Don’t worry, we’ll spare you the ‘when’s the wedding?’, ‘how did they ask?’, ‘what kind of dress are you going to wear?’ interrogation. If you’re entering 2020 newly engaged it’s likely you’ve already spent a decent amount of time trying to answer those questions. Preparing to say ‘I do’ with your significant other can be one of the best times of your life. However, it’s nothing short of overwhelming. No doubt everyone already has an opinion of what you should be doing and when, but now’s the time to set boundaries. Do your own research, decide what you want and get planning. No idea where to start? Here’s the first checklist you’ll need now you’ve said ‘yes’!
A word to the wise, we’re assuming you’ve told your family and posted that Instagram announcement by now. However, if you’ve come straight to this list, maybe start with that and come back when you’re done.
We’re not talking about a full on engagement party, that comes later. However, you might want to get your guys and gals together for some drinks to celebrate your engagement. It’s likely some of your friends have been waiting for this day just as long as you have! Plus, getting everyone together means you only have to tell the story once (so make sure you tell it well). If you’d rather wait to have a giant party, you should still celebrate with your newly minted fiancé. Have a special date night. You’re engaged, and that’s worth toasting.
Make sure the ring fits!
If the ring fits, fab, if not, fix that ASAP. The last thing you want is to lose your ring mere moments after saying yes. You won’t have to part with your new favourite accessory for long. Take the ring back to the jeweller and they’ll have it resized in no time. While you’re at it, think about getting ring insurance too!
Get a manicure
Now before you start thinking we’re being totally vapid for putting this on the list, hear us out. Your hands are going to be taking centre stage for the next few weeks. Everyone is going to want to see that ring and by extension, your hands. More importantly, going to get your nails done will also give you a little bit of me time. In all the excitement and buzz, taking 40 minutes for a minor pamper session will help you reset and calm down.
Take a moment
Speaking of me-time. Take a moment before you launch headfirst into wedding planning. Yes, you’ll be excited and swirling with ideas. But getting engaged is a big step and you’ll want to revel in that first before bogging yourself down with wedding plans and Pinterest boards.
Work out your budget
I hate to break it to you, but weddings are expensive. Sounds obvious, but you truly have no idea how fast it adds up until you start planning. The earlier you do your budget, the better. Once you know what you can spend, then you can start looking. If you try and do it the other way around, you might end up disappointed when you realise you can’t afford everything you’ve chosen.
Save the date
This only really applies if you’re super set on a specific date for your I Dos. Maybe you want to keep your anniversary the same or perhaps there’s a sentimental date that means something to you both. If either of these fall in the traditional wedding season (Spring!) or this year, you need to get to work ASAP. Some wedding venues book out quite far in advance and you don’t want to miss out. If you’re not too fussed, pick a month you’d ideally list to host your nuptials in and build your timeline around that.
Plan a party
Now if you plan on having a quick engagement, say less than six months, think about skipping this step all together. Engagement parties aren’t as expensive as weddings but every little cost adds up. If you’ve got enough time to have both, draw up your guest list and send out your invites. In fact, you can treat planning your engagement party like a little practice round for the wedding. Need help? Start here.
Decide on the details
Now you know how much money you’re working with (thanks to your budget) and how far it’ll go (thanks to the engagement party), the fun part can start. Now’s the time to find your dream wedding venue, decide how many people you want at your nuptials and whether or not you want a professional wedding planner. If you’re having a destination wedding, we strongly suggest you find someone to help you plan.
Choose your bride tribe
We know this one isn’t easy, in fact you could make the case that you don’t need bridesmaids at all. However, if you’re set on having your best girls and guys by your side, start thinking about who you would choose now. You don’t have to ask them in the next two weeks but the sooner you have your bride tribe, the more help you’ll have when it comes to wedding planning.
One more note before we let you get on with those wedding plans.
There’s no strict order you are bound to, as long as you tackle the more immediate to-dos at least 12 months before you want to get married. Committing yourself to your significant other is the best kind of stress but it’s also amazing. However, it’s a major, major milestone, and planning you wedding together should be fun—we promise.
Knee-deep in her own wedding plans, Emma Roffey