Newly Engaged - What should you do first?
Getting engaged is one of the most exciting times in a relationship and after saying ‘yes’, calling family members and friends to share your news, and showing off your glittering gem, you may think that the hard work is over for now. However, a great wedding celebration relies on being as prepared as possible and for many this begins shortly after becoming engaged. So the question is – what should you do first? Ticking off some key tasks in the first few weeks can make planning your wedding easier and more enjoyable regardless of whether you are intending on a short or long engagement.
Get sized and insured
Your engagement ring is certain to already hold sentimental value and whilst losing your engagement ring will be the furthest thought from your mind, putting your sensible hat on and considering insurance is important. Everyday life after all tends to get in the way and mundane tasks such as taking out the rubbish and doing the dishes may put your precious stone in jeopardy. Arranging for personal jewellery insurance should your engagement ring get lost, damaged or stolen is advisable.
Getting your engagement ring correctly sized is also very important as even the smallest amount of wriggle room can put it at risk whilst a tight fit can at best leave you uncomfortable or at worst require your ring to be cut off. Resizing is a simple procedure in many cases and, depending on your ring’s design and the level of alteration needed, can take between a few hours and a few days to complete, a small price to pay for a perfect fit that should last you a lifetime.
Save the (provisional) date
Setting a date, even if it isn’t the date, is highly recommended and whilst it may seem a little premature this early hint of organisation can really help you get your ducks in a row when it comes to wedding planning. “When’s the big day?” is almost always the question that immediately follows “congratulations” and “let me see the ring!” so be prepared with a provisional date. In addition to providing a date for every potential guest’s mental diary, it will also help you and your partner create a timeline for your wedding preparations.
Draft your guest list and inform your VIPs
Whilst preparing a draft guest list may seem like a task that can be left until later down the line, with the setting of your provisional date comes the added responsibility of knowing just how many people you intend on inviting to share your special day. Your guest numbers will also ultimately determine just how healthy your budget needs to be, and you are certain to find that some venues may be off limits due to the scale of your wedding. At this early stage however your guest list doesn’t have to be set in stone and I recommend that you divide this first draft into two parts – one for essential invitees and the other for those you would like to attend if your budget and venue allows it.
Deciding on your wedding party in these first few weeks is a very good idea. It may seem obvious who your VIPs are, but now it’s your turn to formally propose to them, asking your best man, groomsmen, maid of honour and bridesmaids if they will accept these roles. When asking your favourite people to be a part of your wedding party, make sure they are clear on what their responsibilities are to avoid any potential conflicts at a later date. Traditionally the maid or matron (if the individual is married) of honour is the bride’s right hand woman and is responsible for coordinating all bridesmaid-related activities, from dress fittings to the hen party. The best man has a similar set of duties, not forgetting the additional responsibility of that all-important best man’s speech. The main role of the bridesmaids and groomsmen is to assist the maid of honour or best man with their planning duties as well as assisting the bride or groom directly.
Consider your budget
As with planning any major life event, realising your wedding dreams often comes down to one thing – budget. Whilst traditional etiquette dictates that the bride and her family foot the bill for the wedding ceremony and reception, leaving the groom and his family to pay for the floral arrangements, bouquets and corsages, in the majority of circumstances these customs are no longer relevant to the modern-day bride and groom to be. A little over half of all UK couples now opt to pay for the entire affair themselves, or at least pay a large chunk of expenses. Budgeting as early as possible can really help you put your finances for the next year or so into focus and setting your budget realistically will ensure you don’t have to take out a second mortgage or get into financial strife to achieve your big day ambitions.
The first step to budgeting for your wedding is to decide what aspects are most important to you and how much they will cost. Your wedding wish list may evolve as the planning process continues but having an idea of what costs to expect can help you stick to your budget, not blow it. Be mindful of hidden costs such as dress alterations, back-up plan provisions, postage for invites and even city taxes for those planning on a destination wedding which tend to creep up on even the savviest of couples.
Start your venue search
With popular wedding venues getting booked up years in advance, starting your search early for the perfect place to say “I do” and celebrate with your nearest and dearest is advisable, so after considering your budget and what aspects will make your wedding day extra special, the search for the right venue should begin. Before requesting brochures and booking visits, make sure you and your partner have agreed on whether you’d like a religious or non-religious ceremony and what style of reception venue would be most fitting. Depending on the size of your search area, you are likely to find that there are hundreds of venues that all have the potential to fulfil your criteria, but by discussing first in some detail what you really want as a couple you will be able to narrow down your shortlist quickly. Remember booking the venue is a cornerstone of the wedding planning process, after all until you have booked your venue you won’t have a definitive date or location, and without these details you won’t be able to book any other services and suppliers. More advice on how to pick the perfect wedding venue can be found here.
Choose a wedding planner
Finding a wedding planner should be something you tick off your to-do list early on. There is of course plenty of day dreaming to do regarding how your wedding will transpire, but hiring a wedding planner early will ensure you can channel these dreams and ultimately make them a reality. Enlisting a wedding planner sooner rather than later will help you make the most of your budget, identify priorities from the early days right up to your wedding day, and ensure you plan to perfection thanks to their expertise and industry connections. Please take a look here for more information on how I can help you plan your big day.
Enjoy the moment!
If the above all seems a little overwhelming, take a breath and remember that getting engaged is one of the most romantic gestures a couple can share. Make sure you enjoy this moment and all the attention so rightly lavished on you both. Taking some time out as a couple after your engagement to simply reflect on your journey together is the perfect start to planning the wedding day of your dreams!