Someone pretty amazing gave you a ring. And you are over the moon ready to jump into planning. But caution. It can get overwhelming. And there will be a million and one details and opinions you will have to contend with and decide on.
I have listened to lots of brides and grooms (and parents) talk about all the things they want and hope for and come time, the budget won't allow it or someone ends up unhappy.
If you google "What to do now that I am engaged" you are going to find a crazy number of what to do's. This may be one of them. But I look at things a little differently. So bear with me, enjoy, and let me know if any of these help you! I did most of these and it helped so much!
Enjoy this moment! Don't pick up your phone first. Take a minute to breathe and check out the giver and realize that your dreams are about to come true. This is the moment you have been waiting for and the two of you deserve to live in this moment. It is a pretty amazing feeling.
Get a manicure. Why? Everyone is going to be looking at that hand. And so are you. I cannot recount how many times I would stop everything I was doing and look down at my hand and exhale. I loved it. And a pretty mani never hurt anyone has it?
Invite your parents, adopted parents, friends and closest family over to surprise them all! It doesn't have to be a feast but a enough to keep them busy until you break the news! And be selfie ready because this is the time to go crazy! It is also a great ice breaker if your parents have not met each other. Your favorite people can meet their favorite people and the wedding party can begin from day one!
This is the time to decide on a long engagement or a date. Personally, I loved having a long engagement. I wanted to be a Mrs but I was also loving the new title of fiance. This gave us time also to put together a budget, decide what we wanted, and get used to the butterflies in our bellies. My fiance wanted a small wedding, minimal in most ideas, and I wanted the wedding my mom and I planned. A bigger venue, lots of friends and family, lots of food! We had to meet in the middle. And I loved that we did!
Have you ever heard of a vision board? Well, this is an amazing tool for brides and grooms. Ladies, don't get upset if your soon to be other half is not into colors and favors here. You can both get a board, put everything you have dreamt of for this day, things you like as far as colors, dress ideas, your wedding party, the venue etc. Get crazy doing this in the beginning. Then compare it to each other's board. Look for the things you both agree on, what is the most important, and then make one board where you combine these things. This will not only help with planning the day, it will help you with the budget. IF you are paying for your wedding day on your own, you know that staying in budget it important but if you have no budget and can just plan away, do it. I love visionboarding and think it is great for helping with decisions, working together, and creating something you both love.
Now that you know what you want to do, you can start the research process. The vision board is going to help you pick the type of venue you want to get married and have your reception at. There are so many styles! It will also help you undertstand the cost of each place and what it will cost to hold your wedding there. Some venues include everything. That can be a huge bonus, but I was very leary when I loved most of what some venues provided and I was not feeling others. My best example is photography. A friend of mine got married at a venue that provided the photographer. She thought great! One less thing to do. She wishes now she had done a little more research because she doesn't care for most (not all) of her portraits from that day. Which is the second vendor you should start looking for now. Most book out 10-18 months in advance. The style of your photography is very important when choosing your photographer. You are going to be looking at these pictures for the rest of your life. If your photographer is better at posed and you are uncomfortable with being posed, thats a problem. But if you need the direction from your photographer in order to pose because you don't feel confident you need to find the photographer who can make you feel comfortable. Styles are also very different from one to photographer to the next. Interview lots of photographers. Talk to them, look at pictures online. Ask them how they work and how they get things done. I will have another post to follow later with questions to ask and red flags to watch for!
Pick your wedding party! This is the group of guys and gals that are going to make your day AMAZING! Pick the ones that love you so much you cry thinking about them not being there. Job requirements: Fun, happy, loves you, you love them, they make you laugh, they will tell you the truth and they will have your back when you need them. They think long term about fun. They have the best ideas, and you know they will make sure you have everything you need for the perfect day. Put their pictures on top of your final vision board! The board is coming to life now!
So you have done your research and you have the perfect venue, the photographer that makes you feel comfortable, and you love their style. You are smooth sailing through this process. Now it is time for your engagement session. Get a mani, get your hair done, get your make up done. Dress up! You can go to rent the runway and find some amazing clothing to rock out your engagement session! These are not just every day pictures. this is when you are announcing to the WORLD your intentions. You are getting married on a certain date and you want your favorite people there. From these engagement pictures you can build your save the date cards to give those amazing people in your life the heads up on a certain date, they need to be there. This is especially helpful for people who need to take the time off of work, make travel plans, etc. But the engagement session is not just about save the date cards. Use these pictures as gifts for moms, dads, grandparents, Godparents etc. Use them in your home! Use them at your wedding, Bridal shower, and engagement party. But what ever you do, do not put them in a drawer or on a hard drive and leave them there. Engagement sessions are more than just for pictures though. More on that later!
Now, remember those vision boards? Set them aside. Build your vision board on your marriage. Not your wedding. Put your vision to use together and dream up your ideal life with the other half of your heart. This is one thing I wish I had done with my husband! We have a vision board now that we update yearly. It started out with just a house that we made a home, furniture, vacations, games for game nights, get togethers with our friends and so forth. I have an infinity sign on every board we have ever done together. And we always include gratitude on each board. We could lose everything tomorrow and that would be horrible but we will always have each other. That is what our marriage is based on. If you have never done a vision board you can always google it or find tons of details on pinterest. I had learned about them in high school. I have done one every year since. And now I do them for every part of my life. It is amazing how the mind works and what they teach you about yourself!
Now here you. At number ten. Just sit back. Relax. And LOVE where you are in life and who you are with! Remember not to sweat the small stuff. Have FUN planning the first day of your marriage!