Congratulations on your engagement! What’s next?
You may already have your Pinterest inspo-board full of ideas, in fact, you may have even started it years ago, or you may just be starting one now. Either way, where do you start? What are the first actions you should consider taking?
1. Enjoy the moment
Heck, revel in it! Take a few hours, days, weeks…. Take as much time as you want to just enjoy this moment in your life, and take it in. When my wife proposed to me, I felt like I was floating around for a day. I naturally take days to digest moments in life such as this. That’s just how I am. You might take a second, a minute, an hour, or even a day. There are no rules.
2. Explore ideas and inspiration
We feel this should be something you do before you share the news simply because friends and family tend to be so excited that they just can’t seem to help but share their own ideas whether they are solicited or not. It’s good to get a vision of your own before you open up the floodgates of the outside world.
3. Share the news however you see fit
There is no wrong way to share the happy news! Look, it’s modern-day, we aren’t about to tell you how you should share your news. We have had couples who immediately shared their news to social media, couples who started by telling their family members and closest friends first, couples who announced their engagement through save the dates, and we have had couples who waited weeks before sharing the news just so they could enjoy that special time to themselves. And of course, we have had the couples who needed to figure out how to tell certain family members. Bing out to just part of your family can make sharing the news complicated. Make sure to honor yourself and if you experience any negativity or push back, just know that that’s something that is over there with them. You are perfect as you are.
4. If you don’t have a specific date in mind, think about the season you want to get married in
Some couples have dates that mean something to them, and sometimes there are dates that are simply aesthetically pleasing. Most couples don’t have a specific date in mind immediately other than their dating anniversary or engagement anniversary.
Personally, our dating anniversary was so close to Thanksgiving that one year it was actually the same day. I found that I had a hard time actually enjoying it because of the stress of the holidays. For that reason, I knew I wanted a Spring or Summer wedding.
Choosing a season rather than a specific date is really the best place to start. Especially, since booking specific dates with venues is often be hard to do. It depends on the season, date, day of the week, and popularity of the venue. Sometimes your options for specific dates can be years down the road, so we recommend keeping your mind open to alternatives.
Picking a season can also help guide you in choosing the style or theme of your wedding and the style of the venue. You may not want to have a winter wedding at a beachfront venue where your bridal party looks like frozen statues during the beach portrait session you’ve always dreamed of, or you may not want to have an industrial-style wedding in a barn. These decisions are just the small steps that get you to your wedding day.
5. Discuss a budget
You want to do this before you start your guest list, inviting co-workers and acquaintances, visit venues, etc. Your budget will be the foundation of all of your wedding planning. Most full traditional style weddings range from $30,000 and up. You have to consider your venue, food, and beverage menu, guest count, venue extra’s, vendors such as your photographer, videographer, DJ, Band, Officiant, Florist, etc. Planning a budget range, or even a budget sweet spot, is a great way to continue the next steps with more ease. Figure out if you are both paying for it yourselves, if the family is paying, or if you are all chipping in together. Just a friendly reminder, when family pays, sometimes you are at the mercy of compromise. Pro Tip: Figure our your top three must haves and start from there
6. Determine your guest list size
You don’t have to know who you’re inviting right now but you do want to have a good idea of how many people make up your A-listers so you know where to start with both your budget and your venue. Once you know your most important invites, budget, and determined a maximum guest count, you can start adding everyone else to your list.
7. Research and explore venues
There are tons of venues out there. You have an idea of your budget, style, and the size of your wedding. Now it’s time for your venue research. What are you looking for in a venue besides the look? Do you want onsite catering? Are you able to have an after-party? Do you love their food? Some venues won’t allow real candles, confetti, pets, after parties, early entrance, etc. Some venues have a reputation for being wedding factories, and some respectfully book a certain number of weddings while planning out the time differences responsibly. After researching venues, it’s time for the fun part of exploring them! Taste test, ask questions, see if you know any who used those venues, and ask them about their experience. We recommend checking out 3-5 venues at a minimum before deciding. Throw in a random one even just for the heck of it. Of course, be sure to confirm your top venue choices are LGBTQ+ friendly and confirm they have actually had LGBTQ+ weddings.
8. Have an engagement party
Celebrate! Let everyone know and celebrate the new chapter in your lives together! This is also a great time to bring everyone together and allow them to space to connect. Use this time to celebrate, but to also introduce everyone to each other, especially family, close friends, and bridal party members that you had in mind. These connections being established before your wedding day or other wedding events will create a higher frequency vibe of excitement. We find that friends and family are more likely to pull together to plan and create, leaving you with less work doing this all in the long run.
9. Think about your bridal party
If you haven’t chosen your bridal party yet, pause before you do. It’s good to take your time with this. It’s easier to add members to your bridal party than it is to remove them from it.
10. Take a break!
Don’t overwhelm yourself! Breaks are important when it comes to keeping wedding planning fun, rather than it becoming a chore.
11. Start interviewing vendors
Next step: VENDORS. We have a blog post on vendors to consider coming up soon. Subscribe to our email list to receive new blog posts, and be the first to learn about giveaways, events, and new products! Just enter your email below.