I'm Engaged! Now What?

By Carly Totten, Lover.ly

The first moments after you get engaged will likely pass by in a complete blur as you bask in your excitement. There will be calls to family and friends, posts on social media, and times when you just can't believe what is happening (or maybe you can). However, once all of the calls have been made and your general excitement settles into complete happiness, you may start to panic ever so slightly. What do I do now? Our advice: stop stressing and read on because below you will find the first five steps you should take on your wedding planning journey.

Photo by: Justina Louise Photography on Justina Louise Photography via Lover.ly

Photo by: Justina Louise Photography on Justina Louise Photography via Lover.ly


Determine Your Budget: Whether your parents have elected to pay a large portion or you and your fiancé will be covering all of your costs, determine your budget for your wedding. Decide what is most important to you. If you value the pictures captured, set aside a larger portion to cover the cost of a top-notch photographer. On the other hand, if both of you are foodies, plan a menu to remember. Once you have determined your budget, create a spreadsheet and keep track of everything. Our most important advice: stick with it - knowing you have gone over budget in the end can cause stress, while staying within or under is cause for celebration.

Photo by: Thayer Gowdy on Snippet & Ink via Lover.ly

Photo by: Thayer Gowdy on Snippet & Ink via Lover.ly

What's Your Style: Once your budget is decided, jump into one of the fun steps - defining your wedding style. What do you and your fiancé love? Do you both love being outside, or have you attended black-tie celebrations and thought we want that? Brainstorm and make a list of what you love, and make sure to set aside time to search through Lover.ly. Here, you can type in search terms like rustic, beach, ballroom, modern, and more to see photos from real weddings to help you to determine what you want for your wedding.

Photo by: Ashley Daniell Photography on Glamour and Grace via Lover.ly

Photo by: Ashley Daniell Photography on Glamour and Grace via Lover.ly

Choose Your Date: When choosing your date, there are a couple factors to keep in mind. Think about the style you and your fiancé decided on in the previous step. If a seaside celebration is one you want to plan, make sure the weather at your destination will be warm enough for guests to be outside. On the other hand, if a formal ballroom feels more like you, your venue is likely inside so your wedding does not have to occur at the height of wedding season's spring and summer months. In addition, days of the week play a factor too. Saturday is the most expensive, while Friday and Sunday tend to cost less.

Photo by: Mirelle Carmichael on Mirelle Carmichael via Lover.ly

Photo by: Mirelle Carmichael on Mirelle Carmichael via Lover.ly

Think About Your Guests: Before meeting with vendors and choosing your venue, it's important to have a rough idea of the number of guests you would like to invite to your wedding. Venues can only hold so many people, so you don't want to have your hearts set on a barn that can only accommodate 150 guests if your list is well over 200. On the flip side, if you're envisioning a smaller celebration with only close family and friends, you may not need to look at large venues that will take away from the intimacy of your event. When thinking about your guest list, keep your best friends in mind. Who do you think you and your groom will ask to be bridesmaids and groomsmen?

Photo by: Rebecca Arthurs on Wedding Chicks via Lover.ly

Photo by: Rebecca Arthurs on Wedding Chicks via Lover.ly

Book Your Vendors: Now is the time to start setting up meetings with event planners, venues, and photographers. If you plan to work with an event planner (we highly recommend it!), she will likely have venue suggestions for you, as well as the ability to negotiate with other vendors such as photographers and caterers. If an event planner is not in your budget, start setting up times to look at venues in your preferred area. It's also vitally important to research, meet with, and book your photographer at this point. All three of these vendors can have dates blocked off up to a year in advance, so meet with them first.

Where are you in your wedding planning process? Let us know if you have any questions in the comments!

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