“Will you marry me?” He just said those 4 words you’d been waiting what seems like forever to hear. You giddily say yes, and you’re officially a newly engaged couple! Yay!!
After the initial excitement, you might then think, “Well, now what? Do we share on social? Should our parents meet? Who do we invite to the wedding? What the heck is next?!” Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. :)
Tips for the Newly Engaged Couple
As the, “I’m engaged now what?” questions start flooding your brain, first and foremost, take a deep breath. It might seem a little overwhelming to know what the next best steps to take are, especially if you haven’t been involved in any sort of wedding planning before. Here are 21 things I recommend you do once you are engaged!
1. Get Ready to Tell the Proposal Story Over and Over
First and foremost, mentally prepare yourselves to tell the story of how he proposed. A lot. This will likely be the first question family, friends, basically everyone… asks you! And, while you don’t have to have it recited word for word with note cards on hand, have a basic idea of how you two want the story to unfold.
2. Call Both Sets of Parents
Unless your family was there to witness the proposal, let them be the first to know about it! While it’s probably okay for your long lost, twice removed cousin to find out via Instagram about the engagement, your mom deserves to find out directly from you!
Whether it’s a phone call, FaceTime, or an in-person visit, let both sets of parents (and siblings) know before you go telling the world.
3. Let Your Close Friends Know
Once family is in the loop about the proposal, think about any close friends that you want to personally tell before going social with it.
Tip: If talk about specific wedding plans come up from them (especially about who might be in your wedding party or invited to the wedding), don’t feel pressured to guarantee any of that just yet! Let them know that you’re just enjoying being engaged right now and haven’t given much thought to wedding specifics.
4. Get a Manicure
With some new bling to show off after you’re just engaged, your hands are likely going to be in the spotlight and make more appearances in photos. While it might not seem like a big deal to have semi-chipped nail polish on your thumb and pinky finger, it can really stand out in pictures!
Do yourself a favor and get a fresh coat of paint (and maybe even treat yourself to a pedicure while sitting in a massage chair while you’re at it – umm, yes please!). :)
5. Insure the Ring
Ok, this might not be the most exciting thing on this list, but it’s IMPORTANT! Your man just dropped some dough for your ring, and the last thing you’d want to do is lose it without having it insured (this will probably be the FIRST thing we do with my ring, since I’m reallllly good at misplacing things :)).
You can find some really affordable and reasonable insurance rates, so don’t let cost be the reason for leaving your ring uninsured!
6. Share on Social Platforms
Find a photo or two that you want to share, update your Facebook status to engaged, and get ready for the flood of likes, comments, and DMs once you share on social!
Posting socially can be a lot of fun, but it can also be overwhelming if people start pushing you for details about the wedding. Remember, it’s okay to let them know that no solidified plans have been made, and you’re just taking your time with engaged life!
7. Stay Organized
Once you and your fiance (yes, you can finally call him that!!) decide that it’s time to start wedding planning, you NEED to stay organized. Seriously, it will be a nightmare if you aren’t, and a game changer if you are.
Whether you’re a spreadsheet and Google Docs enthusiast or prefer to get a giant wedding planning book, be sure you have some way to keep track of and record everything that goes on during the process.
8. Set a Realistic Budget
Flying out all of your guests to see you get married in a quaint and charming village in France might sound amazing, but is it realistically something you can budget for? When it comes to planning a wedding, it’s crucial that you guys sit down and talk about what you want to (and can) spend on the entire event. Until you do this, it’s hard to actually plan out your wedding.
9. Determine the Guest List
Do you want a small, intimate wedding with your family and closest friends, or are you thinking about inviting everyone you know? Like the budget, figuring out your guest list early on is really important, because it will likely dictate other decisions you make throughout the wedding planning process.
You don’t necessarily need to send out any Save the Dates at this point, it’s good to have a general idea of how many guests you’re planning to invite.
10. Set Your Wedding Date
If it didn’t already feel real before this, there’s nothing like setting a date to solidify things! When it comes to picking a date, here are a couple of things to think through:
- Do you want a short or a long engagement?
- What season do you want to get married during (what type of weather are you hoping for)?
- What time of year are you two the least busy?
11. Hire a Wedding Planner
This can be SUCH a lifesaver. Even if you are super organized, having a professional help you with all of the wedding details can save you time, energy, and nights of being stressed.
Wedding planners are also going to have insights, tips, and things for you to take into consideration that you may not have thought of on your own. All in all, they’re going to make your life easier during your time as a newly engaged couple.
12. Research and Pick a Wedding Venue
Depending on how long you want to enjoy the season of being engaged will help to dictate how soon you should lock in your venue. As soon as you know your date, it’s a good idea to start looking at venues to get an idea for what’s available.
When it comes to picking a location, there are numerous options, especially in San Diego! Think through if you want a wedding on the sandy shores of La Jolla, in the vineyards in Temecula, in a building with historical charm in downtown San Diego, or on a golf course in Carlsbad (to name a few spots). Be sure to visit places you are considering to help you make your decisions!
13. Find a Wedding Photographer
This is important to do early on in the planning process! Most photographers (including myself) only take a limited number of weddings per year, and those spots can get booked up a year or so in advance.
Once you know your wedding date, start looking for a photographer that has a style you like, and is someone you could see yourself getting along with! For my couples, I am typically pretty involved in their planning stages (sharing advice, helping them with schedules and timelines, etc), so it’s important that we’re a good fit for one another!
Also, by finding your wedding photographer early on, it gives you more time to plan out your engagement shoot. You’ll generally have more flexibility with the date, especially as it relates to the location you want your engagement session to happen at.
14. Register for Gifts
Ok, so this isn’t one you need to do right away, but it’s a fun one! Take a little break from wedding planning and head out to a few stores you want to register at – Crate and Barrel, Target, William and Sonoma, etc.
Several stores offer discounts to you when you register with them, so browse around to see what different discounts each has. Remember that you can register on Amazon too!
15. Build a Wedding Website
There are several different sites you can build your wedding page on, such as The Knot. Having a site is a great way to easily share your engagement story, photos of you two, wedding details, and gift registry.
By placing any pertinent information on your site, you can quickly direct guests there when they have standard questions (What time does the ceremony start? What are my dinner options?), rather than taking time to answer them individually.
16. Determine Non-negotiables
Is there something you or your fiance feel like is a must-have at your wedding? Maybe it’s a certain food, color scheme, or location. Communicating these with one another and knowing what one another’s non-negotiables are will help set expectations for the wedding, and it will also help in knowing how much of your budget will be allocated to these things.
17. Decide on a Theme
By selecting a theme early on, it will help you stay focused throughout the planning process. If you know you want a wedding on the beach with details that are reminiscent of the ocean, it will help you from getting distracted from all of the other decor options that are opposite of this.
18. Select a Color Palette
When it comes to selecting your wedding colors, there are a here are a few things to think about:
- What do you want the overall mood to be like?
- What season are you getting married in? Are there colors that make more sense to use or avoid?
- How many colors do you want to incorporate?
While picking colors may not be as simple as using your two favorite colors and calling it a day, don’t overthink it! Look at a color wheel to see what colors pair nicely together, or think about which colors will look best with the venue you selected.
19. Set Time for Parents to Meet
If your sets of parents haven’t met yet, now is the time to do it! Having them meet for the first time during the rehearsal dinner is not ideal, and it doesn’t give them time to really get to know one another.
Try to find a weekend where you can all get together in the same location and spend some quality time! If it’s not possible to physically meet, at least plan a Skype or FaceTime meetup.
20. Be a Team
Planning a wedding takes work. It’s not as simple as sitting down one afternoon with a bottle of champagne and figuring every detail out. It takes time, and it takes teamwork! If you’re typically the type of person that likes to handle everything yourself, this will be a good exercise in letting go and leaning on your other half to help out. :)
21. Don’t Procrastinate
In college, I always seemed to do my best work when I procrastinated (we’re talking, up at 3am the night before that 20 page paper was due, still working through my rough draft). I’d like to attribute part of my good grades to structured procrastination, but don’t fall into the procrastination trap with your wedding planning.
Let me repeat the important part: Do. Not. Procrastinate. Your future self will thank you later if you plan ahead and stay on top of your plans!
So, there you have it! Use this engagement advice as a reference for what to do after getting engaged. Above all, enjoy this time that you get to call one another fiance. Soak in engaged life, because this chapter typically doesn’t last super long!