Congratulations on your recent engagement! The road to engagement was its own adventure, with plenty of twists and turns as you pictured your future together, navigated the engagement rings and proposal plans, and finally gave your answer: a resounding “yes!” But what’s next before the wedding? Here are the first essential things to get sorted after getting engaged.
Announce the Engagement
The first thing you should do is let your parents, siblings, and close friends that you’re engaged. It’s an exciting and important step in your life, and they’ll be excited to share your happiness.
Of course, you’ll probably post about your engagement on social media as well, but it’s important to tell those closest to you that you’re engaged before you share it with the world on your newsfeed.
Telling your family and closest friends before you post on social media shows them that you value their contributions and involvements in your life and in your relationship.
Propose to Your Bridesmaids
The next step is to get your crew in order. Before you think about dates or venues or colors for the wedding, it’s important to have a team in your corner. That means it’s time to make a proposal of your own: the bridesmaid proposal!
This is your chance to reach out to your closest friends and family members and invite them to be a helpful and integral part of your special day. It’s also great to have them involved from the get-go so that you have constant and consistent support throughout the whole wedding planning process.
Get Your Ring(s) Sized
If you’re like most women, the engagement ring didn’t fit perfectly the first time you put it on. That’s why you should take your engagement ring and both wedding bands to the jeweler to have them perfectly sized for you and your partner.
This way, they’ll fit perfectly on the big day when you have to slip them onto each other’s hands in front of all your guests. Plus, having the rings sized properly will help prevent loss or damage, since it’s less likely to fall off or get jostled around when it’s fitted correctly.
Set a Date
This step might take a bit of time and planning, but setting a date early makes things easier for you and your partner, as well as for your guests and wedding party.
Of course, you may have a tentative ball-park date until you book the venue or talk with those who plan to travel to the event. But as soon as you have the date set, you can send save-the-date cards (either in the mail or electronically) and really begin planning with a sturdy goal in mind. So, setting the date early is an important first step in wedding planning.
Discuss the Wedding Budget
This probably won’t be the most fun you’ll have planning your wedding, but setting a good budget and committing to it is an important first step.
When you commit to a budget, you’ll actually have a lot more freedom to arrange and spend money guilt-free. When you’re crunching the numbers with your partner, be sure to prioritize different aspects of the wedding (such as venue, food, or entertainment) so that the things you value are absolutely included, even if it means cutting back in areas that you don’t value as much.
Book a Venue
Finding a venue for your wedding is likely to be one of the most strenuous and expensive parts of your wedding planning process.
You should book the venue as soon as you find the right place, and remember that you might have to be flexible with dates, amenities, and/or price if you want to book the venue of your dreams. Booking the venue is definitely something you should do sooner rather than later when you’re planning the wedding.
Prepare the Guest List
Based on your budget and venue, you probably already have a good idea as to how many people will be able to attend your wedding. Talk with your partner and decide who takes priority for the guest list – usually, this is family members, closest friends, and the plus-ones of the bridesmaids and groomsmen.
Then, continue adding people to your list in order of closeness until you reach your limit. Remember, all of these people will be receiving invitations, so make sure that you have their contact information – whether it’s their snail-mail address or their email address – as you add them to the list.
These days, many couples complete a course of pre-marital counseling after they get engaged and before they get married. Pre-marital counseling is when you and your partner sit down with a professional and go through different topics and questions.
It’s a great way to talk through your values and ideas on everything from finances and kids to what to do for your anniversary. The best part is that you get to have all of these conversations in a safe space with an objective third party, which means that you can talk through all of these problems before they ever cause a strain on your marriage.
Remember, preparing for a long-term marriage is just as important as preparing for the wedding!
Plan the Engagement Party and/or Wedding Shower
Many couples choose to celebrate the milestones along the way to the wedding, which is a great way to include family and friends at every step.
Some couples opt to have an engagement party, some prefer a bridal shower or wedding shower, and others will have both.
When you’re planning the engagement party or wedding shower, remember that people will often bring gifts, so you should have thank-you cards on standby before you celebrate with your friends and family.
Relax Before the Big Day
Before the day of the wedding itself, be sure to take some time to relax and reflect with your partner. You can do something special that you both enjoy, be that a day out in nature, a trip to the movies, or a relaxing couple’s massage.
Whatever you chose, be sure to set aside time specifically to rest together and reflect on the whole wedding process and the marriage that lies ahead. The schedule can get hectic, so you’ll probably have to be proactive about blocking out time for resting together as the big day gets closer and closer.