Congratulations on your engagement! I know you’re going to hear a ton but let me say it too! We, as a culture, love to celebrate new love and every new engagement holds a special place in our hearts. But you might be asking yourself, ‘I just got engaged, now what?’ Well, here are 12 things to do when you are newly engaged.
I Just Got Engaged, now what?
1. Tell your family and closest friends.
Your parents and loved ones are going to be so excited and happy to hear the story. So get the story down and get ready to tell it a lot! You’ll be telling people in the grocery store line because between that new ring and that excited ‘I just got engaged’ glow, you’re going to be telling everyone!
2. Get your engagement ring insured
This is kind of the bad part of being an adult, having to insure things. But your engagement ring is super valuable both sentimentally and financially. Adding your engagement ring to your insurance isn’t hard. Go visit your insurance agent, I recommend Ashlie Adsit with American Family Insurance or Jenna Isch with Farmers Insurance in Lafayette, Indiana. They are both amazing insurance agents and are super kind. They’ll walk you through everything about it. But here are a few tips.
- If your fiance purchased the engagement ring at one of the local jewlery shops, ask them to get you an appraisal for the ring. An appraisal will determine the market value right now (even if they just bought it).
- Insurance agents will use the appraisal report (not the receipt of purchase) to determine the value of your engagement ring.
- Your engagement ring will be added to your homeowner’s or renters insurance policy. Typically, it’s about $100 a year and it covers everything from theft, damage, and disappearance. (Just know exactly what is covered when you insure your engagement ring).
3. Determine a budget for your wedding
If you’re already living together you’ve already had some discussions about money. Money is the number one reason for separations and divorce in our country so I want to transparent that being honest, open, and reasonable about it is important. Now that you just got engaged, you can begin planning your wedding. But you need to know how much to spend first.
Determining your wedding budget is a personal matter and should not be based on the national averages because each state varies. My wife, Felicia, and I also believe that those numbers have been somewhat inflated by the wedding industry to further encourage higher spending because of the status quo feel.
To determine a budget for your wedding, you’re first going to need to decide on a few things. What are your most important parts of the day? Felicia, my wife, owner of Emerald Lotus Events and creator of Simple Wedding Planning suggests you pick your Top 5 most important parts of your wedding. This can be anything from the venue to your dress. Whatever those top choices are is where you will allocate a large portion of your wedding budget.
Once you’ve identified your Top 5, you can check prices for those things and also see the average cost of weddings in your state (just be aware they may be higher than what they actually are). On average, people spend between $15,000-$25,000 on their wedding day. You can increase or decrease this number depending on your budget, jobs, and future goals.
Pro tip: do not go into debt for your wedding. You are not required to get married a year after you’re engaged. Spending time being engaged means growing deeper in love, navigating life, and allows you to save even more money for your wedding.
4. Determine the type of wedding you want to have
Determine whether or not you want a local wedding, a destination wedding, or an elopement. All of these weddings end up with you marrying your partner on your best day. Each has pros and cons, however and I’ll briefly break those down.
Have a local wedding
Pros of a local wedding are that you can invite more people and travel isn’t necessary if everyone lives locally. Where you are living and the surrounding areas carry a lot of meaning because you currently live there.
The cons of hosting a local wedding are that usually, the cost associated with them is traditionally higher due to the amount of people you are able to invite. You also run the risk of friends and family members trying to impose their opinions and thoughts on how you should have your wedding. While this can be helpful, it can quickly turn into you no longer having control of the vision of your wedding.
Have a destination wedding.
Pros of a destination wedding are you can invite a larger number of people than an elopement. Typically, the place you choose to elope at can host your guests in it or nearby. Your destination is entirely dependent upon your choice and will include a location and backdrop that is absolutely perfect.
Cons of a destination wedding are that it can cost as much as a local wedding with less people. It also includes travel for family and friends and that can be costly, especially if you’re going international.
If you’re interested in an destination wedding, you can contact us and we would be happy and honored to be a part of that with you.
Have an elopement.
Pros of an elopement are that you have an intimate wedding ceremony wherever you want and it totally about you two. You don’t have to have a destination elopement to elope. You can elope in your backyard, a special place nearby, or on the beaches of Hawaii. Elopements are small ceremonies and include you two, an officiant, a photographer, and any number of close loved ones. (or sometimes none at all!)
Cons of an elopement are that you won’t have the amount of people present at your wedding and it can be difficult to navigate how to plan an elopement. They are becoming more popular so resources are growing. If you’re interested in an inclusive elopement, you can check out our elopement page and we will help you.
5. Book your vendors
You’ve decided on the location for your wedding day so now you need to secure a location. Booking a venue or location will determine the availability of all your other vendors. If you’re having a local wedding and location/venue are in your Top 5, you’ll want to tour and make a deposit to reserve your date. A deposit for a venue can vary but usually costs about 25% of the entire cost of it. So expect to pay between $1000-$2500 for a deposit. You’ll need that cash on hand in order to pay it so start saving.
Next, you’ll go through your vendor list from most important on your Top 5 list. You’ve booked your venue, so now you have 4 vendors left in your list. If photography is your next most important vendor, reach out to photographers and inquire about your day.
Pro tip: when inquiring with any vendor, introduce yourself, share your wedding date, venue, ask if they are available, and tell them a little about your vision.
I love to hear about your wedding day dreams and visions because it helps me be excited with you. If you’ve chosen a location I’ve photographed at in the past, I will usually send you an example gallery, images, or a wedding blog of that location so you can see what your wedding day could look like.
Continue through the rest of your Top 5 list until those vendors are booked and secured. This does not need to happen overnight because every wedding vendor is different and each usually needs a certain amount of time to be booked by in order to secure their services.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the average booking times of wedding vendors
Venue: 14-18 months
Wedding Planner: 12-14 months
Photographer: 12-18 months
Videographer: 12-16 months
Catering: 12 months
Wedding Dress: 12 months
DJ: 10-12 months
Rentals: 8-10 months
Hair/Makeup: 6-9 months
Wedding Cake: 8-12 months
Florist: 8-10 months
Transportation: 10-12 months
Coordinator: 6-8 months
COVID-19 took us all by storm and wedding vendor bookings are now getting pushed further and further out due to the postponements we all saw in 2020. The good news is that if you want to plan a wedding in under a year, you can still totally do it! It will take a bit more effort due to some locations and vendors already being booked.
If you’re considering planning a wedding in a short amount of time, considering choosing an ‘off-season’ wedding. Wedding season in the US is usually April-Early November. This allows you A solid 4-5 months of picking a date that has more availability and may even cost less.
Also, remember that if the venue or location is not number 1 on your Top 5 list, you can reach out to the vendor that is and find out their available dates in a certain time frame. I recently I had a couple that had to change venues and asked me what my availability was. They were able to secure a new location on a date I was available to photograph their wedding. Everyone wins!
6. Remember, it’s okay to just be engaged.
Wedding planning and budgeting is stressful and can feel overwhelming at times. There are a ton of great resources out there. Here’s a blog I wrote about how to enjoy just being engaged. It’s a great resource for couples who are looking for a break in wedding planning or aren’t quite ready to commit to planning their wedding full-time quite yet.
If you need more help, I cannot recommend Simple Wedding Planning, enough. My wife, Felicia, has poured months of work into the creation of this amazing online wedding planning course for couples. She covers everything and more in it. Here’s a link over to her page so you can get all the information you need about it!
If you’re still feeling stressed about it, hire a wedding planner. Wedding professionals are paid to exclusively work weddings. Your wedding planning may feel like a full time job because it is. And for many of us, it is our full time job, so by balancing your wedding planning with your full time job, it can feel very overwhelming.
7. ‘I just got engaged’ now it’s time for our parents to meet.
If you haven’t had a chance to combine holidays quite yet, it may be a possibility your parents haven’t had the pleasure of meeting one another. Plan a date with your parents so they can meet and get to know each other before the wedding. A nice dinner out is always fun but a Zoom meeting always works too if distance or social distancing is being observed.
Try to avoid hot topic subjects at the first meeting. Politics, religion, and unpopular opinions can always be shared at another time.
8. Continue saving and paying off your vendors
Marriage is so important and money is important too. By being able to enter into your new marriage with your partner without the debt of wedding debt will be a weight that you’ll never have to shoulder or burden. Try to avoid letting the costs pile up without paying on them.
Do not let the ‘I just got engaged’ feeling get in the way of smart planning. Being debt free will make your marriage so much happier!
9. Be creative about the not-so-important things
Even though we all want to pretend that every little thing is important on your wedding day, the truth is far from it. In fact, there will be parts about your wedding that you don’t care about but may be expected to have or do. If something is not important to you, don’t waste your time or money on it.
A few easy wedding budget cuts that can save you money are:
Wedding favors. Most end up the trash so save your money
Excessive floral arrangements. You can downsize your floral bill by choosing to have your florals moved if you’re having a ceremony and reception in a different place.
Your wedding dress. This is an interesting one because our culture puts such an emphasis on little girls wearing extravagant wedding gowns for their big day. Disney and many other movies have romanticized the idea of the feeling of being a princess on your wedding day. But if you don’t have the funds of a sovereign, consider something more alternative. There are beautiful wedding dresses on Amazon, Lulus, and even at wedding consignment stores.
Choose an off-season date to be married or a Friday or Sunday wedding. This can save you thousands of dollars if you choose to have a Sunday wedding in February in Indiana. Typically, this is not going to be a popular date because hello, February in Indiana. But it doesn’t make it any less special and some beautiful winter wedding portraits in the snow can be lovely.
Catering costs. Catering is going to be a huge part of your bill if you decide to have a local wedding with 250 people. On average, catering costs are around $5,000-$9,000 in the Midwest. This does not include large cities such as Chicago, where costs can easily be doubled. Catering is calculated per person, which is why an accurate guest list is important. To avoid some of the unnecessary costs associated with catering, consider reducing the number of sides or downgrading your entrée selection from prime rib to chicken or pasta.
10. Wedding timeline and vendor communication
If you’re not hiring a wedding day coordinator, you’re going to have to create a wedding timeline based around your wedding day. Your wedding photographer will probably have some suggestions about your wedding start time, depending on the time of year and location. However, your photographer will not be creating a timeline for your cake vendor’s arrival, when your mother should have her hair done or who will be cleaning up at the end of the night.
You’ll want to be extraordinarily thorough with your timeline creation and talk to all of your vendors 30 days and 10 days in advance of your wedding. This allows finalizations and last minute changes to be taken into account.
If you’re struggling with a timeline or don’t know where to begin, contact my wife, Felicia at Emerald Lotus Events. Her coordination services are the most in-depth, helpful, and stress-free. My observation of her wedding coordination comes from an unbiased perspective as I have seen and attended many weddings. She really is the best at it.
11. OMG, I just got engaged! Time to register for your wedding gifts!
YAY! Back to the fun stuff! Registering for wedding gifts! Talk with your partner about what is most important to you about your wedding gifts. If you already own a home and have been there and are settled in, don’t register for things you don’t need. Instead, consider heirloom pieces that multiple friends and family members can purchase for you such as a nice china set or high quality pots and pans that will last you a lifetime.
Another option for wedding registries is the ability to register for an experience. More and more, we millennials crave an experience over possession so why not register for your honeymoon?
‘I just got engaged, let’s plan my honeymoon!’
Honeyfund is a great way to register for your honeymoon allows people to donate money to your honeymoon adventures. You can even itemize parts of your honeymoon and have people sponsor a specific excursion! A really fun thing to do with that would be to take a photo or video and thank them on social media for that couple or person sponsoring the activity you’re doing on your honeymoon!
12. Enjoy your wedding day and live happily ever after!
Okay, your wedding day is finally approaching! You’ve got everything booked, secured, coordinated, and everyone knows when, where, and what they’ll be doing for your best day. So enjoy it! Take a deep breath and let those shoulders relax again. Your wedding day will be beautiful and perfect just like you imagined.
If you want to talk more about your wedding day dreams and to have New Adventure Productions join you on your wedding, destination wedding, or elopement, send us a message here!
And check out some of our beautiful adventures near and far! Here is a link to our 2020 elopements and weddings!
If you still have that ‘omg I just got engaged what do I do’ feeling, give us a message below!