You’re engaged! Whether you asked or answered, you just took the first step towards one of the happiest days (and chapters) of your life. You’ve probably heard that now the work begins—and, if you’re hoping to wed in a year or less, that’s true. Wait, wait, wait… don’t get overwhelmed. Yes, there’s wedding planning to do, but it doesn’t all need to happen at once. Here, instead, are the first things you and your partner should accomplish in the first month (or so) after you’re engagement. Plus, the things you shouldn’t do.
It might feel tough, but refrain from reaching for your phone right away. Instead, take some time to celebrate your engagement with your new fiancé! Make your way over to your favorite bar or restaurant and enjoy each other’s company. Take a walk on the beach or through your favorite part of the city.
Regardless of the setting, enjoy the moment one-on-one (unless, of course, your loved ones were in on it and are waiting in the wings). Before you know it, you’ll be up to your neck in wedding planning, so savor this time for all it’s worth. Bask in that newly-engaged glow.
When you’re ready to tell others, start with those closest to you. This is likely your immediate family (parents and siblings), other close relatives, and best friends. Ring them personally or pay a visit, if possible, but steer clear of text messages. While it might seem like the most efficient way to tell your people, it can feel a bit impersonal. Save text announcements for people you aren’t as close with.
Typically there’s a hierarchy that states you should tell family first, but we realize that not all dynamics are the same. Share the news of your engagement with those you love in the order you deem most appropriate.
That is, if you’re on social media, of course. Once you tell your close family and friends, now it’s time to tell the world. Share a status update on Facebook or post a photo or story on Instagram. Take a selfie with your partner, show off your ring, or upload a photo someone snapped of the actual engagement moment.
You’re engaged—you should absolutely share the news. However, we do caution against spamming your various timelines with engagement news. There will be plenty of opportunities to share wedding planning highlights as you work out details. Maybe don’t exhaust your followers with too much upfront.
If you were over the moon to put your new ring on only to find it didn’t quite fit, you’ll want to get it sized ASAP. This won’t be the most exciting part of getting engaged, but it’s necessary if you want to avoid losing your special stone.
Speaking of losing your ring, enter ring insurance! Also, not super sexy, but highly recommended. Most jewelry experts suggest taking out a policy with a jewelry insurance provider (and not extending your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance to cover it). Head to a jeweler or another certified professional and get an appraisal. Here’s more on engagement ring insurance.
Depending on how you want to announce your engagement, this should take place before or after you post to social media. If you like the idea of telling your friends and family all at once, plan a surprise engagement party before making a public announcement. That way the news is completely unexpected. Many couples also prefer to host a more formal engagement party (with invitations and maybe even scheduled activities) a few weeks after the engagement.
If your loved ones are already in the know, one or some of them may come forward and offer to host your party for you. Whatever you decide works—engagement parties aren’t necessary so if you choose to have one, get creative with engagement party ideas, and celebrate however you want. Be aware, though: You shouldn’t invite anyone to the engagement party that you won’t invite to the wedding. Plan accordingly.
This is another optional to-do. If an engagement photoshoot doesn’t sound like your style, stay with us for just a second. Engagement shoots are popular for a few reasons. Mainly, they’re usually free and come as an additional component of your wedding photography package. If you haven’t yet booked a photographer (totally normal at this stage, by the way!), you can either wait until you do or you can hire another local photographer for this shoot.
Couples also often see an engagement shoot as an opportunity to get comfortable in front of the camera together. Again, if you have a photographer booked, this is a great time to get to know more about his or her style. This way, you’ll hopefully feel more natural when your photo is being taken from all angles come wedding day. Use your engagement photos on your save the dates, wedding website, and/or wedding invitations.
At this point, your engagement celebrations have probably slowed. Now it feels like time to really start thinking about your big day. Don’t stress yourself out with immediately looking into details and logistics, though. Start off by discussing big-picture ideas with your partner. Now is the time to figure out if you’re both on the same page with your dream wedding style- and size-wise.
Talk about everything from wedding location and wedding size to a potential color palette and wedding date options. And, of course, always be open to your partner’s ideas. Stay organized off the bat by gathering inspiration in a place that’s easy to access and edit. Pinterest board, Google Doc, computer folder, binder—whatever works for you.
Due to desirable venues and times of year getting booked well in advance, it’s wise to start thinking about dates quite early. This is especially the case if you’re looking to have your wedding within a year or two of getting engaged. Start by discussing the ideal time of year or month with your significant other. Then, check for any holidays, birthdays, or other conflicts that you’d like to avoid double-booking. Also reach out to important loved ones, such as close friends and family members, to check for conflicts before settling on anything. Find out what works for you and those closest to you and settle on a few days or weekends that you can ask potential venues about.
You and your partner have brainstormed locations, dates, and your wedding style—now’s the time to start setting things in stone. Be pragmatic in your discussions and decisions. Start by sitting down together and drawing out a personalized budget and timeline. There’s no official timeline you need to stick to but your own, by the way. If you want to be engaged for a couple years, do that. Circle back to planning in a few months or years.
If that’s not you, however, start with a location and date. Once you have both of those, reach out to venues. Figure out what they have for availability around your desired date and book it. From there you can begin looking into and booking other vendors, such as a wedding planner, catering, and entertainment.
Wedding planning has the potential to be pretty stressful right off the bat. With guest list creating, wedding venue touring, spreadsheet making, and every other aspect of the wedding planning process right around the corner, don’t forget to make time to enjoy being engaged. Set some time aside for a relaxing date night, just the two of you. Put the beginning stages of planning on pause and focus on each-other and how happy you are to be where you’re at right now.
You’re engaged. You’re extremely thrilled and excited. Of course you want to let everyone within earshot—or everyone with access to a smart phone—know of the good news. We get it, it’s convenient to make a couple posts online. And while it’s completely up to you who you tell and how you do it, you probably don’t want the friend you lost touch with after college finding out via Facebook that you’re engaged before your own parents or best friends. Withhold from making any social media posts until you’ve delivered the news to your important people in person, if not via a phone call.
Upon telling loved ones of your engagement, chances are you’re going to be hearing a lot of advice from those that have had a wedding. Take any and all unsolicited advice with grace, but don’t be quick to take it to heart. While you may come to agree with and appreciate some advice here and there, you definitely don’t need to take or even consider it all. Offer a “thank you,” pocket what gems you can, and move forward.
Likewise, you may begin getting requests very soon after you start planning (or even talking about) your wedding. Who to invite, where to have your wedding, desires for a plus one—it can come at you fast, from all angles. Don’t agree to or commit to any of these asks within the first few weeks of being engaged. Many of these requests you won’t even know if you’ll be able or willing to fulfill until you figure out your budget, priorities, and own desires. If anyone asks about your and your partner’s plans, simply respond with a polite, but firm response, like, “We’re currently figuring out what we want and haven’t set anything in stone yet.”
Planning a wedding is quite the undertaking, and any wedding checklist is bound to look intimidating at first. With that in mind, don’t let these things send you into a panic. Despite its reputation for being a bit stressful, wedding planning can be a wonderful time and a lot of fun. You and your significant other are planning your ideal celebration of your love—it’s supposed to be exciting! Some stressful elements can’t be ignored, but try not to let them overwhelm you too much. Take your time, don’t compare, and lean on each-other for support.
Remember how important it is to think about the big picture? You’ll want to put considerable time into that before booking a venue or any vendors for your big day. We know that locking down a space or photographer you love ASAP can be stressful, but trust us, you want to take the time to be really clear about what you both want before making anything official. Try not to rush. Allow yourselves the time to dream, find inspiration, and bounce ideas and desires off of one-another.
From maid of honor to best man, bridesmaids to groomsmen, and every bridal party and wedding party member in-between. There’s potential for a lot of loved ones to be involved in your wedding day. While this is one of the most exciting parts of planning a wedding, we highly recommend you hold off a few weeks before asking anyone to take on a role. Many things throughout an engagement can shape not only who you’ll want by your side, but how many people you’ll be able to have do so. Wait to ask until you’ve figured out your wedding’s basics—your budget, venue, and the type of wedding you want, to start.
As with requests and potential wedding party members, hold off on inviting anyone to your wedding until you have planning underway. The excitement of being newly engaged, added to the love and well-wishes from all around, can have you wanting to share the excitement and invite everyone. Refrain. Better to keep things polite and vague now, than to be put in an awkward position when someone doesn’t make the guest list later on.
It’s incredibly tempting to start trying on wedding dresses, suits, and other wedding day attire soon after getting engaged. However, it’s crucial that you don’t jump in to soon. At this point, odds are you aren’t yet decided on your budget or what you really want. Rushing this process and making a purchase too soon out of excitement can lead to regret and financial issues down the line. Wait until you’re sure of what you’re looking for and can afford before making any try-on appointments.
Throughout the first few weeks of being engaged, you might receive celebratory cards and even gifts from friends and family. This is even more likely if you have an engagement party. Maintain a list of everyone who sends or brings you a card and/or gift, so that you can send out proper thank you cards.
We’re aware that we’re reiterating, here, but it’s worth the reminder. Don’t get so immediately wrapped up in wedding planning that you forget to enjoy being engaged. Skipping over this part can lead to considerable stress later on. Pop some bubbly, spend quality time with your fiancé(e), and bask in the excitement from all of those closest to you.
Once you’ve checked these boxes, you’ll be ready to go all in on wedding planning. Buckle up, because it can (read: probably will) get hectic. Just remember to take a pause every now and then to enjoy being engaged.