That new ring you’re sporting is beautiful! So he finally popped the question? I’m sure you are thrilled to be engaged and to get married! Who wouldn’t be, right?
But who’s ever planned a wedding before? Where do you start? There’s so much to consider once you start thinking about it, and maybe you’re not even ready to start the planning process yet. Or maybe you’re ready to dive on in!
Either way, there are a few things you should do once you crossed into the land of being a fiancé! Unless you’re trying to keep news of your engagement just between the two of you for a while, I’m going to assume that you’ve already shared the news – calling parents, texting siblings and BFFs. They’re so excited for you, and I’m sure one or two of them have already asked all kind of questions about the wedding. Because you’ve already planned out the big things in less than 24 hours, right?
Well that leads me to the rest of this article. What SHOULD you be doing right now? How CAN you be prepared for all that’s to come? Since you’ve never planned a wedding before, here are some tips on certain things that need to be done first before you can jump head first into your planning process.
1. Get A Manicure
Ok this is more of a fun one and a way to celebrate that new ring you’re sporting! Chances are you’ll want to post a photo on social media and friends are definitely going to want to admire it up close and personal over the next few weeks.
So swing by your favorite nail salon and get those hands in tip-top condition! Something simple and classic will be best for making your ring the center of attention.
2. Talk About a Targeted Date, Month, Season, or Year
After showing off your ring, the next question you’ll likely get is, “So when’s the wedding?” You’ve probably been asked a hundred times already, right? While you won’t have an answer to give them, you should start discussing a general timeframe for having the wedding with your fiancé.
Consider factors like how much time you’ll want to have to plan, when family might be available to travel, business commitments or launches, will you be open to non-Saturday dates, etc. Sometimes narrowing down to a season or even just the year is the most you can do in the beginning. This actually isn’t a bad thing! Having flexibility in your timing is going to be helpful when you start searching for venues and locations.
Especially because you may find that venues book up much sooner than you anticipated. This may make it necessary to readjust your intended wedding date if you start with something too specific or to be more open to different types of locations that have the availability you want. For example, fall weddings are very popular and typically book up well over a year in advance. If you’re dead set on that time of year, you might need to push into the following year. It sounds crazy, but it happens all the time!
3. Budget and Priorities Discussion
It’s the elephant in the room – the budget. But it’s an important general discussion you need to have before you start wedding planning.
Talk with your fiancé, talk with your parents. How much might each contribute? This might help set an overall number to work with, but after that comes the tougher part. You might then wonder how to set a more specific budget when you don’t know what flowers or cake or photography are supposed to cost?
Sticker shock is a real thing for couples so it’s important to be open minded in the beginning. Popular wedding magazines often publish guidelines on what average weddings or vendors are “supposed” to cost, but often times those “guidelines” aren’t accurate for your part of the country. Especially if you’re in a bigger metro area. Gather information and hear what vendors have to say. Then have another discussion on what the necessities or priorities will be for your wedding. What’s most important to you both? What will make the most impact? An amazing venue, multi-course dining, specialty cocktails, a live band, abundant flowers, expert photography? It’s up to you. But once you know more about where you want to focus your expenses, then you can reallocate parts of your overall budget accordingly.
An overall tip, though? One of the more effective ways to save money isn’t by finding a cheaper DJ, for example. It’s by limiting your guest list. Having fewer guests will lower costs for several of your vendors as a result.
4. Ballpark a Guest List
Which leads us to the guest list. The size of your wedding will influence so much of your planning! You’ll need a date and location before you can book just about any other vendor, so a venue is likely going to be the first thing you book. And for this, you’ll need to know how many people you’ll potentially have invited so you can find an appropriately-sized reception location.
Again, talk with your fiancé. Are you wanting something small and intimate or big with everyone you know? Talk with both sets of parents, especially if they are helping with the budget. Are there unspoken rules of what family will need to be invited or are they leaving the choice up to you?
Try making two lists. One list is the must-invite people. These are your closest friends and family who you couldn’t imagine the wedding without. They may also be the people you are obligated to invite due to family, work, or other reasons. The second list is nice-to-invite people. These are typically more extended family, additional coworkers, and more casual friends. You’d love to invite them if you could, but you also wouldn’t be heartbroken if they weren’t there.
Once you have a ballpark number of people, then you can begin looking for venues. Remember that the number of people you invited is not the same as the number of people who will attend. There will always be a percentage of those who will decline for various reasons.
5. Size and Insure Your Ring
If you’re worn out from all the planning discussion, here’s some quick action you can take that will give you peace of mind. It’s not the most romantic thing to address, but hey it’s good to be safe and practical sometimes!
Let’s talk about the size of your ring. No, not the diamond size. The ring size! If it’s a little too tight to wear comfortably or it’s too big that you’re worried it might fall off or get lost, find a local jeweler who can resize it for you. Sometimes it can be done in just a few hours!
Next, you’ll also want to make sure your ring is insured. This is obviously a valuable item for you – both financially and sentimentally. While nothing can replace emotional value, you can protect your investment if you ever need to repair or replace your ring. Start with your renter’s or homeowner’s insurance. Your agent might be able to do a quick and easy add-on to your existing policy, especially if you already have an appraise from when it was purchased.
6. Thank Your Fiancé
In the excitement around saying “yes”, remember that your fiancé put a lot of thought and effort into your ring and the proposal. Of course, you’re excited and thankful and happy-beyond-words. But don’t forget to tell him all that! Make sure he knows that you’re not just excited for the ring, but for the lives you’ll build together in your marriage!
Remember, planning a wedding should be fun and something that you enjoy doing! Go at your own pace. There’s no rule that dictates how long an engagement has to be. You might feel the pressure to do all the thing all at once. But choosing colors can wait. Asking your bridesmaids can come later. Buying out every wedding magazine isn’t a requirement. Do what feels right for you. Weddings always come together as they should. And if you end up marrying your partner at the end of it, then the wedding was just as it was supposed to be!
48 Fields Farm is a Leesburg Virginia wedding venue for celebrations of all sizes.
Our countryside barn and open fields are peacefully set in the heart of Northern Virginia wine country.