Engaged? Now what?!

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Engagement season! That time of year when your social media feeds are full of sparkling shiny rings and smiling happy brides-to-be. And yes, even a smiling groom-to-be.
According to Wedding Wire, 33% of all engagements happen between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. If you are newly engaged, let me begin with CONGRATULATIONS!  Being engaged can be an exciting time but it also can be very overwhelming. Here are some of my top to-dos once he finally pops the question that are better do sooner than later.

1. Slip that gorgeous ring on! This might seem like a no-brainer, but some brides choose to admire their ring in the box for bit. Slip on that ring and get ready to flaunt it. Brace yourself for the “ooohs,” “aaah,s”, and envious stares. Enjoy every minute of it!

2. Thank your husband-to-be. Even if you heavily hinted the heck out of him to propose, be grateful that he finally did. And let him know it. Besides thanking him in person, tell him how you aren’t just excited to be engaged or plan the wedding, but to also begin this journey together that will be the rest of your lives. Planning a wedding can become an all-encompassing task for the bride. Often getting lost in the color schemes, floral arrangements, bridesmaid dresses, etc is the groom. Take a little time to be together as a couple and remind him that’s he’s an essential part, not just of the big day, but of your life as well.

3. Call your parents and close friends/family. Before anything, call the people who are most important to you. Anyone who might be hurt to learn of your engagement through social media deserves a call or text. Chances are, they would rather hear from you than a Facebook post. If you have an idea who you want your bridesmaids to be – you should call them as well. You don’t have to ask them right then and there if you want them to be a bridesmaid, but it will let them know you regard them highly.

4. Check the manicure. Now that your ring is in its rightful place, you know your hand will be getting a lot of looks. Take a quick survey of your hands before snapping any pictures, sending any Snapchats, etc. Chipped nails will definitely take away from your ring so clean up any nicks, chips, and stragglers.

5. Insure your wedding ring. Life happens. You dreamed about it. Couldn’t wait to slip it on your finger. And now, it’s finally yours. The perfect ring. So don’t you want to do everything to ensure you keep that ring safe or if something happens enables you to replace it? Insuring your ring will allow you to replace it should it get stolen, lost, etc. First, you need to get it appraised so make sure your fiancé keeps any and all receipts that relate to your ring. Once you get it appraised and insured, make sure you add that policy or rider to your homeowners or renters insurance policy.

6. Now the creative, fun stuff…Brainstorm! Start gathering ideas on what you want your wedding to look like. Though this step is easier when you know your budget, how large the wedding will be, and what season it will be in I always tend to start here before those because well it is fun. It also gives you a sense of how much things cost to take to your budget. Check out my Pinterest page for inspiration for everything from your welcome gifts to your wedding favors. If you are choosing a date based on season, you may want to consider what colors do and don’t work for that time of year. This will also help you figure out how to eventually dress your bridesmaids.

7. Set your budget. First, do your research (see above). How much does your dream venue cost? How about your ideal photographer? Invest your time into gathering the right information so you can have a realistic idea of how much you plan to spend. Also, sit down with both sides of the family. Will they be willing to help pay for the wedding? If so, how? Financial help can be in the form of a fixed amount, a percentage, or a category (flowers/ bridesmaid dresses). If the cannot afford to help pay, there are lenders like Promise Financial that is exclusively focused on weddings to offer finance options so you can devote more creative energy to your wedding preparations.

8. Choose the venue, photographer, caterer, or florist you really want. Do you have a favorite photographer that you’d love to have photograph your wedding? Chances are, other newly engaged people do too! Choosing a venue is the same as picking a date—in fact, the venue usually determines the date. The popular ones go quickly! If you have your heart set on something or somewhere in particular, make sure you give them a call ASAP to see what they have open. And it never hurts to visit the chosen spot as well. Again, if you have a dream venue or dream florist, reach out to them before they’re booked! This also applies to your caterer, DJ, or any other wedding professional.

9. Pick a date (or at least a season). The third most-asked question after “How did he propose?” and “Can I see the ring?” will inevitably be “When’s the wedding?” Not that you have to pick a date just to soothe them, but if you have a date, season, or holiday in mind, it’s better to book sooner rather than later. June, August, September, and October are popular months because of their pleasant weather. But a winter wedding can be great too with a little bit of creativity.

10. Draft a guest list. Easily one of the more stressful decisions when it comes to weddings. Be realistic on how many people you can invite. Start by writing down an A-list: people you MUST have at your wedding. This list includes immediate family, the friends you’ve had since kindergarten, etc. Then write a B-list: people who you would LIKE to have at your wedding. This list usually consists of co-workers, former-roommates, your parent’s friends, and so on. Let your venue and budget guide you in how many guests to invite, beginning with your A-list, then slowly adding your B-list as responses come in from your A-list.

11. Pick yours ‘maids. For some, planning a wedding can feel like a full-time job. This is where your bridesmaids come in. They are there to keep you sane, let you vent out your frustrations, be a springboard for your ideas, and to accompany you on any important errands not appropriate for your fiancé to join you on. These should be the ladies you want by your side before and during the most important day of your life, so choose wisely. But also take into account, which would like to be there for you, such as siblings, close cousins, childhood friends, and your fiancé’s family. Cannot think of some A-list gal pal? I offer an Ultimate Bridesmaid package to be your go to lady for errands, venting, etc.

12. Relinquish control.  before you give it serious consideration.Take some time to seriously think about how much time you can devote to planning a wedding. Review the elements of your wedding that’ll take a little extra planning—negotiating with bakers and caterers for the best prices, finding the ideal venue, organizing party favors—and figure out if those are tasks you want to tackle alone or if you’d rather hire a wedding planner. A wedding coordinator will cost extra money, so make sure the option fits into your budget. If hiring a professional for full planning and coordination does not fit in your budget, get yourself a planning app, calendar, or some other kind of item to help you create a timeline for major wedding-related tasks. Then hire a “day of” coordinator for a fraction of the cost to allow you, your spouse, your parents, and wedding party to enjoy all the elements you put together.

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