Congratulations – you’re getting married! We’re so excited for you! Now that you’ve said yes, you may be wondering what you should be doing after getting engaged.
Here at Contagious Events, we believe planning your wedding should be a fun experience – but, realistically speaking, it’s a lot of work and carries a high risk of being overwhelming and stressful. Think about it – if you’ve never planned an event like this before, it’s going to be stressful. You’ll second guess things, gasp at sticker shock, and spend hours upon hours researching and googling and pinning and it goes on and on and on…
So we’ve drafted for you a list of things you should do immediately after getting engaged. Like, immediately. Put the ring on, enjoy the moment, and wake up the next day and roll up your sleeves and get these things accomplished.
Why do we recommend doing these things after getting engaged before you tell everyone the exciting news?
One of the most common stressors we hear from engaged couples is the amount of opinions and suggestions they receive. Although well-intended, being caught up in the onslaught of recommendations and opinions can be fatiguing. Completing these tasks will give you a great foundation to deal with the incoming suggestions and minimize any second guessing.
Without further ado, here are our recommendations on what to do after getting engaged:
Photo: Danny Gorman Photography
The Reference Card
Take an index card: on one side, write down your top three, most important elements of the wedding. We call these the wedding planning non-negotiables. On the flip side of the same index card, jot down three things you absolutely do not want at your wedding. Let’s call these the wedding planning dealbreakers. Now have your partner do the same. Compare your lists and on a third index card, write down the complete list. This new, combined index card serves as your foundation for planning the wedding after getting engaged. Keep it in your planning folder/binder, and refer to it whenever you struggle with making a decision.
Photo: Danny Gorman Photography
The Wedding Guest List
Your guest list is going to be a major factor in determining your budget, and could also play a role in determining your venue. The most effective way to minimize your budget is to cut down your guest list. Not only will it cut down on your catering fee, but it will also cut down on your rentals (fewer tables, chairs and linens) and also on your florals (fewer centerpieces) and stationery (fewer save the dates, invitations and postage).
Photo: Paul Specht
The Wedding Budget
So many of our couples come to us and say they simply do not know how much they should plan to spend on their wedding. And you know what? It makes total sense! Unless you’ve planned a wedding before, or know someone who has and is willing to share their own budget, it’s likely not an area you’re familiar with. But most couples also have an idea of how much money they’d like to spend, or have a general idea of their overall budget. Many online budget calculators just assign an arbitrary percentage to each wedding category. We don’t think that’s good enough, which is why we’ve created our own, comprehensive wedding budget calculator.
Photo: Cambria Grace
The Wedding Aesthetic
It’s okay if you don’t know exactly what you want your wedding to look like – many of those details are fleshed out during various vendor consultations. But odds are, you have a general idea of the décor and setting. A great place to start is with our wedding venue quiz – this will help determine what type of venue would be the best location for your vows!
The Wedding Planning Triangle
Now that you have a general vision and your wedding planning priorities in order, it’s time to focus on your wedding planning triangle. If you have a background in project management, chances are, this will look familiar to you. The idea is that your wedding planning “project” has three main points, forming a triangle. It doesn’t really matter which point correlates with which element, but what does matter is that you understand how they all influence one another, and that you only get to control two of the three points. The third point happens as a result of the two that you control.
For example, if you and your partner have determined your guest list will need to have 150 – 200 guests, that’s one control point. You’ve likely also determined that you have a set budget that you won’t want to exceed, so budget will be your second control point. The third point, aesthetic, happens as a result: you can’t have a lavish wedding with a floral ceiling and crystal chandeliers and a 9-course dinner service for 200 guests if you’re on a budget of $25,000. However, if your guest list is dramatically smaller, it could be possibly. Or, if you are set on that particular aesthetic and the 200 person guest list, you’ll have to be flexible with the budget. The biggest lesson you’ll want to learn after getting engaged is this wedding planning triangle. It will save you so much stress and headaches down the road.
Now that you are armed with a more comprehensive budget, design vision and you know what you can and cannot control, you’re free to start sharing the news of your engagement! But – a word of warning – you will receive unsolicited advice regarding your wedding. Some will be good, some will be not so great – take all with a grain of salt, and remember – everyone is just trying to help and is sharing the excitement of your big day!
However it turns out, we’re sure your wedding will be amazing.