Getting engaged is a really exciting, dreamy time in a relationship where things just seem together. Everyone is happy for you, you and your new fiancé are experiencing a whole different aspect of your love, and things are just generally thrilling. But, at the same time, it's also overwhelming. There are a lot of things to think about right after getting engaged, as well as a ton of questions to answer. It's easy to start feeling stressed out about something that should be making you really happy, and that's exactly what you don't want to deal with. As cliche as it sounds, this really is a time you should be enjoying.
That said, there are some things you need to be focused on pretty quickly — if you want to get married any time in the near future, at least. Weddings take a long time to plan (especially if you live in a place like New York) and some things need to be figured out sooner rather than later. But, that doesn't mean you need to think about everything right away, even if other people make you feel like you do. I got engaged about two months ago, and I couldn't believe some of the questions I was getting. Practically moments after it happened, I was hearing the usual stuff ("Date? Venue?!), but people were also already asking me things like, "Do you know what colors you're going to have?" and "Have you picked a photographer?" Your friends, family members, and acquaintances are only doing this because they care, but it can still be pretty jarring.
So, how do you know what should you care about in the beginning and what can be pushed off a bit? If you're doing a traditional wedding ceremony, the below are a few things you should think about right after getting engaged. Of course, don't freak out — not to sound like your mom or anything, but this really is a time you and your fiancé should enjoy. Congrats!
1. Whose Opinions Actually Matter To You & Your Fiancé
The moment you get engaged, you'll realize that everyone has thoughts about your engagement and wedding, whether they've been married before or not. This can be really helpful, but it can also be, uh, a lot. After a while, you'll feel like you don't want to talk about anything with anyone because you don't want them to try to change your mind, and that's not fun. So, what you need to do is figure out who you actually want to listen to. I suggest only picking a few people who are very close to you, like your parents and maybe your best friend or maid of honor. Or, you know, no one except your fiancé!
Figure this out as fast as possible, because it's easy to get overwhelmed with what others think, and that can add way too much pressure. Once you figure out who you care about listening to, you can try to turn your mind off when others share unwanted opinions. Or you can politely tell them thanks, but no thanks - your choice.
2. At Least A Rough Idea Of Your Budget
You don't need to sit down a few days after your engagement and write down exactly how much you want to spend, but you should at least have an idea of how much you want to spend. Talk to your fiancé about the price range you're most comfortable with, and try to figure out what you definitely don't want to spend. Do this before you start looking into venues or plans — you don't want to find something you love, only to realize it's totally out of your price range.
3. If Your Parents (And Theirs) Will Contribute
Speaking of money, now is a good time to have the uncomfortable conversation: the one where you ask the parents if they're going to be contributing any money, and if so, how much. It's helpful to know this while thinking of your budget, if it's something you're both open to. Get it over with in the beginning!
4. The Date You Want
OK, so you don't need to know the exact date you want to reserve immediately after your engagement, but before you start looking into any plans, get an idea of the time range, or at least the season. The date affects the price and availability of pretty much everything. For example: if you're set on a wedding any time between June and September, know that's the most popular time for a wedding, so everything will be more expensive and might be harder to book. But from mid-October until early May, it's the off-season, so you'll spend less money and have more options. Just get an idea of what you're thinking — fall? summer? — and have it in the back of your mind.
5. Getting A Wedding Planning Notebook
As you will quickly find out, there is a lot to think about when it comes to planning a wedding. There's so much more than you even think! It's hard to keep track of everything, especially if you're not having a long engagement, so try to stay as organized as possible. You can do this by getting a wedding planning notebook — there are tons of them out there, so treat yourself to your favorite.
6. Your Wedding Priorities
Before you start looking into plans, figure out what you and your fiancé care about the most. Some people are most concerned with the quality of food being served over the atmosphere of a venue. Some want to spend a lot of money on their dress, while others want to keep everything more casual. There is no right or wrong, because it's your wedding. But you need to figure out what's most important to you, because you're going to get a lot of input from everyone you talk to — so it's better to make your own opinions before getting everyone else's.
7. How Many People You Want To Invite
Similar to what I said before: you don't need to sit down and make a concrete list of who's getting invited to your wedding right after getting engaged, but at least have an idea of a list. It's the first thing you'll be asked when looking at venues or doing any sort of planning. Plus, some things will need to be ruled out according to your list. For example: I wanted to get married outside, but I quickly realized that, for most outdoor venues, my guest list was too large — so I needed to think differently. Just get a rough idea!
8. The Kind Of Venue You Want
You can't look for venues if you don't have an idea of what you want, and finding the venue is the first step in real planning. Do you want something super fancy and formal, do you want something casual and comfortable, do you want something in between? Depending on where you live, there are lots of options, and there's no point in looking at what you don't want, so start thinking!
9. Where You Want To Go On Your Honeymoon
This seems very far off, but you should probably figure out where you want to go on your honeymoon. If you want to fly somewhere, you can save money by booking early, and you can usually find good deals when booking early with hotels too. Plus, it's nice to get this part of the planning out of the way, so that it's done and just something really fun to look forward to after the wedding craziness.
10. Engagement Party Or No?
One of the most common questions I got after getting engaged was, "So, when's the engagement party?" My answer? "Uh... I don't know." I still haven't decided if I want an engagement party, and it's been over two months. You definitely don't have to have one, but make a decision sooner rather than later... if only to get everyone off your back.
11. Your Living Situation After The Wedding
This is another thought that seems very far off, but it comes up faster than you would think! If you and your fiancé are not living together yet, then you're going to have to plan a wedding while also finding an apartment/house and moving in together. That's a lot of work! Friends of mine who have done this have said finding a place to live in the midst of planning a wedding was super stressful and overwhelming. So, think about it now, early on — give yourself some peace of mind.
12. How Excited You Are!
Yes, there is a lot to do after getting engaged, especially if you're on a timeline and want a big wedding. But being engaged is awesome: It's fun, it's new, and it's a really adorable time in your relationship. Try not to stress out about the wedding planning too much, and let yourself appreciate the congratulations and love that pour in.