The First Five Things To Do When You Get Engaged

By Anna Katherine Baxley, Build-A-Bride Birmingham

Congratulations on your engagement! You may be asking yourself, “Where do I even begin with wedding planning?” That is okay--we are here to give you a few tips for where to start!  

When you first get engaged, you are likely experiencing so much excitement to officially be marrying your person. Family and friends may start asking you questions that you don’t have answers to yet; it can become a little overwhelming as a newly engaged couple. 

To help you navigate this exciting and unchartered time, we have put together a list of the first five things to do when you get engaged to help start the wedding planning process. We hope that these are helpful and take a little stress off of you!

1) Enjoy the Moment

The first thing to do when you get engaged is to take time to celebrate and savor the moment. This is the beginning of forever with your partner, so pop the champagne and celebrate with each other as you share the news with family and friends. Enjoy being engaged for a few weeks or months before beginning any wedding planning--this is the perfect time to enjoy the moment and not get overwhelmed. 

Image: Eric and Jamie Photography

2) Decide on an Engagement Timeline 

The first things you and your fiance should do when beginning wedding planning is to determine how long you would like your engagement to be and what time of year you would like to get married. There is no right or wrong answer here; it is truly a personal preference. The average engagement length in the U.S. is 12 to 18 months. It is helpful to take into consideration what the weather will be like in your location, if there are any symbolic dates that are important to you, and if there are any holidays that may affect travel for guests.  

Image: Kristen Pugh Photography

3) Make a Guest List

Once you have decided on your length of engagement and an ideal time of year for the wedding, the next step is to begin making a wedding guest list with your fiance. Start off by making individual guest lists, then combine them together to see how many people you would like to invite. No matter if you want a small wedding or a large wedding, it is important to get a guest list together before booking a wedding venue or any local wedding vendors. Your guest count dictates almost everything moving forward, from budget to wedding venue size and more. 

Image: Kelli and Daniel Taylor Photo

4) Set a Budget

No one likes to discuss money, but when it comes to wedding planning, it is imperative to make a budget and stick to it. It is very easy to overspend and get carried away adding additional wedding services that you may not have budgeted for. If you are using a wedding planner or coordinator, they can help by giving recommended percentages for each category based on your overall wedding budget. 

It is also helpful if you and your fiance sit down together and each decide what your top 2-3 priority items are for the wedding so you can allocate additional funds there if necessary. For example, if the food and wedding band are important to your fiance, and wedding photography and wedding dress are important to you, make sure you allocate additional money there. 

Image: Canva

5) Begin Booking Wedding Vendors

Now that you have your wedding size, a wedding budget, and an ideal time of year, it is time for the fun part: selecting your wedding vendors! Your wedding vendors will become friends during the planning process, and they are there to make your day fabulous and stress free. It is common to start by booking the wedding venue first, especially if you are set on a particular one. Once you book your wedding venue, begin booking wedding vendors that are the highest priority and the most in demand, such as wedding photographer, wedding florist, wedding caterer, and wedding entertainment. 

Image: Kim Box Photography

There you have it: five steps to start your wedding planning process! We wish you all the best as you celebrate your engagement, and when you are ready to shop for a wedding dress, visit one of our Build-A-Bride bridal shop locations.

June 29, 2021 — Heidi Baker