Well happy new year to all and hope you enjoyed the holidays! Although we were busy getting a special project together which we’ll be posting about soon, we still managed to have a great time. And though the holidays are officially over for most of us, for a lot of couples out there the fun is just beginning! So many couples have cemented their relationship during the holidays by getting engaged and we are pretty excited about the beautiful weddings we’ll be seeing in the coming year. (Hopefully the future grooms had a look at our perfect engagement ring post before popping the question..) But what next for those of us that just got engaged? We’re here to help you out of course! Here are our 10 steps:
What to do after you get engaged
- Enjoy the Hype
It is (unbelievably) a whole year since I got engaged and even though I had been going out with my fiance for an absolute AGE beforehand, I was really moved by how excited everyone was for us! It made me realise how much everyone really cared, and even though of course I was overjoyed, their excitement was infectious.. it was really a very special time and I would urge everyone just to relish it as much as you can before you even think about starting any planning. Be prepared for a ton of suggestions for your wedding– don’t listen to anyone until after step number two!
- Talk to Your Fiance
Before you have to start making actual decisions about the wedding, while you’re still enjoying being newly engaged, talk to your other half. Discuss what you both want and expect from your wedding. Obviously important people in your life such as your parents must be considered, but I would urge you to put your own expectations above anyone else’s (at least try- it’s pretty hard, or was for me anyway!)
- Consider Your Finances
How much you have to spend does not necessarily determine how big the wedding will be, if you want a big wedding but are constricted in this area there are options to consider such as a buffet, or a large informal garden party. Although not very often heard of in Ireland, in the US there is a “pot luck” where everyone brings a dish of food to the table which cuts out catering expenses. While this might not be ‘traditional’, we are seeing more and more couples experimenting with new customs. To be honest, a lot of people have seen the same sort of wedding over and over again and will welcome something a little different! Oh and while you are looking at finances, it is a good idea to look into getting your ring insured if it needs to be.
- Lay Out Options
Some bride or grooms already have an idea of what their ideal wedding would be (I was not one of these). If this is not you either, it might help to make a list: do you want something traditional, less traditional or something completely out there? Are you getting married in a church or will you have a civil ceremony? How big will the wedding party be: nuclear and/or extended family, friends, work colleagues? Do you want it at home or have you always had a destination wedding in mind? There are so many options nowadays that it can actually make it a little more difficult to decide on one- hence it’s so important to both be on the same page about what you want. When you have an idea of roughly how many guests you will be expecting it will make it easier to pick a venue. If you’re thinking of Ireland or Europe, why not drop us an email? We’re always looking to help out and welcome suggestions for posts that might be helpful!
- Make it a Date
Once you’ve decided on the basics, determining when you can have the wedding will depend on these. For instance, a destination wedding might take longer to plan than a wedding at home if you have to take time off work to travel to view venues. Then again you may be happy to book online- a good wedding planner that you trust will make things a lot easier and you might not even need to visit the venue. Once you have a date in mind you can start booking your reception venue, photographer, caterers and florist.
- Pick Your Wedding Party
It’s good to do this as early as you can not only to let the people you want involved know, but also so they can help you out with the actual planning. Think about what you will expect from your bridesmaids and groomsmen and let them know so everyone is on the same page. Don’t forget that you can have a man of honor or groomsmaids. It is completely up to you how many of each you have, and it doesn’t have to be an equal number of each! Will you have flower girls and pageboys?
- The Dress and Suit
So you have a general idea now of the type of wedding you want, where it will be (at least what country!), what time of year it will be when you get married, and how much you have to spend. These will all be relevant to your dress and suit selection. Many brides already have an idea of the type of dress they want (although often brides say this idea turns out to be just plain wrong for them!) Look at as much material online as you can before you physically go into a shop. I found it totally overwhelming when I went into my first bridal shop and to be honest the assistant wasn’t very helpful. She rushed through the explanation of the different shapes and designers- none of which meant anything to me at the time. Learn the lingo before you go- shapes, materials, designers. Set up a Pinterest board for dresses that appeal to you. Find out in advance if certain bridal stores stock designers or types of dresses you are looking for. Make a booking to view dresses at a time when you will not be under pressure and don’t go to more than two shops per day. These shops usually do not let you take photos so it is handy to take down the names and descriptions of dresses that stand out for you (they will start to merge in your mind if you try many on in one day). It’s good to have an idea of what hairstyle you want to wear as this will affect you dress choice as well. Do take the bridal shop assistant’s advice and try on at least one or two things out of your comfort zone as you might be surprised. Most bridal shops recommend starting your dress search at least six months prior to your wedding date to accommodate ordering in your size and as many fittings and alterations as might be needed. Make sure at the end of the fittings that you are totally comfortable in the dress and happy with how it looks.
- Consider a Theme
Not every wedding has to have an actual ‘theme’ but it’s good to have an idea of what sort of atmosphere you want. For instance there is much difference between a glamourous white-tie ballroom affair and an outdoor marquee festival wedding where you specifically warn guests not to wear high heels! It’s important for your guests’ comfort that they have the right idea- there is nothing more uncomfortable than being under or over-dressed at an event. When you have decided on the general feel of the day (and you’ll probably already have an idea from the type of venue you’ve chosen) start thinking about decor and invitations in keeping with your ideas.
- Stay Focused
Once you have decided on your plan, stick to it. It might be a good idea to set up a wedding website to keep guests up to date with details and info on your day (this is especially helpful for destination weddings, or for guests who may be coming from abroad). Setting up a group page on Facebook also works well. You can still send out invitations through the post if you like, and once you have all the wedding details outlined you can start organising these.
- My Advice
At this point I have to bring in my own experience in the hope that readers may NOT do what we did after our engagement. Firstly, we did not sit down and discuss what we wanted as a couple for our own wedding. We listened to lots of other people who had lots of ideas and got confused with the many options we had! So at this point we have seriously considered, at some point over the last year, each one of the following:
1) A medium sized destination wedding in Italy;
2) A large wedding at home in Ireland;
3) A small, nuclear-family-only wedding in the USA;
4) Elopement- anywhere! And we still have not decided what to do.. So I can’t stress enough how important it is at the beginning to talk to each other- BEFORE you talk (or at least listen to) anyone else- and make a little plan that you can both stick to when you tell everyone.
Congratulations again to all the happy couples that got engaged over the holidays and we look forward to sharing lots of real weddings and advice (even if it’s about what not to do!) over the coming year.