He popped the question. You said yes. Yippee! You are now engaged! A marriage proposal is exciting, but it’s also serious. You’ve just agreed to commit to one another — for forever. You’ve offered each other your hearts… now what?
First a quick note: I have numbered the first 7 to-dos which I believe are the most important and added a few other suggestions.
1. Tell your family and friends ~ Most brides and grooms cannot wait to share the exciting news with their family and friends. Most consider it an engagement no-no to not pick up the phone and call your family members and friends. All of them. No one likes to be the last to know – and getting the news via mass e-mail, Twitter update or Facebook is especially in bad taste.
2. Size your ring and get it insured ~ Once the engagement rings goes on your finger, you won’t be able to stop staring at your hand. Nothing can replace the sentimental value of your ring, but if something happens to it, at least you can get your (or his) money back. If you have home owner’s or renter’s insurance, call to add the ring to your policy. You may need an official appraisal before you can officially add the ring, so call the insurance broker to see what paperwork is required.
3. Pick a tentative date ~ You will need to talk about a time frame for your wedding date, even if you don’t choose an exact date right away. The first thing people will want to know is: “When’s the wedding?” Set a tentative date so you can keep your family and friends in the loop. You can always make it permanent after you have the venue, the wedding officiant, etc.
4. Hire a full-time Wedding Consultant ~ Can’t afford a Wedding Consultant? Think again! Are you an expert in negotiating with bakers, caterers, etc., for the best prices, finding the ideal venue, organizing party favors and all the other details you haven’t even thought of yet? They can help you set a budget and offer suggestions of where to cut if someone you really want to hire is more than your budget allows. They can help you stay on track with your budget, allocate funds correctly, and steer you in the right direction so you won’t have to waste money on having to learn things the hard way when it comes to vendors, deposits, favors, catering, etc. I truly believe that – in the long run – you will actually save money because they know the ends-and-outs of the wedding business and they can get you started in the right direction.
5. Choose a wedding venue ~ You will need to coordinate choosing the venue with creating your guest list (#6). A firm count is not needed to look at venues, however one of the first questions the venue will ask is how many guest you’ll be hosting. You can usually check the venue’s Website for guest limits.
5. Book your Wedding Officiant/Minister ~ I’ve been an award winning, wedding officiant since 2002. My experience has been that most couples wait until the last minute to choose the person who makes the pronouncement of marriage! In all 50 states you must have a judge, justice of the piece or an ordained minister or wedding officiant perform your wedding ceremony. I have yet to understand why this is last on the bride and groom’s list of things-to-do. It doesn’t make sense. Over the years so many couples have called at the last minute – two or three months in advance – to book me only to find that I am already booked. Don’t wait to book the person who will be most responsible for the most important part of your wedding… the wedding ceremony! Many times, 3 months is not enough time. The good ones are the most active (a full-time Wedding Officiant is best) and often book their weddings anywhere from 6 months to 1 1/2 years in advance.
6. Start your wedding savings account ~ Weddings can cost thousands of dollars. It is never good to start your marriage with several credit cards charged to the max. Today many couples are responsible for the cost of their weddings. If you are on your own this is a great idea. Deposit a set amount every paycheck that’ll go toward wedding-related expenses only. Another idea is to start a Honeymoon Bridal Gift Registry.
7. Create A Guest List ~ Because your wedding’s size determines where you’ll hold the reception, how much it will cost (prices usually rise by guest) and whether travel will be involved, creating a guest list is one of the first and most important things to do. It will help with planning your budget. So make your list; your fiancé and both families should do the same. Remember: Send save-the-date cards to your guest list.
Caution: Don’t be blindsided by your partner’s debt. If you or your partner are knee deep in credit card debt, you need to talk about it “before” you tie the knot. Waiting until after marriage and then finding out that your partner has $45,000 in credit card debt could be the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Other things to consider:
Create a wedding blog. WordPress.com is a good place to begin. You can always spice it up later with wedding details, hotel advice, maps, quizzes, daily thoughts and whatever other wedding whimsies you want to share.
Make your OWN wedding plans ~ Have it YOUR way! Do what YOU want to do. Listen for ideas from the ones who love your, however be sure to stand up for what you want your wedding to be. This is not your mother’s wedding… it’s your wedding so you get to do whatever you want to do.
Choose your Bridesmaids and Groomsmen carefully ~ Remember, the earlier you ask them, the sooner you can enlist their help. Keep in mind that your wedding party is agreeing to spend their hard-earned money and donate their precious time — be considerate and kind by informing everyone about all your plans, showing them a good time, and making sure they know how much you appreciate them. Be clear to them about their responsibilities and if anyone is not 100% on board with your ideas, choose someone else, especially the Maid/Matron of Honor. I know, that’s harsh, but this is YOUR wedding and your attendants must support you 100%!
Be considerate of your long distance travelers ~ Securing blocks of hotel rooms is a must, or at least providing a list of hotels that are close to the wedding venue.
Start a Journal ~ Let the ideas, dreams, schemes and pie-in-the-sky plans flow to paper. This will be a time of ten thousand moments you won’t want to forget, as well as some frustrating times that you’ll need to vent about, and not necessarily to your partner. The journal you keep while planning your wedding will not only help you through this time, but it will be something you cherish for the rest of your life.
There are many other things you should be aware of when you begin planning your wedding. The Article Index on this Wedding Blog lists hundreds of wedding topics from which you can choose. Please seriously review #4 if you want the best bang for your bucks! Call me if you need referrals. I belong to the Association of Bridal Consultants and can guide you to some of the very best Wedding Consultants in the Greater Phoenix area. Call my Cell anytime up until 9 p.m. MST. 480-205-3694.
BONUS Articles: The Best Use of 10% of Your Budget: Hire a Coordinator!
Beware of “Cheap” Wedding Vendors!
Do’s and Don’ts for a Stress-Free Wedding
Making Your Guest List Budget-Friendly!
Just Got Engaged? Follow These Steps!
Copyright © 2014 – Larry James. This information is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website and Wedding Blog. Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Check Larry’s availability.
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