You’re engaged, what’s next?

Congratulations on your engagement!  You have officially answered one of the most important questions of your life and yes that sparkly new ring is yours to keep!  The next few months are going to be a complete whirlwind with some of the most memorable moments of your life, so make sure you soak them up.  But before you get comfortable in your new role as future Mrs. there are a few things you’ll want to do.

You are engaged!  What’s next?

Engagement Photos at Huntington Beach Pier, California

Get your ring insured, ASAP!

Whether a family heirloom or brand new, you are going to want to get that beauty insured.  Ring insurance will provide you with the safety and peace of mind you’ll need while wearing your engagement ring.  Ring insurance provides a safety blanket in case anything were to happen to your ring now or in the future so this is definitely something you’ll want to do sooner rather than later.

Get ideas & decide on your wedding style.

Deciding on your wedding style can be one of the hardest most overwhelming parts of planning your wedding.  Do you want to go the romantic route, the bohemian and coastal route, maybe the rustic, or maybe you like the modern style with those fresh geometric shapes?

It is also okay if you do not know your wedding style yet!  There are a number of places where you can research different wedding styles to figure out what suits you and your fiance best.  Pinterest for starters is a great place to find A TON of ideas, however, it can also be a very overwhelming first place to start.

My advice to you, start slow.  Make an account on The Knot and browse through some helpful magazines.  Look for ideas that grab you that you cannot get out of your head and go from there.  Once you have a few ideas you will be able to piece together your overall style.

Tip: I found NJ Bride and Ceremony magazine to be the most helpful when I was planning my own special day.  Though Ceremony is California based it covers a number of wedding per issue in each and every style which I found very helpful!

Engagement photos in Corona Del Mar, California

Set your budget.

The next step in planning your special day involves sitting down with your fiance and maybe your parents.  This is when things sometimes get stressful, so make sure everyone goes into the conversation clear-headed and ready to talk numbers.  Setting the budget is a vital part of the wedding planning process so it is important that everyone including parents are all on the same page.  After all the budget can determine your guest list, venue or venues, flowers, dress, and so so much more.

This is also a good time to discuss traditions and what you are expecting from your special day with both parents, so take advantage of this time!

Create your guest list.

This is another very important conversation that comes with wedding planning.  My advice to you, sit down with your fiance and discuss the guest list before involving parents.  Discuss MUST HAVE attendees as well as those you would both prefer to leave out.  Remember that your guest list greatly effects your budget so depending on where you agree to marry extra heads can make or break the budget.

After creating a solid guest list, take time to sit down with both of your parents.  This is the best time to tweak the list and discuss those you may have forgotten or those attendees that may be very important to your respective families.  This is also where you may have to compromise on some guests, but note that this is still your wedding if there is someone you and your fiance discussed not having stick to your original agreement or discuss it again later privately before making a decision.

Research venues.

Wedding planning comes with an unlimited amount of choices and decisions for you and your partner to make.  For example, do you want to get married in your home state?  Maybe another state other than the one you live? Or maybe even another country?  Make sure you do your research depending on your dream location.  Some states require you to have your marriage application filled out weeks or sometimes months in advance and some can provide you with your marriage license that day.  For out of the country weddings, visa, language, and officiant requirements may apply.

Once you and your partner decide where you want your wedding to take place it is time to find a venue.  This is where your wedding style and theme, as well as your guest list, will play a role.  Some venues may not be able to hold your guest count while other venues may not go with your overall style and theme.  This is why venue research is very important.  By researching different venues you can rule some out without having to go see them.

Once you have a few venues that can accommodate your guest count and compliment your wedding style make plans to contact or visit each venue.  See what each venue offers, ask what is included in their pricing and what can be done for an extra fee.  Also, make sure to ask about date availability this will help when contacting MUST HAVE vendors.

Huntington Beach Pier Engagement Photos, California

Speak with MUST HAVE vendors.

For most couples, not all, there is at least one MUST HAVE vendor.  Whether it is a band, DJ, photographer, florist, etc make sure to touch base with this vendor before booking anything.  During this discussion make sure to discuss available dates, pricing, travel fees (if applicable), delivery fees (if applicable) or even recommendations.  Most vendors have been doing this for a long time and can provide an unlimited amount of recommendations due to their experiences which can be helpful for any first-time bride!

After speaking with your MUST HAVE vendor go back to your venue list.  Remove all venues that are not available on the dates your MUST HAVE vendor is.

Set a date & book your venue.

Now that you have researched venues and spoken with your MUST HAVE vendor it’s time to actually start making plans.  Sit down with your partner and discuss the pros and cons of each of your remaining venues.  If you have to, go visit the venues again before deciding.  See which venues are willing to work with your budget and which aren’t and then finally SET YOUR DATE.

I promise the stress you are feeling will go away after your date is set and you have given yourself a timeline!

After setting your date and booking your venue make sure to secure your MUST HAVE vendor as well.   Once you have secured your venue and MUST HAVE vendor you have two choices, take a break for a week or two or start researching and securing other vendors.

Engagement photoshoot in Corona Del Mar, California

Ask your girls to be a part of your day!

Now that you have set a date it’s time for the fun stuff, like asking your girls!  Today, there are a lot of ways you can do this.  Pinterest offers a number of good ideas if you are not sure where to start while Etsy offers premade boxes/gifts to give your girls which can make it really easy for you.  For some brides, lunch/dinner or a fun night out is another way of asking your girls without spending a fortune.

Whatever you decide I’m sure it will be perfect!

Register at your favorite place or places.

Register early.  Update often.

This is supposed to be fun!  Make it a date for you and your better half.  Enjoy picking out what you need, what you want, and what you like.  Envision your future home and what you will use while cuddling up on the couch together as well as things you’ll need while entertaining your friends and family or your future kiddos.

If you already have a home there are numerous other registry ideas out there such as Honeyfund, Zola, etc.

Purchase THE DRESS!

The best thing you can do is be prepared.  Sit down and enjoy some coffee or wine, depending on the time of the day, while researching designers, fits, fabrics, and boutiques.  This will help you get an idea of what you are looking for before you go out and try anything on.  Find a few designers you like as well as fits that you think will compliment you and your wedding theme.  After you have done this, plan a day when you can go try on dresses with a few of your girls, or maybe just your mom and future mother-in-law, whatever works best for you.

Try on things you saw while doing your research as well as one or two dresses you may not think you like.  Everything looks different on so something you dislike on the rack may be your favorite on!

Stay true to you!  This can be difficult when shopping with an entire entourage of people.  Make sure that the dress you pick is the one YOU love and not someone else’s favorite.  After all, it is your day and this dress will be in all of your photos so you have to love it.

Casablanca Bridal Gown Newport Beach, California
Casablanca Bridal Gown

You don’t have to say YES to the dress the first day you go out shopping for it.  Yes, there are a number of articles on the internet discouraging women from trying on too many dresses.  Coming from someone who tried on at least 3o gowns, you may not find the one on your first try or even your first store and there is nothing wrong with that!  Give it time, you’ll find the one.  You can rush perfection.

Start Planning Your Honeymoon!

I know it probably sounds like it is too early, but I assure you it’s not!  Whether you already know where you want to go, or still need to do some research to figure it out; it is never too early to start planning your perfect first trip as husband and wife!

Whether you want to lay on the white beaches of the Philippines, drink coffees overlooking the snowcapped mountains in Switzerland, or sit along the busy streets of Paris we want to help get you there!

We know from experience that wedding planning can be very expensive.  We want to help you get that perfect honeymoon almost free, by becoming a Travel Hacker and spending no more money than the money you are spending on your future nuptials.  If you are interested in learning more about Travel Hacking follow our Travel Hacking Secrets link for more information.

Engagement photos at Huntington Beach Pier, California

Happy planning!  If you have any questions, concerns, comments please feel free to reach out or comment below.

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Taylor Mathers

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