14 Things To Do After You're Engaged
Yay! You’re engaged. First of all, congratulations on finding the best partner for you. We know how exciting this time can be, and we want to make sure you’re prepared for the days ahead. Let us help you make the most of this season in your life with a few tips. We know 14 tips may seem like a lot, but we just couldn’t narrow it down because these are HUGE!
1. Savor the moment and drink in the feels
Make sure you are living in the reality of your brand-new engagement. In this social, instant-access world it is so hard to take time for living in the present. You do not have to share this news immediately, so don’t. Spend some time with your soon-to-be lifetime partner – just the two of you – and savor the moment.
2. Share your news in person or via phone
Do everything you can to call immediate family first, extended family next (even the ones you do not chat with often), your close friends, and then share with everyone else. Show your family respect and make sure they find out from you and not from your BFF. It means a lot to a friend or family member to know you took the time to personally share your awesome news with them rather than them scrolling across it on social media.
3. Craft a basic timeframe
Get an idea of a round-a-bout timeframe such as “Fall of 2025,” or “We love the idea of Springtime.” This is one of the first questions everyone will ask you once they see you’re engaged so it can help you out to have an answer, even if it isn’t exact. For those proposing: it makes that engagement all the more real for your partner if you put a timeframe on it.
Celebrate your news with friends and family with an Engagement Party. This one is optional depending on your budget, but what better way to revel in the excitement than to celebrate with your favorite people? This doesn’t have to be a complicated or long-planned event; it can be as simple as just getting everyone together to celebrate the good news.
5. Invest time and energy into good Pre-Marriage Counseling
You may think you know each other enough already; afterall, you just committed to spending the rest of your lives together. But pre-marriage counseling is helpful for a lot of reasons: It can bring to the surface your deepest longings, goals, and dreams. It can help help you to be less surprised about habits, things your partner considers financial priorities, and so much more. It can help you to begin to make unified goals and dreams together, rather than jumping into a lifelong marriage with two totally different plans and futures in mind. It’s also just really helpful to sit down with someone who has been through marriage and to learn from them about what to expect and what not to expect. We actually had the privilege of going through two pre-marriage counselings, plus a financial peace university course (which is the next point).
A note on church venues – many churches will require you to go through their own pre-marriage counseling over a handful of sessions in order to be married there. Our dear friends and mentors did a book study with us called “Saving Your Marriage Before it Starts”, and our second counseling mentioned above was through our church.
6. Make a realistic budget & get a wedding savings account
It can be so hard to know what everything costs (because you’ve most likely never done this before), and the range of prices can be completely overwhelming. You could spend $15,000 on a small wedding celebration, and the current average wedding cost is $28,000.
There are ways to save on your wedding day, though!
The Knot wrote out a $10k wedding day plan for Cincinnati, OH.
FUN FACT: Sam and I used a lot of hand-me-downs and did a lot of DIY. Our wedding still cost us around $7000 and we actually spent the most on our photographers, because we knew that good photographers could make any location beautiful. It was a bit more work on us and our friends and family, but it saved us a lot of money in the end.
Join a Financial Peace University class before you get married. You can thank us later because it will save your financial life (and give your marriage a boost!). As said above, we ended up doing two different pre-marriage counselings, and both of them, when they came to their section on money, recommended us going through Financial Peace University. You can go through on your own or in a small group setting anywhere it’s being hosted in your community.
Ladies, there is a good chance you’ve been planning your wedding since at least Kindergarten. Even if you haven’t there are amazing resources available for you to use to get ideas for what you’d like your day to look like. From bridal magazines to Pinterest, there are so many resources available to you to use. Your local library is most likely full of more of the latest wedding day inspiration than you could ever possibly need.
Martha Stewart has an awesome list of questions to help you in your decision making.
Guys – you’re allowed to have input and a voice in this, too! Sam had a lot of opinions and creative ideas for our wedding, which we mentioned was very DIY. Just be aware that your lady may literally have been planning this since Kindergarten.
Um… Grace, do you mean a human planner or a book planner? Bingo. If you have the budget for a human wedding planner we highly recommend using one. They know the industry and can end up saving you a lot of money in the end. They also take off a ton of stress from the day.
If you’re more into DIY like we were, we suggest finding the best book planner for you. Here is an amazing list of planners from The Spruce. Which is your favorite? Comment below!
9. Determine your venue & secure your wedding date
A lot of your planning has to be put on hold until this step is completed. You should not place any deposits on photographers or vendors until you can provide a secure date. Sometimes you will think your date is secure until you realize that your dream venue is booked already.
10. Book your engagement and wedding photographer and videographer
Yay!!! Our favorite part!! Yes, we are biased. We do think you have to have a wedding photographer and videographer to cover your day to get the best experience. Photos are important to have because you can display them proudly and have them in a beautifully bound album for all to see, but they do not record the sobs of joy during the first look, or the cheers of your closest friends and family as you take your first kiss. A video lets you not only look back at glimpses of the day, but it lets you relive the emotions of your day all over again. Finding someone you can trust to capture these moments on photo and video, especially with a duo who works together seamlessly and cries along with you, is so special.
Remember that even if you go cheap on a venue or spend less on the details, a great photographer can make any space beautiful and is very valuable to you. Are you still looking for a photographer? Check us out!
11. Determine your guest list
Now that you have a venue booked and a maximum number of mouths you can feed thanks to fire code and your budget, it’s time to narrow the guest list down. Make sure you bring your parents into this conversation so you do not miss anyone you may be forgetting. This can be a painful process, but sometimes, depending on the size of your venue and your budget, you just can’t have every person who loves you at your wedding. Start with the people who you could not do without having there for your big day, and go from there.
12. Craft your wedding website
Hopefully by now you have been able to coordinate luscious engagement pictures during the buttery golden hour. You can use them on your wedding website to help tell the story of your love journey. Make sure you get your website fully functional and ready before sending out save the date cards or invitations because you do not want guests to receive an error while trying to RSVP! There are all kinds of sites that offer free websites; we like Squarespace.
13. Compare and select your final vendors
There are so many vendors in the world and it can be such a challenge to decide who will be best for you. Make sure you connect emotionally with your vendors because if you do, that will truly alter the course of your wedding day. You should hire people that you know will give you the best possible experience, and who understand who you are, what you want, and what you hope to see.
14. Relax and treat yourself
Do not let anxiety and stress about the unknowns and the little issues that may arise to control you as you plan your wedding. Ground yourself and make sure you are taking time for self care leading up to your wedding day. Our favorite thing to do is to read scriptures and listen to instrumental Bethel Worship albums. There is a reason the Sabbath is talked about in the Bible. Take care of your heart. No matter what happens, you are more important than allowing anxiety to control your life. As someone who struggles with anxiety, take care of yourself and go on girls or guys nights, go hiking, get pampered, journal. Do what you need to do to make your heart sing.