Getting engaged is one of the most exciting moments of your entire life. In one instant, everything changes. You've made the decision to MARRY that handsome man in front of you who is down on one knee and probably still as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.
Getting engaged can also be one of the most stressful times of your life. Because (unless you're this girl) the next step is Wedding Planning. Suddenly everyone has nineteen opinions about decorations and dresses and who should be in your wedding party and if you hear the words, "I saw this thing on Pinterest..." one more time you're going to run screaming for the hills.
So, as a former bride-to-be who has been-there-done-that, I put together a list of things you need to do after you get engaged.
1. Get Thee to Premarital Counseling
No matter how perfect you think your relationship is, it's not. You both need help. You and your husband-to-be are moving into a new and challenging stage of life together, and you need someone (a pastor, mentor, or a trusted older couple that IS NOT YOUR PARENTS) to show you the ropes and ask the hard questions.
Please don't skip over this part. As much effort as you put into planning the wedding, you should be putting MORE effort into planning for your marriage.
2. Remember, it's YOUR Wedding
You can read that statement one of two ways.
Option No. 1 - "YES! It's MY wedding! I'm so awesome and everyone should be so happy for me and everyone NEEDS to bend over backwards to make MY Wedding Dreams come true! My bridesmaids should feel SO SPECIAL that they get to be in MY WEDDING. Fa-la-la-la!"
Option No. 2 - "It's my wedding. Not everyone is going to be as excited about it or as committed to it as I am. While this is an important time in my life, I realize that other people are doing other things. Being a bride-to-be does not make me the center of the universe. No one owes me anything, and I should be humble and grateful for people's enthusiasm, time, and help."
Your mindset will affect how many people want to talk to you after the wedding.
2 1/2. Remember, it's OUR Wedding
The wedding should be about BOTH of you. Include your fiancé in the planning as much as he wants to be included, and respect his opinions. Try with all your might to say "our wedding" instead of "my wedding" whenever you're talking about it, too. Don't make your husband-to-be feel like a mere prop in an out-of-control, tulle and lace filled production.
3. Set Boundaries
Everyone is going to have opinions about your wedding, and you'll probably want to make them happy. At the end of the day, though, the wedding should represent you and your husband-to-be. Make decisions that feel right to you guys.
Do not allow people to pressure you into giving them an invitation, spending more money than you want to, going with decorations you hate, or putting people in your wedding party that you don't want there. Kindly but firmly set boundaries and stick to them. You won't be able to please everyone, so don't stress yourself out by trying.
Also, set boundaries with your budget. Going into debt because of a wedding isn't smart.
4. Secure your Date + Location + Photographer
- Date, because it will determine your entire planning timeline
- Location, because it will determine everything from what sort of dress you get (a ginormous ball gown will look out of place in a backyard wedding) to the decorations you buy to the size of your guest list
- Photographer, because photographs will be all you have left after the wedding (you know, other than your marriage) and you want them to be good. Hans and I invested in a phenomenal photographer and booked her within a week of getting engaged.
This photograph alone is worth every single penny we paid her.
5. Declutter Your Fantasy Wedding
If the thought of "Now I get to use my Wedding Board!" didn't cross your mind within 10 minutes of getting engaged, you're a better person than I am.
Pinterest is an amazing tool when it comes to Wedding Planning. It can also be inspiration overload! To stay sane, pare down your Wedding Board to (Need tips to declutter your Pinterest? I can help) to only the things that inspire you the most. I would suggest around 50 pins or so. It will save you time and mental anguish, trust me! Have a core understanding of what the style and feel of the wedding will be, and make decisions based on that. Not trends.
What else should you do after getting engaged?
Under Grace, Rachel
Photo credits | Rose Wheat Photography