First of all, if you are reading this, it means you've recently said YES to your forever after, so a BIG CONGRATULATIONS is due! I know you've now got a million and one things to do rushing through your head, so here's 10 things you should do after you get engaged- from spreading the news, to finding your perfect wedding suppliers. I promise, if you follow these steps, you'll be set up for planning success!
1. Enjoy the Engagement
First of all, just enjoy being engaged for a moment. You don't need to seek other people's validation, and although it's so tempting to run to social media straight away, just take some time for the two of you for it to sink in. You're never going to feel this post-engagement glow ever again, so just relax together, pop a bottle, go out for a meal or two, and just relive the moment over and over whilst it's your little secret. After all, once the announcement comes, it's full speed ahead.
2. Announce Your Engagement
Once you've completed step one, before posting on social media, you'll want to call your family and friends to let them know about the exciting news! Cue high pitched squeals from your girlfriends, tears from your parents and nice one mate bro hugs from the boys. They'll be so happy you took the time to personally let them know rather than let them find out via social media announcement. It can be so impactful. So maybe make a quick list of people that need to know before the internet does! This way you can avoid any sour feelings towards your engagement and begin on a good note.
It's also a good time to think about booking an engagement shoot for some engagement annoucements! I have a lot of free templates you can use to put something together. You can download them here:
3. Plan an Engagement Party!
Let's get merry and before you plan your wedding, have a little practice by planning your very own engagement party! Celebrate being engaged and get together with your family and friends. Maybe champagne, loved ones, and a whole lot of congratulations are in order! It’s the perfect way to kick off your wedding planning, and you can also use my free Canva templates mentioned above to announce it!
4. Think about Your Dream Wedding
Before you actually plan, you need to know actually what you want to plan for! It can be so easy to go down a planning route and then realise that you are planning someone else's dream wedding rather than your own. Make sure you do a little daydreaming, think about what makes you happy, what makes you comfortable, and maybe begin creating a wedding moodboard. You can use lots of sites out there, but I personally use my Pinterest board. You want to nail your style, what your colours should be, and planning your very own wedding that's unique to you.
5. Set Your Wedding Budget
Ah the dreaded budget. It normally doesn't sound like a lot of fun, but it's such an important part of the process so you can allocate the correct funds into what matters to you most. You can begin crossing off the overwhelming parts and then dedicate the rest of the money to nice-to-haves. You essentially need to get your finances in order, which can help you set a date and choose a venue. Don't cut costs on the important aspects, and don't spend too much on the little things. For example, going for a budget photographer can result in horrible images, and spurlging on a 5 tier cake for a small wedding is going to get wasted. Plan accordingly.
6. Take Engagement Photos
Do you want to know why this part is so important? Because you can capture this special chapter in your lives before it's over. Being engaged is as just as exciting as the wedding itself and it's also rare that you will have a nice photo of you both that isn't just in your wedding outfits. It's also amazing practice for your big day, and I highly recommend considering a session for peace of mind, posing techniques and fun ahead of your wedding day. You can read more of my engagement sessions here: Engagement Sessions.
7. Create A Guest List
After you've decieded on a budget, you can now sit down and make a estimate guest list. You will want this number prior to meeting with your potential venues, caterers and even photographers, as it will determind what type of services they will recommend based on your guest count. Once you've created your guest list, you need to check it twice and really trim it down to the numbers that suit you. You can also decide who will be there for the whole day, and then just for the evening. No matter what, never feel guilty about your guest list- it's your day, your wedding and you want to surround yourself with those who matter the most.
8. Set a Date and Venue Search
You know, you don't always have to have a date set before you begin looking for a venue. Sometimes the ideal venue will only be available on certain remaining days, and you don't want to turn down your dream venue based on the date itself. If there's only a Tuesday left in October, that's absolutely fine! As long as it's far enough way, people can book it off work ahead of time- and it will also help narrow down your guest list. In most circumstances, if they aren't prepared to have it off work, they shouldn't be at your wedding. When choosing a venue, you need to imagine yourself getting married there so make sure you visit when possible, either by open days or in person visits. Also try and imagine your venue in the time of year you'll be married in, because if you love the blossom trees at the entrance but you're getting married in Autumn, it will look completely different!
9. If you have someone in mind, book them Asap
Some of the best professionals get booked out a year or two in advance, so if you have your heart set on a certain supplier, make sure you secure them straight away. There's nothing worse than enquiring and finding out they are not free and you have to settle for the next best thing. Also, do not let your budget dictate your choices between suppliers. Often, their price range is for a reason, and you can always cut corners elsewhere for the perfect supplier.
10. Say Yes To The Dress
Of course, you can finally browse at wedding gowns without feeling like an imposter. Your moment to walk down the aisle will be coming up soon, and so you do not want to leave your search for the perfect dress until the last minute. Sometimes your ideal dress can be out of stock or needs to be altered, so the sooner you have it in your possession the better. Plus, visiting bridal shops is an experience that should not be skipped, so have fun with your girls in the process! You can also opt for a ready to wear dress from most retailers nowadays, such as Asos and M&S have a great bridal range nowadays. Whatever you choose, make sure it's best for you.
Gabriela is a wedding photographer and wedding videographer based in Yorkshire, England. If you would like to know more about her prices and packaging, please visit https://www.gabrielasphotographyandfilm.com/