding date or choosing a venue.
2. Don’t compare your wedding to others’.
This is really hard. Between wedding tiktok, instagram, pinterest, etc. it’s so easy to go down the rabbit hole of comparison.
Your wedding should be a reflection of you and your partner, not someone else’s. Don’t feel pressured to follow trends or do what others have done!
3. *Bonus* Don’t make any promises!
This might sound weird, but let me explain. After you get engaged, people will start coming out of the woodwork to congratulate you and say things like “oh we can’t wait to go to your wedding!”
They might not even be invited. People will legit try and invite themselves to your wedding and once you start getting quotes in, you’ll see how EXPENSIVE weddings are and how much it is per head. Then you’ll try and cut your guest list.
So, you may choose to invite them, or you may not. But do yourself a favor and leave that choice open!
How Soon Should You Marry After Engagement?
The length of the engagement period varies from couple to couple. I know some people who got married within 5 months and others who waited 3 years. Some couples prefer a short engagement while others prefer a longer one.
Your ideal timing doesn’t have to be very specific, but it may impact your venue search. Your venue’s availability will also determine the specific date, but they will generally ask you for your preferred timing.
Things to consider when deciding how soon to get married after engagement::
- How long of an engagement would you ideally have?
- When you picture your wedding, does the season impact it?
- Ex: if you want to wear a long sleeved dress, maybe a July or August wedding isn’t the best timing. It may seem silly, but it’s something to consider.
- Does your work have really busy seasons where you wouldn’t want to be out? Or maybe one of you is a teacher so the summer or a holiday weekend makes more sense.
- Do you mind sharing your anniversary with a holiday or your birthday month?
- How tight is your budget? Weddings typically have a season (May – September, but varies by area) and getting married in the “off-season” can result in some serious savings.
What Parties Happen After Engagement?
Life is so exciting that you just want to celebrate! Luckily, there are several parties that can happen after you get engaged. Here are some of them:
- Engagement party
- Bridal shower – I wrote a blog post on how to plan a bridal shower on a budget. Check it out here!
- Bachelor/bachelorette party
Remember, your engagement period is a special time in your life. Don’t stress too much about the planning process and enjoy the journey with your partner. Happy planning! You’ve got this!