So you’re engaged. AHHHHHHHH CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!! What a truly incredible time in your life. You found your soulmate! Cue all the happy tears. I just want to take a second and say I wish you both a wonderful marriage and all the happiness in the world.
Ok, so your significant other popped the question, you said yes, and now you’re saying “Oh no, what’s next?” Don’t you worry girl, I’m here to help! I recently got married and when I look back on my engagement process there are a few things I wish I would have known and did differently. So here they are in the order I wish I did them. Don’t get me wrong, this is YOUR wedding, and there is no right or wrong way to plan it. But here are just a couple tips I hope you can implement that may make your transition to FIANCÉ a little smoother.
This might sound like a given but it’s not. Take this time to not only celebrate with your significant other but with your family and friends. Some engagements may last longer than others (there is no right or wrong amount of time) but the ultimate goal is to have a wedding which means you won’t be a fianceée or have a fiancé forever, so take advantage of this season of your life. Soak it in, go slow, reflect on the change in your relationship. You only get to use the term FIANCÉE for so long so wear it out girlfriend!
Bonus Tip: One of my favorite ways I celebrated with my husband when we got engaged was taking engagement pictures. We went to Joshua Tree (my favorite place in the world) and rented a cute Airbnb with our brother and sister in law (@iron&fern), and it was the funnest mini- vacay/photoshoot ever. 10/10 engagement photos.
Sit down with your significant other/family (whomever is going to be paying for your wedding) and talk money. I know this may sound like a hard conversation to have because let’s be real, who wants to talk about money, but it’s SO IMPORTANT. Establishing a budget puts realistic parameters in place for planning. It also makes everyone aware what their role is as far as what may be needed for your special day. When we had our budget talk I made a Google spreadsheet, and this really kept us on track. I put in each of the tasks we needed for the wedding in one column and next to them I put how much we could allocate to it. Then in the column over I put how much that vendor actually costs. Google Sheets are very user-friendly and you can total all your expenses to see if you are on target while you book vendors. Google Sheets also allows you to share your document with whomever may need to see it.
One of the first things I did once I got into the planning phase of my wedding was create a new email. I created a new email so I could keep “all things wedding” in one place, and me and my husband could both have access. Vendor emails, our budget on Google Sheets, and even some mood boards on Google Docs all in one spot. Having a separate email will save you the headache of mixing your personal emails with your wedding emails. Trust me, you will be receiving plenty of vendor emails and being able to see them uncluttered from all your personal emails is so nice. Make it fun, your email can be something cute like your wedding hashtag or your future last name or anything that makes you think of your big day. It was also nice to leave all the wedding emails behind once we were married. You may subscribe to wedding email lists during your planning and once you’re married and those emails no longer apply to you, there they will stay, in your wedding email.
Not to make this an ad for Google BUT do yourself a favor and make a Google Sheets of your guest list. I made a tab for my people and my husband made a tab for his, and both were able to be in the same document, shared and worked on at the same time. Making a guest list is super important because it puts in perspective what type of wedding might be right for you (traditional wedding or elopement, your budget can also help with this) as well as the type of venue you will be in search of. Most venues either have a guest list count they can accommodate, or different packages that are available based on your wedding size so making this prior to booking your venue is nice so that you can come in with a concrete number prior to your venue hunt so you aren’t stuck cutting people when your dream venue only seats 50 or whatever the case may be.
I recommend making your guest list on Google Sheets not only because they can be shared easily and multiple people can work on it (this is helpful for mom to make her list as well), but because you can write all your names out and then get all the addresses and put them easily in the column over from the name. This may sound like a no-brainer but this will save so much time when you send out save-the-dates, once you get replies from invites, thank you cards after the wedding, and it’s just nice to have friends and family addresses on file to send gifts, letters, or Christmas cards in the future.
A cool but kinda nerdy thing I did when I made my sheet was color coordinate when people sent back their invites based on their responses if they answered “Yes” I marked it with a Y and they were green and if they were a “No” they were an N and were red. When getting ready to make my seating chart I sorted the column of names by Y and then only had the green names to sort through.
Here is a quick breakdown of what I mean.
Here is a mock of a fake guest list where people have already submitted their Yes and Nos so I have marked them as such.
If we select column A and go to data in the toolbar, we then select create a filter.
After we have created a filter on column A we can then go to that column and clear everything
but the Ys. After we do this we should be left with only the people who replied Y or Yes to the wedding invite.
So here we can see that my current guest count is 5. You can manually add the numbers in this column or make the sheet do it with a formula similar to =SUM(D2, D4) and press enter.
Looking for vendors would be next on my list. You can look for your vendors in any order but I would find your venue first. Finding your venue first is advised because oftentimes if you don’t go in with a set date, your venue will provide you with dates they have available. Having a date will then set you up to talk to the rest of your vendors to make sure they are available.
Once you have found a venue and you set your date (happy dance) I would then search for photographers and or videographers. Photographer/Videographer is next on the list because we book out one, sometimes two years in advance. Don’t get me wrong, other vendors book out quickly as well but photos and videos will help you remember the most important day of your life for the rest of your life, so they hold high importance in my book.
Now you have your date, venue, your photo and video, the following vendors in your level of importance will be next.
Finding vendors can be as easy as typing “blank vendor in blank area” on Google. Vendors can also be found at bridals shows. This is a place where all types of vendors in the wedding industry get together on a day and show their products to brides-to-be. These can also be found with a Google search but Instagram is an excellent tool as well.
Do not wait to book your vendors. With 2020 being the year it was, many weddings were postponed to 2021, and people continue to get engaged daily, making vendor calendars crazy full. If you know you want someone or something at your wedding, book it ASAP!
All in all, have fun with planning. If you read this post and thought, “WOW, I’M OVERWHELMED”, don’t worry I totally understand. Planning can be stressful, I’m not going to lie, I let it get the best of me a couple of times. BUT at the end of the day, I had so much fun with it and it was a great experience that gave me my dream wedding! You only get to plan your first wedding one time, make sure to make it fun, it’s special. Make your day the day of your dreams. And hey, if planning a wedding isn’t your jam, maybe eloping or a destination resort wedding is more your style. It requires a lot less planning and can still give you an AMAZING wedding. I think I will make a pst about eloping in the future. I hope some of my tips can help you. Thanks so much for reading. Hope you enjoy the photos below of Mike and Dezz’s “Styled Shoot“, turned surprise proposal in the Pismo Dunes. Follow along for more tips for couples madly in love. https://devynbphoto.com/blog/