He popped the question.
You had the moment you’ve been dreaming about for so long.
You’re giddy. Hello, Cloud 9!! And if you’re anything like I was, you can’t stop saying, “tehehehe!” and giggling like a little schoolgirl.
My now-husband, Nate proposing in 2010. 2 things are obvious – I was totally surprised, and we both needed haircuts. 😉
And then, it happens.
At some point after he puts the ring on your finger, everything sets in.
Venue. Date. Dress. Bridal party. Decor. Colors. Budget.
It’s a lot. And you aren’t alone if you feel a little overwhelmed.
So, what’s the first thing you should do after you get engaged?
Before you start dive into full wedding planning mode, take some time with your fiance to think about these 5 things.
1. What’s your dream wedding?
Sure, you’ve dreamt about your big day. The dress. The decor. The flowers. The vows. But when you take away details, what does your dream day feel like? What would your wedding be like if everything were exactly how you wanted it to be? Dream big here, it will help you discover what your perfect day really looks like. Is it an intimate ceremony with just close friends and family? Is it a huge party with dancing that goes into the night? Is it a winter day with fresh snow on the ground, or a beach that you can go barefoot on? Do you want tears or laughter? Or both? Pick the feel for your wedding and let the details follow.
Stephanie & Matt’s backyard wedding was full of laughter and dancing. Even their pup Luna hung out for the night!
2. Check in with your family.
Do all of your decisions for your wedding need to be based on what your family wants? Absolutely not. But there may be one or two things that your parents have always dreamed of, or maybe your Grandma would be tickled pink if you wore her wedding ring. Maybe your Grandpa has always dreamed of giving a blessing at dinner. Knowing what’s important to everyone will let you figure out what you want to include and what you don’t want to include. For our wedding, my mom really wanted a few of her close friends to be there, and it was great knowing before we made the guest list so we could save some space!
Kaitlin and Mark made sure that Mark’s son, Owen, and their grandparents had special roles in the wedding. It made everything just that much more meaningful on the day.
Traci and Adam had their daughter, Chanel, lead their vow renewal.
3. Set your priorities BEFORE you pick a date.
You’ll soon realize how many items go into a wedding budget! From big things like the venue to little things like napkins! Every couple has to decide what’s most important to them, and focus their date (and budget!) around that. Have you always dreamed about getting married at a particular venue? Contact them for availability before you set a date! Is photography the most important thing to you? Find your photographer before you set your date. Venues and vendors book up quickly, and often times far in advance, so don’t feel like you have to rush to set a date before you pick some key people! For our wedding, we found our photographer, and then picked our date!
Alexandra and Tom wanted the perfect winter wedding, so thinking about Colorado weather was definitely something to consider before booking their venue!
Stephanie & Brian wanted a sentimental date for their day, so they booked vendors over a year in advance, knowing it may be a challenge to get all of the vendors they wanted to work with together on their specific date.
4. Set a budget.
Sounds obvious, right? But…it’s much more fun to shop for dresses and dream of bouquets than think about the dreaded budget. Talk to anyone who might want to contribute to your day, and get everything set first, before you start your planning! When you know what budget you have, you can think about what parts of the wedding are most important to you, and allocate enough for them.
Have you been dreaming of decor, flowers, and cake? Save room in your budget to make those things great!
Or…are you ok with more simplistic details and want to focus on more on location?
5. Remember – this is YOUR wedding!
Do you want to have some of your guy friends on the bride’s side of the bridal party? Do it.
Do you want to skip the garter toss? Do it.
Do you want to have ice cream instead of cake? Do it.
Do you want to have your dog as your flower girl? Do it. (Our dog, Charli, was the “flower girl” in our wedding and my sister’s wedding!)
Do you want to have a mac and cheese bar? Do it. Because OH MY GOD THAT SOUNDS SO GOOD!!!
Do you want to have a pink dress? Do it.
This is your day. And it happens once. Let it show who you are.
Rice crispie cake? Stephanie & Brian’s cake was perfectly them.
Giant Jenga during cocktail hour!
Chunky necklace paired with a classic lace dress? Absolutely.
Who says wedding shoes have to be traditional?
And who says you can’t take bridal portraits by the steam train?
Bonus – Have fun!
Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? It may at first, but wedding planning can get stressful, and it can get stressful fast. There are a million and one things to think about, and sometimes it gets overwhelming. Find someone who can help you – a planner, your maid of honor, your mom, your fiance – someone! And then, enjoy the process. There are memories to be made in the wedding planning process just like the day itself. I mean, that dress you try on that looks absolutely ridiculous on you – you should definitely snap a photo of that for future laughs 😉
And let’s face it, when you run into a lady on the street who perfectly matches the guys’ socks and ties, you just have to stop and recognize how great it is!