Woohoo! You're engaged! Congratulations. We are so thrilled you have found "your person". While getting engaged can be thrilling, the after part can be somewhat overwhelming. We wanted to give you a few steps you can take to ensure a peaceful, fun and productive engagement.
Note: This is the 1st post in our engagement series. Stay tuned for future posts that will cover what questions to ask vendors, how to organize your pinterest board, and common FAQ's we receive from clients.
Step 1: Shout it from the rooftops. Once the tears have stopped and you have caught your breath, call your close friends and family and share the great news. While it may be tempting to jump on social media right away, the VIP's in your life should hear it directly from you. After you have told your family and close friends then by all means spread the news as far as twitter and instagram can carry it.
Step 2. Get the ring sized and insured. Your engagement ring is a priceless family heirloom in the making. Be sure it fits properly. Also, you will want to be sure it is insured in case something happens to it. (I have a girlfriend who accidentally left her engagement ring at the nail salon. She went in for a manicure in order to take her ring picture and she took the ring off during the hand massage. Thankfully she had insured it right away, and was able to get a replacement within two days.) Call your broker who handles your renters or home owners insurance. They will be able to add the ring to your policy very easily.
Step 3. Memorize these two sentences: "We are so excited just being engaged right now. There is plenty of time to figure out the details." Inevitably, your well meaning friends and family are going to follow up "Congratulations" with "when/where is the wedding". Just recite those two sentences and they will get the hint. It’s also good for you two to remember that you don’t have to jump into wedding planning the second you get engaged. Enjoy each stage as it comes!
Step 4. Have the talk(s). Before you dive into wedding planning, it’s important to have a few conversations. If you haven't already done so, open up your financial books to each other. You don’t want to start married life with secrets. Also, talk to each other about how long of an engagement you would like. Find out how much you each are comfortable spending on a wedding. (Note, the average cost of a wedding in Oregon is just over $30,000). You should also talk high level about what is important to each of you with the wedding. It may be the food, the drink, the flowers etc. Its always great to understand where each one of you is coming from.
Step 5. Plan some celebratory alone time. Don’t forget what got you to the point of someone "putting a ring on it". Be sure to make time for each other, and continue to do the things that made you the awesome couple you are, throughout the entire planning process.. And remember, it’s okay to not talk about the wedding from time to time.
Step 6. Open up a wedding checking account. No way around it....weddings are expensive. I recommend opening up an account to be used just for wedding expenses. Have a portion of your paycheck directly deposited into the account. In addition to helping you guys save for the wedding, it will also help you stay on top of your normal budget by preventing "wedding expense creep" in your regular checking account.
Step 7. Begin to tackle the guest list. As I mentioned, I think it is important for you two to land on a general size of wedding right from the get go. Don’t forget, the number of your guests is the biggest factor for determining wedding costs. Once you have a rough estimate of the total # of folks you want at the wedding, assemble your guest lists. (friends and family you want to invite). Once that is done, divide the remaining spots among your parents. This will ensure that in the end, the guest list and budget you want is respected, and both of your families will feel good knowing that they each can invite the same number of people. I cannot urge you enough. Be strict, but fair on the guest list.
Step 8. Hire a coordinator. While this may seem a little bit like self serving advice, since I am a wedding planner, I really truly believe that a coordinator/planner is the best way to ensure you have a wonderful engagement, and an incredible wedding. A coordinator will sit down with you and learn more about your plans. They will give you guidance on crafting a realistic budget and timeline. (this is especially true, if your budget is less than the "average" or if you are having a shorter than "normal" engagement) They will point you to trusted vendors who can carry out your vision, AND are within your budget. Google will take you down a rabbit hole rather quickly. It will save you so much time partnering with a planner/coordinator and taking full advantage of their experience. It’s also invaluable to be able to have an experienced advocate on your team for any sticky situations that arise during the planning process or on wedding day.
Step 9. Assemble your bridal party. Don’t worry about having the numbers be even. Just invite the people most important to you to stand by your side. And also don’t forget, being a bridesmaid/groomsmen is a time commitment as well as a financial commitment. Don't take it personally if folks have to decline. Sometimes life is so crazy people just aren't able to do everything. Just remember they still love you!
Step 10. Relax, have fun, and keep re-reading step #5. Don't compromise the marriage and the quality of your relationship for the wedding. Be sure to take time out once in awhile to re-connect with each other!