You’re Engaged! Wait, What’s next?

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You said ‘Yes’, you cried, you laughed, you told everyone about the proposal and how he popped the question, and now, you’re day-dreaming of your wedding. (We hope you had lots of cuddle time and enjoyed the proposal, by the way Congrats!) It’s been a week and now that the excitement is starting to wear off, and you’re getting serious about the planning, you’re stuck not knowing what to do next besides looking for a dress. So here are the next 10 things that need to be on your list of to-do’s to start off the planning process…

 
1. Get your ring sized, and insured. – You won’t regret these decisions or the money you spend on this. Once insured, most jewelers will size it for free, and replace the stone(s), prongs, and polish the scratches off for free. If you’re ring isn’t insured, you risk your entire ring, and if you lose it, it’s gone for good. 
 
2. Buy a Wedding Journal. – This could be a simple hard cover notebook with lots of space for pictures, lists, ideas, etc., and will become more of a scrapbook to look back on. If you’re the super organized gal that likes tabs, folders, and protected documents, go with a binder and customize it to your liking. Whatever is effective for you will work, just make sure that it is hard-covered, and it includes a Calendar for the months leading up to your wedding starting from the day of the proposal (writing down special things during your engagement will be fun to look back on. This thing will be stuck to your hip for the next 12-18 months, so make it yours, and make it fun!
 
3. Start Date-Dreaming. – Think of your wedding date, the season, the day, the year, etc. You don’t have to set a date right off the bat, especially if you’re planning a long engagement. However, we suggest to start thinking of the season/month, and have the date set within a month of your engagement. You’ll soon have to book a venue, planner, caterer, etc., and they’ll need this date before you can hire them. 
 
4. Celebrate! – Have your best friend, wedding planner, or parents throw an Engagement Party. If you’re lucky, your lover boy will have this mapped out ahead of time. You need to celebrate with your close family and friends, and the best way to do so is if you’re all together! We suggest having a fete within 3 months of the proposal, the earlier the better! (If you’re reading this before you’re engaged, hint to your betrothed that you’d like an Engagement Party after the proposal, and chances are, he’ll have someone plan a big celebration the week after the proposal that you’ll never know about).
 
5. Hire a Planner – Whether you want a full service planner or a ‘Day-Of’ Coordinator (DOC), you need to research your options. Either way, you deserve to have someone at your beck & call to help you along the way. Your best girl-friend will have her opinions, just like your mom, future mother-in-law, and future sister-in law. A planner will help to keep the neutrality of opinions and will be able to coordinate your wedding specifically to a timeline that you have created with her. The perfect wedding planner will be the go-to person on your wedding day, will know how to troubleshoot any issues that arise, and will keep you focused and stress-free. If you think that a planner is too expensive or for ‘luxury’ weddings, wrong; if you think you can do it all by yourself, you’re crazy; and if you think that a planner will hijack your wedding to their liking, then you’ve been misled. Every bride needs to consider the wedding timeline, the day-of flow of the event, the vendor/supplier management, and how they will handle situations that are stressful. Consider hiring a planner, and interview with at least 3 of them (make sure they provide a complimentary initial meeting). Ask them for testimonials, and look at their online reviews. Their previous clients have gone through what you’re experiencing, and they can give you accurate detailed information about their services.
 
6. Money Talk with your Fiancé – Start thinking about a budget, and talk with whomever is going to financially provide for your wedding. We recommend that your day-dreaming include costs, and that you get the most bang for your buck. Don’t make it awkward by pushing this conversation off, be up front, and serious about determining your financial limits.
 
7. Vision your wedding – What theme, style, colors & formality do you want your wedding to have? Outside or Inside, formal or casual? Themes that are popular today: Rustic Chic, Fairy Tale, Vintage, Garden, & Destination. Your date may have a lot to do with this decision, too.; but think about how you’ll look back at your wedding in the future, as well. You may think butterflies and bright pink and green are the perfect way to go, but make sure you’ll be happy with that down the road when you’re actually getting married. Be realistic. You’re wedding isn’t all about the decor, the flowers; you’re marrying your best friend, and that’s what truly matters. You want to set the stage for a lifetime of marital bliss, and put your fiancé’s opinion into consideration. Think about previous weddings you’ve been to, and compile a list of the things you liked, and things you didn’t like. That is how you’ll build your wedding vision.  You don’t want the chicken dance, but you do want a dollar dance, oh and that shoe game was cute too! 
 
8. Rough Draft your guest list – Think of a number of people you’d like to have. 75,  100, 250, 400+… Then take 30 minutes to brainstorm your wedding guest list, and talk with your Fiancé to get his guest list. From there you can go to your parents, and his parents for special guests that they’d like to invite. It’s imperative that you stay within a number margin. Give each set of parents a certain number to stay under, so that they don’t give you an outrageous guest list. Most likely, there will be duplicates of guests on all of your lists, and you’ll be able to compile them all together quite easily. Rule of thumb: if in doubt, throw it out… 😉
 
9. Book your Venue – It’s known in the wedding industry that booking your venue is a priority after the proposal. You need to select your venue as soon as possible, but make sure it’s the right fit for your vision, date, and guest list. Research, ask your planner, your friends, and your family for venues that they’ve visited. We suggest visiting at least 3 venues that you’re interested in. Make an appointment for a walk-through, have your planner and fiancé go with you, and if someone else is financially providing for the wedding, especially the venue, then have them come along too. When you’re at the venue, envision your family and friends there, celebrating with you. Can you see where you’ll walk to your groom? Does it fit your wedding vision and style? Make a list of questions and concerns for each venue before the walk-through, bring them up when you visit, and rate them after each visit. 
 
10. Select your Wedding Party – You’ve already thought about it, but now it’s time to make it official. Select each one of your attendants appropriately, and then invite them to be a special part of your wedding. Have your groom make his list too. We suggest giving these decisions a few days, and then call, or meet for a brunch with your girl-friends, and designate specific titles with responsibilities to each one! They’ll love you for giving them a special role with duties, instead of them having to volunteer last minute. Another different approach is to ask them what they want to do for you during planning, they’ll be eager to tell you if you have an open-mind and an honest relationship. If you’ve ever been a bridesmaid, think back to what made that role rock, and what made that role dreadful. We know you want to make the invitation super special with a ‘I have my man, now I need my girls’ gift box filled with a mini-champagne and a monogrammed necklace, so go for it!
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