1. Tell your loved ones first! The best way to avoid hurting anyone’s feelings is to make sure they learn of your engagement from you and not the barista at your local coffee shop. Unfortunately, this is becoming harder and harder to do with every second of everyone’s lives being captured on social media. Likely your fiancé will be recording the act or have plans to post about the deed on social media. And if not you guys, the neighbor in the next booth probably already live streamed the whole thing. It’s a crazy time we’re living in! But seriously, do not forget to call those closest to you and give them the good news yourself. Your closest friends and family have probably been waiting just as long as you have to get a ring on your finger! Well, maybe not AS long, but they still deserve a special call.
2. Plan a romantic date night out. After you have made any announcements and celebrated with your loved ones, plan some quiet time for just you and your fiancé. Chances are after you said yes you were thrown into a whirlwind of emotions, questions, plans, and outright panic! Most couples never get the chance to sit down and just reflect on what’s most important. Your love. Plan a romantic night for just you and your honey to enjoy being in love with each other. No wedding planning, no talking about what you did or didn’t like about the proposal, just soak it up. Hold hands, steal kisses, gaze at each other and enjoy that you two have found forever in each other.
3. Don’t forget to say thank you. As crazy as this seems, don’t forget to thank your partner. Not just for picking out the perfect ring, but for taking the time to show you that you are loved. When someone decides to propose there is usually a lot of thought and plans that go into the process. They are under pressure to find the perfect ring, they want to make sure the mood is just right, and they want to add enough personal touches to show you how much they adore who you are. This type of love and planning deserves a thank you. And if you feel the same way about them, then you are saying thank you for choosing me.
4. Set a budget! I cannot stress how important this is. A marriage is priceless, but a wedding cost money, honey! Until you actually sit down and start looking up things, people have no idea what a wedding costs. I am here to say that things can get expensive! This, of course, will depend on many factors from size, location, style, date, etc.…but as a rule of thumb be prepared to spend. The best way to prepare for a wedding and to ensure you get good quality for what you want and need is to set a budget and have a plan. Decide who is paying and what they are paying for. Take into consideration any gifted items from family or other money that will be contributed from outside of you and your fiancé. Having a solid budget will help you when deciding the level of a wedding you will be having as well as helping you to not overspend. It will also be a guiding factor as you interview venues and vendors. If it doesn’t fit in the budget move on! Practicing this method will help you stay realistic about the plans and stay on budget.
5. Find your venue first and worry about the date later. I know, this felt like a curse word just writing it, but trust me this is the way to go! I know most planners will tell you to first pick a date and then fill in the blanks. But in my experience picking the venue will allow all other details to fall into place without stress. Don’t stress yourself out about a date you have in your mind because maybe the right venue isn’t available that day, maybe the flowers you want are offseason at that time. Then you spend 3 months online looking at linen and centerpieces not knowing what the venue will look like. Choosing the venue first helps avoid tablecloths that clash with the walls and drapery. Select the space and create an event around that. That is how you set a mood! Also, since the venue is often the largest cost getting that nailed down will help navigate the rest of the budget and plans. If you know your venue is providing linen and china that is less time and money you have to invest in those areas.
6. Get off of Pinterest!! As soon as you get engaged it’s the first place you want to run, and I know it’s a magical place where all things are right and good with the world, but it can be a HUGE distraction from planning your wedding. I cannot tell you how many Brides start off with such clean ideas for their big day and by the time we are 3 months out we have had 6 different color changes and mashed together 3 different themes. There are just simply too many ideas on Pinterest to keep a Bride sane. If you must go on to find inspiration go in with a plan. know what you are looking for, search for it, choose 4 different styles or ideas and then log out! Trust me, this will help save you time and energy and ensure you are creating a clear and uniform design for your big day. And my goodness, how many different up do’s can there really be!!!!
7. Do the couples counseling. Even if you decide to have a long engagement, the counseling is well worth it and one of the top things my past clients say they wish they had done. I like to call it couples counseling rather than marriage counseling because I think couples should first learn how to communicate and work through problems before marriage and not just in preparation for marriage. I know we all have that image in our head of two scared kids sitting in a Pastor's office being told what is right and wrong for their relationship, but that is the old way of thinking and counseling can be so much more than that. The reality is that most couples these days already live together and because of that I think they don’t feel counseling necessary, but especially during wedding planning, things tend to get stressful for couples. I know it shouldn’t be that way, but couples get stressed and tend to fight more about everything from money to who’s parent’s will host an engagement party. It’s the perfect time to sit down with a neutral party and discuss your plans for the future since a lot of this will come out during wedding planning. How will finances work in the relationship, how many children do you each have in mind, are there any deal breakers you should know about now? Counseling throughout the life of a relationship can be beneficial for the longevity of a marriage. So, whether your place of worship offers counseling or if it’s just you two talking open and honestly to a neutral family friend, communication is key and will help you survive wedding planning and beyond!