If you’re reading this it means that you’ve recently said “yes” to the person of your dreams. First things first–congratulations! While you may still be floating on cloud nine, we know that you’ve got work to do and we’re here to help make the most of your engagement. Below, you’ll find ten things to do right after saying “yes”—from spreading the news to finding your wedding vendors. Do these ten steps and you’ll be set up for wedding planning success.
1. Take The Time To Soak It All In
In a world full of social media, it’s very easy to get caught up in sharing your news with the world. Trust us, we know how tempting it may be to live stream your engagement. It’s hard not to want to scream it from the rooftops. Before you jump the gun, take the time to soak it in, just the two of you. You’re going to want to remember this love-drunk high. Pop a bottle of champagne or enjoy a celebratory dinner and dessert–do whatever makes you happy and revel in your love.
2. Tell Your Closest Friends And Family About Your Engagement
Unless you’re planning on keeping your engagement under wraps for a while, call your family and friends to let them know about the exciting news! They will be so happy you took the time to let them know before updating your social media. It can be helpful to make a list together of everyone who needs to know before the Internet does to avoid any hurt feelings.
3. Start Dreaming About Your Wedding
Before you start crossing things off of your wedding planning checklist, you’ve got some daydreaming to do. Maybe you’ve been planning your wedding your entire life, or maybe it has never crossed your mind. No matter which boat you are in, we recommend starting by creating a wedding mood board to help you nail down your style. You’ll get a better understanding of what color palettes you’re loving, what floral arrangements pique your interest, what decor you lean towards, etc.
Don’t stress if you’re not sure what your wedding style should be. Hiring a great wedding planner can help you have the wedding of your dreams, even if you’re not sure what that looks like yet. These important questions to ask before you start wedding planning will be a big help too.
4. Set Your Wedding Budget
Setting a budget may not sound like a lot of fun, but it’s an important step to cross off your list early in the wedding planning process. We know how overwhelming it can feel. That’s why we’ve created a budget tool that will get your finances in order for your special day.
While working on your budget, remember that there are most likely going to be unexpected wedding expenses that might take you by surprise. Plan for them early and you won’t have to worry about sacrificing your dream wedding reception or live music to make room in your budget for them.
Still unsure of how to tailor a budget that’s right for you? Check out our wedding budget guide for you and your partner. And if you’re curious about planning a destination wedding, here’s a budget breakdown of how much it costs to have a destination wedding.
5. Take Engagement Photos
Now the fun part begins–it’s engagement photo time. Take your engagement photos as early as possible so you can include a photo or two on your save the date cards. Hiring a professional photographer will help capture this special chapter of your lives–it’s over before you know it!
Hate the idea of being in front of the camera? We get it. These easy tips for nailing your engagement photos will help you feel more comfortable and ready to strike a pose. Bonus: our first tip is to wear an outfit that makes you feel confident.
6. Create A Guest List
After you set a wedding budget, it’s time to sit down and create your guest list. You will want this guest list prior to meeting with venues and caterers, as it will determine what you’ll be able to afford and what type of venue will work best for your guest count.
If once you’ve created your initial guest list, you need to trim it down, we’ve got you covered. Check out our handy tips for trimming your guest list—and see what the benefits to hosting a smaller wedding are. No matter what, never feel guilty about your guest list. It’s your special day and you want to surround yourself with the ones who matter most.
Once the list has been finalized, use our wedding guest list tool to keep track of everyone’s email address, home address, phone number, dietary restrictions, and more.
7. Choose A Venue And Set A Date
Now that you know your guest count and budget, start the venue search! Start by considering questions like whether or not you want a local or destination wedding. Do you want to be indoors or outdoors? Are you going to host your ceremony and reception in the same space? These are things you’ll need to consider yourselves before you begin searching.
Once you start touring venues, it’s very important that you ask the venues questions to ensure that you know what to expect at your wedding. A few questions that we think you can’t forget are:
- Is the date of choice available? If not, are there surrounding dates available?
- What’s the cancellation fee?
- How many weddings do they host in a day?
- What are the rates for different days of the week? (ex. Thursday vs. Friday)
- What is the deposit? What’s the structure for the payment schedule?
- Do they require the use of their approved list of vendors? If not, are there limitations on the vendors you’ll bring in?
- Are there noise restrictions?
- Are there decor restrictions?
- How many restrooms are there for the guests?
- Is there a food and beverage minimum? What are the consequences if it’s not met?
- Can you source beer, wine, and liquor elsewhere?
Want to see wedding venues in your area? We’ve got a list of wedding venues around the world. Lastly, don’t forget to take photos while you’re on venue tours.
8. Build Your Vendor Team
It’s important to select a dream team of wedding vendors as early as possible since many of the best professionals are booked out a year or two in advance. If you’re considering using a wedding planner, ask them for their vendor recommendations. Wedding planners work with other vendors all over and know which vendors will line up with your vision.
That being said, keep an eye out for any red flags that might come up while searching for or interviewing vendors. These range from poor communication, no reviews, and—of course—your gut instinct. The last thing you want is to get burned by a poor experience because you booked someone that was cheap.
9. Say Yes To The Dress
Even though you just got engaged, finding your dream dress early is a must. It can take anywhere from six to nine months to get your wedding dress–and that doesn’t include the time it took to find the dress or alterations! We know, we were shocked when we first learned too.
It’s best to get this step out of the way as soon as possible just in case there are any last-minute hiccups. Before making your way to a boutique, check out these things to do before your first bridal appointment to help you feel your best when you zip into the gowns. The most important thing to remember is that bridal appointments are meant to be fun, and your dream dress should make you feel like a thousand bucks.
If you’d rather skip the bridal boutiques and try on gowns in the comfort of your home, you’re in luck. Because these ready-to-ship wedding dresses are available now and they’re also drop-dead gorgeous. Don’t want to wear a dress at all? You’ll love one of these bridal jumpsuits and pantsuits, too.
10. Stay Organized
There are tons of ways to stay organized during the wedding planning process. In addition to our handy wedding planning checklist, we’ve got thousands of tools and tips to keep you organized and sane as you plan the most important day of your life.
From wedding planning tasks that you can tackle at home to the best wedding planning books, to the best wedding hashtags to follow on Instagram, we’re here to make wedding planning as easy as possible for you. Just don’t forget to blast this wedding planning playlist that will keep you motivated, either! And remember, wedding planning is meant to be fun, not stressful. So break out the wine and order a pizza and get to planning–you’ve got this!