When You’re Engaged

Wedding planning can be very intimidating! But, it doesn’t have to be. Start the process off easy by tackling these eight simple steps.

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  1. Announce Your Engagement
    Decide if you want to share the news with your parents and closest friends before anyone else. Then, share the glorious news with the world! things-to-do-after-engagement-4S1_6330
  2. Start Dreaming
    Make a trip to the nearest magazine rack and purchase each wedding rag on the shelf. Start tearing out sheets or dog-earing pages to your heart’s content. At this point, the sky is the limit. Collect each concept, color-scheme and detail that grabs your attention. If your collection starts to become rather large, you can further organize it in terms of contents: dresses, cakes, uplighting, flowers, etc. Be sure to include your fiancé in on the planning. Let him own some of the day too. Talk about what style the two of you would enjoy most whether the backdrop is a ranch, beach, resort, mountaintop or ballroom. Don’t talk of money just yet.
  3. Set a Rough Budget
    How is your wedding being paid for? Are you going the traditional route and the parents of the bride are going to foot the bill? Are both sets of parents sharing equally in the costs? Or, are you and your finacé going to fund the celebration yourselves? However the wedding is being paid for, this is the time to decide a budget. No further plans can be made until a budget has been set. Be realistic with your budget. Don’t go into debt. This is a once in a lifetime event, but don’t start your marriage with your checkbook register in the red.things-to-do-after-engagement-4S2_3500
  4. Create Your Guest List
    Based on the budget you and your finacé have decided on and the sizes of your respective families and number of friends, come up with a ballpark number of guests you think you’ll end up inviting. The national average cost to feed each guest at the reception is about $63 and that doesn’t account for the wedding cake. To eliminate any mishaps, use Google Docs to create and maintain this list. It will be super easy to share with moms and wedding planner and you can even assign permissions to other users in the future (view vs edit).
  5. Select Your Venue
    Now that you know your budget and how many wedding guests you’ll be expecting, you can now start looking at wedding venues. These are typically booked 12-18 months in advance. Be prepared to compare apple to oranges. What is included at one venue may be an add-on at another. Here are 60 must-ask questions when shopping for a venue.things-to-do-after-engagement-4S2_3534-Edit
  6. Set Your Wedding Date
    Once you’ve paid that deposit on the venue, you simultaneously set your wedding date!
  7. Hire Your Wedding Photographer and Videographer
    You’ve got your wedding date, now is the time to book your photographer (and videographer). Again, be prepared to compare services. Not all packages are the same. My two best pieces of advice are: #1: Be sure you like your photographer better than you like their price; #2: Insurance is a must-have! I have read too many horror stories about photographers not showing up, not delivering images/products as promised or simply put, they are just not capable of photographing a wedding (sub-professional equipment, bad customer service, stress, timeline issues, lighting challenges, etc.). Here are 10 questions to ask anyone you consider to photograph your wedding. Please, please, please do not hire a friend or relative with a nice camera—unless they happen to be a professional. things-to-do-after-engagement-4S1_6299  
  8. Hello! Did Someone Say Party?
    Yes, it’s finally time to party! Let’s have a party to announce the engagement. Traditionally, the bride’s parents host this party, but in the modern world, all bets are off. Do it your own way! This is a great time to announce your wedding party, ask ring bearers or flower girls to participate, ask certain family or friends to host a wedding or bridal/lingerie showers, or let special someones know of a special part they’ll have on your wedding day.

8 Things To Do When You’re Engaged

I wrote a two-part series with a detailed wedding planning timeline. Once you’ve completed this short list, you can resume your wedding planning here.

The post, 8 Things To Do When You’re Engaged, first appeared on Ata-Girl Photography Co.’s website and blog. Please feel free to comment here, or share this post with your friends via Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. Please email me if you have any questions about this article or want to share a neat idea for a future blog post with me.