Your partner’s popped the question and you’ve shouted from the mountain top “YES!” Or at least made the Home Alone face.
Now What?! What do I do after getting engaged?
We are here to provide you with the necessary tools to start breaking down the mountain that is wedding planning.
Well, most newly-engaged couples will automatically run to join a bridal Facebook group and ask what their next steps should be now that they are engaged. To make it easier for you, below we have curated universal steps for things to do after your engagement in order to guide you through your wedded journey. These steps will give you a blueprint if you are just starting out or a confirmation if you’ve already planned for this day for quite some time.
1. ENJOY THIS MOMENT.
This is a step that not many people think of doing. YOU JUST GOT ENGAGED. Unless you are trying to get married next month, TAKE IT EASY, my friend!! Enjoy this moment for a few weeks. Use this time to cherish the times you’ve had with your significant other that has brought you to this point. Call your family and facetime your friends and talk about the proposal. Believe us your family has also been anticipating this moment as well. Take a picture of your ring and post it to your social media and watch the hearts flood in. Psst, people love this stuff. By starting your planning right away you will begin to overwhelm yourself. Remember, it’s your wedding, no one is telling you to have it on a specific day. So moral of the story…STOP AND BREATHE. JUST BREATHE!
2. CHOOSE YOUR DATE
This is for sure your next to-do item to check off your list. This date will determine everything. Which vendors will be available on your day, which season your wedding will be, when you should start booking and reserving things, just to name a few. Whether you will have a long or short engagement knowing when you will get married will immensely help you know how to allocate your time in planning. If you will have a short engagement (married in less than 6 months) then you definitely need to start assembling your dream team as soon as you are done breathing with the 1st step. This is because a lot of vendors are booked out, at minimum, more than 9 months out. More of that in the coming steps. If you have a long engagement you have some time to plan which will relieve some of the stress that starts to develop. You also have more options with vendors. If you can, we recommend a long engagement especially if you are planning a large wedding. Though it is doable to have a short turnaround.
Free Budget tip: Having your wedding during the off-season can greatly reduce your vendor costs so don’t be afraid to ask.
3. WRITE DOWN A BUDGET
Money, money, money. MONEY! This is one of the things on the list that tends to trip couples up. The budget is where your wedding vision receives its life source. Before you start choosing vendors and take a trip down Pinterest lane you will need to do this first. Control of the budget can easily get out of hand because let’s face it, everything looks good when you are excited. Write down estimates of what you are looking to spend for each vendor, detail, etc to come up with a total you think you can be able to afford. We recommend not going into debt to have a wedding but at the end of the day, this is your wedding. Plan one that makes you happy if you know you can get a handle of the moolah later on.
Identify your priorities. Sit down and write down your vision. If you have an unlimited budget then you may just need to skip to step 4. If you know that you have a smaller budget maybe having a full black-tie affair may not be in the cards if you are looking to have a larger guest list. Don’t get us wrong though there are many ways you can still have an awesome wedding that speaks to you both and looks good. DIYs may end up being your friend or think of reducing the guest list, etc. Either way, the budget will help reign in your imaginative ideas and to be honest help in narrowing down your Chicago wedding vendors, and boy there are A LOT.
4. MAKE A DRAFT OF YOUR GUEST LIST
Though this step is looked at in more detail later on down the line it helps to get an idea of the size of your party. You will also need a rough idea of this list when you are looking at your venue. There’s nothing worse than finding the venue of your dreams and finding out that your guest count may be an issue with what the venue can provide. A wedding of 50 people is different from a wedding of 175 people. The guest list also helps with gauging your catering needs with your venue. This will affect your budget as well because the more people you have the more money you will need to allot to this category. This is especially important if your venue price is separate from your catering price and how much the venue charges per person.
5. ASSEMBLE YOUR DREAM TEAM
We are now getting to the fun part. You may have that epic venue that you’ve been eyeing or that photographer you saw on Instagram whose photos are just *chef’s kiss*. You can’t see it but we are aggressively pointing to ourselves right now. This is the time when you should be reaching out to the vendors who you can’t imagine your day without. As mentioned in step 2, the venue, photographer, videographer, wedding planner or coordinator, and DJ/Band are the top vendors that get booked up quickly, months even years in advance.
We can’t emphasize this more than we do now. This is because with the current state of events 2020 brides have moved their wedding to 2021. Now you have 2 sets of brides competing for a certain number of vendors. If you know there is a certain vendor you must have then reach out to them first. Once this is out of the way you’ll be able to relax and start on the details.
6. FIND INSPIRATION
Now the fun part, Once all the big-ticket items have been signed and booked you can now sit back and dive headfirst into Pinterest, bridal magazines, wedding blogs, Instagram wedding pages, The Knot or Wedding Wire, etc. It’s time to find out exactly what you like. What flowers, what color patterns, what theme, etc. Get inspiration but don’t feel like you have to copy everything you see. Make a list of what is a must-have and what you can do without. You have made it through the heavy hitters of the wedding planning process. The rest are the details.
7. BONUS TIP: HIRE A PLANNER. If all this seems very overwhelming already or you don’t think you will have enough time to dedicate to creating the wedding of your dreams, we highly…HIGHLY, recommend hiring a Wedding Planner or at least a Month of Coordinator. Briefly, these vendors will do most of the heavy lifting depending on your expectations. Allowing you time to relax and have a stress-free wedding experience. Your wedding should be a joyful occasion. Don’t let planning take that away from you. Let us know if you would like some recommendations of planners we like.
These are just some of the things that when done early can save you a ton of time and spare you raised anxiety levels. We have yet to scratch the surface but I hope this was helpful in the least. For more tips and goodies join our Facebook VIP Wedding Group for couples.
If you are still looking for a Chicago Wedding Photographer check out the rest of our page for more information or get to know us below . If you know you want to work with us, Contact Us to set a time to chat and we will reach out and get this party started. We would love to work with you.