Congratulations on your engagement! Being engaged is one of the most exciting times as a couple and we want to help make sure it stays that way! In this blog, we will talk you through some of our tips on what to do if you’re newly engaged. We know that once the excitement of the engagement starts to wear off, the reality of planning a wedding sets in…and it can get to be overwhelming!
We’ve been in your shoes – and still are. Haley and I are currently planning our wedding and have definitely learned a few things on the way we wish we knew in the beginning! So to help you skip the struggle, we’ve created our top 7 wedding planning tips for newly-engaged couples to help you during this season of life! Grab a cup of hot cocoa, a comfy blanket, and let’s dig in. You got this!
1. Start the big 3 conversations right away.
Budget. Wedding size. Location.
These are the 3 big conversations you need to have when you start your wedding planning journey. These choices will lay the foundation for the rest of the decisions you make throughout this season of planning. Start with your budget and wedding size. Make these choices and stick to them. I know, I know – this isn’t the most fun thing to talk about (unless you’re financial gurus who love spreadsheets, in which case, heck yeah!) but they are the starting point and you will refer back to them again, and again.
2. Don’t guess or assume what the other person wants. Ask.
I would venture to say the biggest misconception during wedding planning (one I’m tired of hearing at least) is that men don’t care about wedding planning. We always hear about how most women have their wedding planned out long before they get engaged, and if they don’t – they have all the control! I would like to take this opportunity to pitch an idea and hear me out on this one – while dreams of how you want your wedding to go are wonderful, being engaged to someone and actually planning your wedding is different. Here’s why: there are now two people and two different ideas of how the day should go. Your wedding day will be the best day of both of your lives and you both should have a say in how goes.
A great way to begin bringing both ideas together is to create separate lists of your dreams and visions for the day. Then, sit down and share. Talk. It’s likely you both won’t get 100% exactly what you want, but you will both be much happier with the day in the long run. Hey, your ideas may even be closer than you think. No matter what, you should both go into the conversation looking to understand the other and come away from the conversation feeling listened to and heard.
3. Everything. Is. Expensive.
The earlier you understand this, the easier it will be to accept it. This is also why it is soooooo important to make a budget early and stick to it. Like we mentioned earlier, your budget is one of the most important decisions you will make while wedding planning. Understand that most wedding-related goods and services are expensive simply because they are wedding related (it is super unfortunate, but it is the reality we live in.) There are a few things that would absolutely be worth the investment though that truly do follow the “you get what you pay for” line of thought. Those things would be things like your photographer, your videographer, and your wedding planner. Those three vendors will be some of the best investments you’ll make for your wedding and will play a major role in both how your wedding day itself goes and how you remember it. So, if you need a place to start when setting your budget or building out your wedding priorities, start with those three vendors.
4. Engagement Photos are a MUST.
There aren’t many things we would say are absolute “musts” when it comes to planning your wedding, simply because every couple and every wedding is different. We are big believers and making your day exactly how you want it rather than relying on the standards. However, having your engagement photos is something we believe every couple should do! For starters, you’re getting married and an engagement session is a fun, informal way to celebrate just the two of you! An engagement session also gives you the opportunity to bond with your wedding photographer before the big day. You’ll get to work through any camera nerves, get to know how your photographer works, and really have the chance to get comfortable in front of the camera before the big day. This means that when the big day rolls around, you know how your photographer works and what to expect from the vendor that will spend the most time with you on your wedding day. Not to mention, you’ll get some sweet photos of you and your future spouse! In 50 years, you’ll be very thankful to have this sweet time in your life documented.
Pro tip: make a full day out of your engagement photos! Get all dressed up, head to your engagement session, and then to a date night to celebrate! Yes, this includes dessert afterward!
5. Get your wedding planner involved ASAP.
If you decide to hire a wedding planner for your big day, we strongly recommend they are the first vendors you hire. Having these experts involved in the decisions you make will take a lot of stress off your shoulders. They will know your vision, your budget, your style, and will help you stay organized while you plan. Not only are planners great for design, timelines, and day-of execution – they are filled with knowledge about reliable vendors, legal matters, and so, so much more. If you start planning without one and later decide you do, that’s totally okay too! Just make sure to fill them in on your decisions thus far and be flexible when they start to give wedding planning tips and advice.
6. You don’t have to take, or ask for, everyone’s opinions.
There’s nothing like a wedding to get everyone feeling like they have to share all their opinions and advice. Sometimes, that advice will be helpful and totally appreciated! Other times, it’ll be unsolicited, awkward, and make you feel pressured into taking it. The good news?
You have total control over what opinions you choose to use. If you have expert event and wedding planners in your circle, they’ll most likely have great tips you’ll want to implement. If you have a relative who thinks your wedding is somehow their chance to live vicariously through you, simply smile and say thank you…then forget it happened. Unless you want to – you don’t need to take anyone’s opinions into account, and you don’t even need to ask for anyone’s opinions. Remember: This is YOUR day, and you only get to do it once!
7. Don’t spend every minute planning.
Weddings take tons of planning, time, and give you countless stress headaches. Trust us – we know. But the worst thing you can do is spend this sweet engagement season stressing and planning every minute of your free time. Take your time and take breaks – and this doesn’t mean for a few hours. Set down your planning books, turn off your brain, and spend a day exploring your city. Take a weekend trip to the mountains, the beach, or your favorite city. The only rule should be that you focus on your relationship and not the wedding. You’ll have plenty of time to plan, and you don’t want to get burnt out before the day is actually here!
This season of engagement only happens once. It’s an absolutely magical time and you don’t want to miss it! You’re not just planning a wedding at this time. This time should be about being in love, soaking up the excitement, and getting ready to start a brand new journey together.
We know this is a lot of information to take in, but we hope that it helps you as you plan your bid day. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out and ask us! As wedding experts, we are here to serve you on your special day and help make your dreams come true.
If you would like to see more of our blogs about wedding planning, click here!
Michael Rizza Photography is a Chattanooga and Atlanta wedding photography & videography team capturing timeless wedding memories. We photograph and document weddings in Chattanooga, Atlanta, and beyond. We are available to travel across the country and worldwide to document weddings as well! If you’re looking for a wedding photographer and videographer for your big day, get in touch here!
We hope you loved our free wedding planning tips and start to use them during this exciting time in your lives!