Your Engaged! Now What?
February is the month of love and before it ends there will be a lot of newly engaged couples. To all of you, I say congratulations! This is an exciting time, even if we are still dealing with a pandemic that is altering how we celebrate such events. For all of you happy couples, once the YES has been exclaimed you start realizing that there are a lot of questions. Hopefully, this blog will help get you started.
First things, first. Get that timeline started.
One of the first questions you will be asked once you announce your engagement is “do you have a date yet”? That is the tip of the iceberg of questions, but one that is important for planning and helping to frame your special day. Picking a date isn’t just about grabbing a calendar and randomly selecting a date–at least not for most people.
Several factors that you will want to think about to help with picking a date are 1) how big will your wedding be, 2) if you have a specific venue in mind, what is the availability, and 3) are you using an event planner to help with the planning or handling on your own.
Vendors – So many vendors, so little time
The next most frequently asked question seems to be “do you have a dress yet”? Some say the dress can set the tone of the wedding and find it helpful to at least have a general idea of the type of dress you want to guide decisions about flowers, cake, and décor at the ceremony and reception venue. Before hiring vendors, it is good to get a general idea of the style you want. With Pinterest and Google Images, it is easy to create a vision board for what you and your fiancé would like for your wedding. This helps clarify what you both want (rustic country, classic romance, or steampunk) from the venue, invitations, flowers, to table settings.
Once you have a general idea of what you want your wedding to look like and a date set, I recommend you start researching vendors and check reviews. Referrals from friends are always great when you can get them. Remember that this is your special day and just because someone gave you a referral, you don’t have to use them if you don’t click with them. Before reaching out to vendors, have a list of questions to ask ready to make sure you fully understand their pricing, scope of work, availability, and experience.
As you look at photographers for your wedding, I recommend you ask if they also do an engagement photo session. An engagement photo session is a nice way to capture your special time before the wedding while also allowing you time to work with the photographer to build a rapport making you more comfortable on your wedding day. (I still have our engagement photo on the wall and just love it!)
Planning – Going it solo or with a planner.
There are a lot of planning tools available on-line if you have decided to plan the wedding on your own, below are a couple of links I found for you. (Please note I am not endorsing any of these but merely providing resources to help you start your journey.)
The Knot: Planning Template
Zola: Planning Guide
Martha Stewart Weddings: Planning Guide
Some venues have a day-of-event coordinator. (Add that to your list of questions for the venue.) They may be a great resource for you. However, they generally do an overview and not the very detailed help with making sure all of the little details are handled and the day run smoothly. If you don’t want to ask a family member to be your day-of help with the timeline to make sure everything flows effortlessly, you can hire a day-of coordinator.
If you are looking for an event planner to help with the entire wedding or just assist with the details on the day of your wedding, you can do a Google search for your local area. Recommendations from your vendors (venue, florist, etc.) or friends is another great way to find a list of planners to choose from. (I know a great event planner if you are looking for one. She’s an accredited Certified Meeting Planner and an awesome person. Reach out if you want a referral!)
Planning a wedding, big or small, can feel overwhelming. This should be a fun time for you and your fiancé but there will be times that you need to remember to just stop and take a deep breath. Self-care is key as weddings are special and fun but can also be very stressful planning and getting up to the alter. I recall my wedding day (and all the stress planning it). The day went by so fast and it was hard to visit with everyone. To this day, I’m so happy we had an amazing photographer to capture our day. We look back at our album and photos fairly regularly and it sparks a fun memory for us. Some of our family members are no longer with us, so the photos are extra special.
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I'm a Vancouver, WA photographer focusing on portraits and have a love of travel!