I'm engaged! Now what?
Congrats! You're engaged! While you may still be giddy with excitement, recounting the proposal in your head, knowing what to do next can be daunting. Here's a few tips on what you should be thinking about (after you've called your mum, of course.)
Step 1: Get your ring resized
Is your ring sliding off your finger or too tight? It's important to get it resized ASAP; the last thing you want is a blue finger or loose your ring in the shower. Make sure you find a reputable and experienced jeweller. Everything from your diet, time of day, and climate can influence your finger size, but in general, a good fit should slide on with relative ease and come off with slight difficulty. If your ring has specific settings or precious gems, it's important to carefully examine these after they've been set. If the stones move with your fingernail or even toothpick, take the ring back to the jeweller for adjustments immediately. The process could take anywhere from a couple hours to a few days, but its an investment you won't want to skimp on.
Step 2: Start thinking about setting a date
After all the "congratulations" and "let me see the ring," everyone will be asking you "when's the big day?" Planning a wedding takes anywhere from six months to a year on average. And It's not unusual for vendors like photographers and videographers to get booked a year in advance, so setting a timeline allows you and your hubby-to-be plan ahead!
Step 3: Set a budget
This is probably the least fun but most important thing to do before you start making things come to life. You should have at least a range or limit just to keep you on track and avoid overspending. And be realistic! Things can add up quickly, so prioritise what is important for you and your partner before deciding what to invest in or cut costs on.
Step 4: Choose your wedding party
Have you decided on who will be your Maid of Honour, bridesmaids, best man, and groomsmen? Because it's time for you to pop the question this time! These beloved individuals will be expected to stand up with you on your big day, but also help with any necessary preparations. So, be sure to ask them ahead of time. Planning a destination wedding? All the more reasons to give them enough time to work out the logistics.
Step 5: Draft a preliminary guest list
Start thinking about who you and each of your families want to invite. This can be especially challenging, when you and your families don't agree on the direction you'll be taking (intimate vs. a LOT of people). Greek weddings, for instance, can be both overwhelmingly large and expensive. it's important to establish boundaries from the beginning and stay organised to avoid problems later on. Can't decide on who to invite? I personally like to use the two year rule: if you haven't spoken to them in two years, chances are they shouldn't be on your guest list.
Step 6: Choose a venue and a date
Picking the venue is probably one of the most important decisions you'll have to make during wedding planning. As the location of your reception, the venue not only sets the tone, but greatly influences your spending, as 50% of your budget will be on the venue, food, and drink. I recommend doing a survey of all available venues in your area. Don't forget to ask yourselves and the vendors crucial questions, such as:
Can I afford this venue?
What's the max. capacity?
What's the layout like? (i.e. a chapel onsite or ballroom)
Are there any restrictions? (i.e. definite end time or only in-house caterer)
Are there necessary facilities available? *access to a bathroom at that remote location might be a problem!
Do I have a theme or style that I'd like my venue to reflect?
Is the venue available on my date?
Remember, venues get booked fast and its recommended to secure a date fast. Planning a Chinese wedding? Factor in the time to takes to get a Feng Shui master to calculate an "auspicious" wedding date, based on you and your partner's dates and times of birth (!)
Step 7: Build a wedding website
Now that you have a venue and a date, it's time to let your guests know. This is highly recommended if you're anticipating many guests from abroad, as it allows you to share all the important information about your big day and even get RSVPS in real time. With software like Wix.com and Squarespace.com, it's easier to create, manage, and update. Guests can easily refer to the website for information on accommodation, travel directions, and important dates. Creating a website is also a beautiful way to add a personal touch and reflect the theme of your event, and include intimate details of your relationship, such as how you met and details on the proposal.
Step 8: Pick your team of experts
Behind a fantastic wedding is a great team of professionals. Before making a selection, it's important to determine what you and your fiance's priorities are: are you foodies? do you have a floral design in mind? cinematography fans? Getting these confirmed will make it easier to allocate your budget accordingly and find the right vendors.
Want to hire a planner but think it will be too expensive? In fact, wedding planners can provide insight on the best local vendors and can end up even saving you money by recommending alternative, cheaper solutions. More than anything, a planner keeps you and your partner in check and gives you peace of mind.
Once you've selected your pros, its a good idea to interview them to help you compare prices and offerings. Vendors such as photographers and videographers will be capturing your most special and intimate moments so make sure you feel comfortable with them.
Happy wedding planning, love birds!