With engagement season upon us (and right on time it is!), I am finding many newly engaged couples elated about their new life milestone, but also overwhelmed with just the thought of planning a wedding and they have no idea where to start.
That’s why I’m here to help! Here are the first 5 things to do once you get engaged:
1. Embrace the moment and then announce the big news
The day has come! You’ve probably wondered how this moment was going to go your entire life, and now it’s finally happened!
Now is the time to soak it all in.
Take some time to be together, enjoy this ‘just got engaged’ feeling. You don’t have to immediately call everyone and post a photo of your new ring on social media. This moment is about you and your partner, so let it be! You’ll be so thankful you did.
Once you’ve fully embraced the newly engaged moments with your partner, now is the time to announce the news to your loved ones. But hang on! The order in which you give people this news is important.
First: Make the announcement to your family
Second: Tell your friends
Third: Inform your acquaintances and post on social media
In addition to the order in which you make this announcement, there are also appropriate ways to actually deliver the news. This is not the time for a quick text! Ideally, you want to tell family and close friends in person. However, this is 2020 and being in person just isn’t an easy thing anymore, so take the time out of your day to actually make a phone call or, even better, have a FaceTime call. Once those calls are made, then share that post on Instagram and get ready for all the social media …engagement. (pun intended 😏)
2. Start exploring wedding styles
One thing that’s great about 2020 is that truly anything goes when it comes to your wedding.
There’s no right or wrong way your wedding is supposed to be, so especially when it comes to style, you can give your wedding day whatever vibe you want it to have. If you want to combine modern and classic styles, you do it. If you want it to be elegant AND adventurous, there’s no stopping you! Any kind of style you want, you can have.
Narrowing down styles might honestly be the hardest part. I highly encourage looking through wedding websites and wedding magazines for a little inspiration. Once you’ve got some ideas of what you like, start a Pinterest board and pin to your heart’s desire! Eventually, you’ll start to notice a style pattern in your Pins, and making decisions later down the line will be much easier.
3. Decide on a budget and choose a wedding planner
It’s super important to discuss your wedding budget with your partner and whoever else may be involved with paying for your wedding. Having a realistic idea of the total amount you have to spend for your wedding will streamline the vendor booking process. Don’t avoid this conversation until you have already fallen in love with certain parts of your wedding. Have this discussion early on so you don’t get hung up on people/places/things you can’t squeeze in the budget.
Once you have a budget in mind, hire a wedding planner! It will be one of the best investments you can make on your wedding day. Wedding planners are there to tell you if your budget is realistic, and if so, they will make sure they do their best to help you stay within that budget. Planners are also there to help you find vendors, make your timeline, and assist you on your actual wedding day. On the big day, they will re-confirm vendors, make sure that you stay on schedule, set up and breakdown decor, and more depending on your specific needs. A high quality wedding planner is truly an indispensable resource.
4. Find a wedding venue & select a wedding date
Once you’re ready to start booking vendors, it’s important to remember that choosing a wedding date isn’t always as easy as, “I want April 25th because it’s not too hot, not too cold, all you need is a light jacket.” (Thank you Miss Congeniality). You might have a date in mind and then find that the vendors you want don’t have that date available until three years from the time you start looking. This is why I suggest choosing a wedding “season” (month & year) and then work with your most important vendors to find a date when everyone is available.
The first vendor I recommend booking is a wedding venue. In the fast-paced wedding market, venues book up quickly so making this choice first will be the foundation to you booking all other vendors. It’s very hard to book other vendors (i.e. photogaphers, caterers, etc.) if you don’t know exactly when and where you will be having your wedding prior to booking them.
Selecting a wedding venue will take some leg-work! You’re going to want to tour your favorite venues to get an idea of what it actually looks like in person. I will write a separate blog post about how to choose a wedding venue at a later date, but for now…
Pay attention to the way the sun hits the ceremony site at the time you want to have your ceremony, and also how the overall layout will flow between ceremony > cocktail hour > and your reception.
5. Book a wedding photographer
Wedding photographers in Austin are normally booked 1 – 2 years out. So, if you’re getting married in the next three – six months and you haven’t booked a photographer yet, finding an available photographer that matches the look you want for your wedding photos that’s also in your price range is probably going to be your toughest task. Unfortunately, you will probably have to compromise somewhere if you’re that close to your wedding date.
In order to find your ideal photographer whose editing style you love, that is within your price range, and who you vibe with so well that you’re open to sharing the most intimate moments of one of the biggest days of your life, booking them many months (if not 1+ year in advance) is essential.
The most important thing to keep in mind when booking a wedding photographer is that this person (or team!) will be photographing one of the most important days of your life, and these photos will last far beyond your wedding day. Your flowers, wedding cake, reception dinner, etc. will not last past your wedding day. Your photos will last an entire lifetime, if not even longer – so this is not an area you where want to skimp out.
Once these first 5 tasks are done, then you can start to focus on more of the details of your wedding day. I would start by choosing your wedding party and then go on to booking other vendors like caterers, florists, DJ/band, etc. If you have a wedding planner, they will be able to help you immensely when it comes to finding vendors that match what you’re looking for as well as fitting within your budget.
As a photographer, I have worked nearly 100 weddings over the past couple of years alone, and I LOVE to give wedding day tips and tricks from a photographer’s perspective. To learn even more wedding day hacks, tune in to my Instagram Live Weddings & Wine series on Instagram Live on Thursdays at 7PM! (Don’t worry if you can’t make an episode – they’re all posted on my IGTV as well!)
Until next time! 🙂