This is the moment you've been waiting for. Holy moley, you have an engagement ring and you're getting married! It's so surreal, yet definitely happening, and like it or not, the hours, days, and weeks following that proposal are guaranteed to be a whirlwind.
There are so many things to think about, so many people to contact and so much to get done. Don't be overwhelmed. You have plenty of time to plan the rest of your lives but if you're like most newly engaged people, you'll be itching to share the news with all your friends and dive into the actual wedding planning part headfirst.
Pinterest boards, bridal magazines, blogs, dress shopping, venue hunting...the list goes on and on. Years of watching wedding movies couldn't have prepared you for what's to come (trust us, it's totally different). While the average engagement lasts a year to a year-and-a-half, there are certain things you'll want to get done stat — no matter how long you plan on being a fiancé.
So where do you get started? There's no strict order to follow as long as you tackle the immediate to-dos. Committing the rest of your life to the love of your life is scary and amazing and the best kind of stress, however, it's a major, major milestone, and planning a wedding together is the icing on the cake — we promise!
Call Your Parents And your siblings and BFFs too (unless you are keeping your engagement under wraps for a while). The last place they should have to hear about your new status is on social media, so give them a ring personally and tell them the happy news. Chances are, mom and dad already know what's up and have been waiting by the phone patiently for your call.
Get a Manicure Your hands will be in the spotlight for the next couple of weeks, which means your manicure best be on fleek. Or, if you're going for the natural look, make sure your nails are clean and shaped. Otherwise, friends will be focusing more on your chipped nail polish than your gorgeous engagement ring. Not cool.
Post a Ring Selfie A picture is worth a thousand words, right? If you're ready to share with the world that you're engaged, open up that Instagram! Take a ring selfie or a sweet pic of you and your fiancé to share the love. Even better—if the actual proposal was caught on film, nothing is better than that look of surprise. And don't forget to make it Facebook official!
Cheers!Round up some of your best friends and family and go out for a celebratory drink, or have a special date night solo if that's more your style. You're engaged, and that's totally worth toasting.
Get Your Ring InsuredWe know, we know — it's not exactly the most romantic or exciting thing in the world, but it could wind up saving your butt in the long run. When added as an extension to your homeowner or renter's insurance policy, it's surprisingly inexpensive.
Take A BreatherDon't jump into wedding planning right away! Take a week or two to let the news really sink in and to just savor the moment. Trust us, you'll have enough stress over the next twelve (or so) months to last you a lifetime.
Get Your Ring SizedIf the ring fits, great, and if not, you'll want to take it to your jeweler stat to get it sized — especially if it's practically falling off your finger. After all, you'd hate to throw thousands of dollars down the drain mere moments after saying yes.
Think About A DateThe most desirable wedding dates and venues get booked far in advance so if you're hoping to get hitched in the next year or two, it's a wise idea to start thinking about dates now. Find out what works for both your families and if there are any potential conflicts.
Research Wedding VenuesRemember: You can't book a date until you've nailed down your dream venue! Do some research online first, or maybe you already have a place in mind and can call to get more information on pricing and availability.
Determine Your Wedding SizeWhether you're going big or keeping it small, being on the same page about this one is so important. Get your family's input if it matters to either of you or if they'll be footing the bill. Once you've agreed on a rough guest count and budget (we'll get to that next), you can commit to a venue.
Discuss a BudgetMoney talks, but unfortunately, no one likes to talk about money. It can be, well, awkward. However, before you can really move forward with any of your wedding plans, this is a discussion that has to be had, be it between you and your spouse, or you, your spouse, and the parents.
Build A Wedding WebsiteAt the very least, look at your options and decide whether you'd prefer to create your own from scratch or use one of the many wedding website templates out there. Check out the pros and cons, and then pick together.
Gather InspirationCreate a Pinterest board, Google Doc, save photos on Instagram, or create a folder on your computer to compile imagery of your favorite wedding elements. Keep it to yourself just for organizational purposes, or share with your wedding planner, mom, friends, fiancé, and whoever else to view and contribute.
Choose Who Will Be in the Bridal PartyHow many bridesmaids or groomsmen do each of you want? Are you cool with having odd numbers or is an even number a must? Does one of you (or both) want a bridesman or groomslady? Will you have a maid of honor or best man? No matter what, you need to discuss these things before one of you starts popping the question to friends.
Interview Planners and/or VendorsIf you're considering bringing a professional planner on board to help with logistics and décor, ask around for references and do a little online research, then set up some interviews. For the vendor referrals alone, a wedding planner is totally worth their weight in gold! Or, for smaller affairs, go directly to the source and check out a few vendors on your own.
Check Out Trunk Show SchedulesHave your eye on a specific wedding dress designer? You don't have to make a mad dash to try on dresses just yet, however, you may want to peep their trunk show schedule to see when they'll be in town (or where you'd have to travel to) and how much of a discount you can score on the new collection.
Plan An Engagement Party(If you want one at all.) Do you want to plan it or hand the reins over to parents or friends? Do you want to go low key and have it at your home or in a friend's backyard? Would you rather everyone meet at your favorite bar for drinks or rent a space for a catered dinner? Either way, just make sure to do whatever fits the vibe of your relationship!
Relax!Do something fun, just the two of you. Mini golf, bowling, ice skating, a trip to the beach — whatever floats your boat and brings out the kid in you both. Wedding planning can be insanely stressful from the get-go, so try to find the humor in things and take some time to laugh, reconnect, and remember why you're getting hitched in the first place.
Crystal Vandegrift is a wedding photographer covering Virginia, D.C. NC and Maryland.
What Our Clients Are Saying
Crystal was a great photographer for our wedding! She's definitely LGBT friendly and has some cool rainbow umbrellas to use as props in your pictures - if that's your style. Our friends and family were all very impressed with the number of photos she took and shared with us - and they're all great shots! We would absolutely recommend her to others. - Kelsey and Shannon - Baltimore, Maryland