First and foremost, yay! You just got engaged and are getting married to your soulmate! After your partner pops the question, once the ring hits your knuckle and the tears have cleared, you may be feeling tons of feelings, primarily excitement but very likely a hint of anxiety underlying it all, too. If you do get a kick of panic as soon as reality sets in, don’t worry—it doesn’t mean you’re a sociopath who doesn’t want to be married (I checked with my therapist!!), it just means going from just-dating to just-got-engaged, wedding-planning, bride - or groom-to-be in a matter of seconds is a shock to the system! Not to worry—everything will get figured out in due time (that’s what this website is for!).
1. Take some time to just be happy together.
We live so hyper-connected these days, it might feel second-nature to Instagram live your proposal, like…the moment you realize it’s happening. It’s happy news, and you’ll want to tell everyone you’ve ever met, including Uber drivers who were especially conversational. But remember this: That electric moment of sheer, adrenaline-fueled, dopey love-drunkness you feel after your partner says “Will you? and you say “Yes”? That moment is one you can never reproduce. So soak in that “just got engaged” feeling for as long as you can, just the two of you. Don’t feel pressured to start calling people or making decisions right away—everything can wait. Instead, pop a bottle of champagne, cry together, laugh together, do your favorite puzzle…whatever! Just close yourselves up into your engagement bubble for as long as you want to and revel in the beauty of the moment. You’ll be glad you did.
2. Announce to family, then friends that are like family, then everyone else.
Yes, you want to post that ring on Facebook and shout about your everlasting love from the social media rooftops. But hold back—there’s a hierarchy to this! You wouldn’t want your seventh grade science fair partner to find out about this major life milestone before your mom, would you? (Your mom wouldn’t want this, trust me, I checked with her.) As soon as you’re ready to start telling anyone, family comes first. Call them up (this is not the time for a text!) or pay a visit if you’re local. Next up, your best friends—think, the people you’ll end up asking to be in the wedding party. Finally, when all the VIPs know and have showered you with love, it’s time for the “We just got engaged!!!” social media post. Oh, and, once it’s posted, get ready for hella likes.
3. Get your engagement ring sized and insured.
Did your partner give you an engagement ring that fits perfectly because they’re the type that plan ahead and do their research? If yes—wow, what is that like? If no, take it back to the jeweler from whence it came to get it sized ASAP—you’ll have to be without it for a few weeks (it sucks!), but it isn’t worth wearing a too-big ring that could slip off and get lost even for a second longer than you have to. The original jeweler should size it for free, and once it’s taken care of, you’ll never have to be without it again!
Oh, but in the off-chance you are without it again someday (say, it gets lost or stolen), insurance is the only way to replace it without having to buy a new one, so it’s a really, really good idea to insure your ring—coverage is usually super-affordable and the peace of mind is invaluable.
4. Pick your wedding party and plan an engagement party—if you want them.
You don’t have to make lots of important wedding decisions after you just get engaged, but if you’re thinking you want an engagement party, and want help planning it (or want it thrown for you entirely), it’s time to pick your wedding party so they can get to work (I checked with them, they’re psyched). If you and your partner have been ready to be engaged for a while, I’m willing to bet you both have a pretty good idea of who you want in your bridal party, so making the selections shouldn’t be too difficult.
If you want to throw your own engagement party, you can hold on asking your bridal party members until later on. But the earlier you ask, the more help you can take advantage of, sooner! Not sure whether or not you want or need an engagement party? My stance on the issue is: Why not? After you and your partner announce your engagement, tons of people will want to celebrate you—a party is a great way to celebrate with everyone, together, and also an excellent excuse to shop for your first of many little white dresses!
5. Think about your wedding timeline.
Despite how it may feel when the umpteenth person asks you “Have you picked a date yet???” after you tell them you’re engaged, it is not, I repeat, it is not required by law that you pick a wedding date moments after you just got engaged. (I checked with the Supreme Court.) People just ask that because they want to seem interested, and don’t know what else to say besides, “Congratulations!”
In all honesty, you can choose a date whenever you damn well please—whether it’s a year or six years after the ring lands on your finger. Still, you and your partner should at least talk about timelines shortly after becoming engaged, so you’re both on the same page, and so, if you’re on a typical timeline (i.e., having your wedding 12 to 18 months after the proposal) you can get the show on the road. Align on a timeline (“Let’s say two summers from now,” or even, “I want a New Year’s Eve wedding!”) and work from there—it’s the most pragmatic starting point of wedding planning.
6. Get inspired!
You don’t have to lock down any solid wedding plans until you’re good and ready, but it’s a great idea to start gathering inspiration and checking out wedding websites and magazines. (You’re already here, so that’s a start!) With your partner, start identifying overall styles and themes you like, create a Pinterest account (you’ll thank me later!), and go wild! This isn’t yet the time to start narrowing things down, so anything that catches your eye should be archived. As the time to start buying and booking things gets closer, you’ll have a much clearer idea of your wedding vision, the more you see and explore the industry and the inspiration available to you. This is the fun part, so have fun!
7. Find a wedding photographer and take engagement photos.
Don’t think you want to do an e-shoot? Feel free to skip this step, but keep in mind two things. Number one: Booking a photographer early is smart because the best ones are worth every penny, and their most popular months book up over a year in advance, usually, and number two: Engagement photos are an excellent opportunity to practice hamming it up in front of a professional photographer before you have to do it for reals on your big day! Even if you’re not the type to spam your social feeds with your smoochy engagement pics, they’re a great memory to have of a wonderful event in your and your partner’s lives, and, best of all, many photogs include e-shoots for free in their wedding packages!
8. Set a date and start booking.
If you just got engaged and you’ve completed steps one through seven and feel ready to do the damn thing, it’s time to go all in! Set your date, mark it on every calendar you and your partner own, and set it in stone—this is now the North Star of your wedding plans, and everything you do from here on out should be gravitating toward this day. After, and only after, you’ve set your date, you can start booking—the venue is the most logical starting point but you can start wherever you want! Remember, there’s no official wedding timeline out there that you have to stick to. If you want to be engaged for three years, go for it! You shouldn’t start this step until you’re ready to devote the time, money and effort it takes to plan the wedding of your dreams. Otherwise, sit back, relax, and enjoy engagement, lovers!