So…. you had this moment! Congratulations!!! We’re honestly so excited for you and the new adventure that you guys are embarking on in your relationship!! Whatever the road to get to EngagedTown looked like for you, I’m sure you’re absolutely stoked to be here now. Stoked… And maybe immediately overwhelmed by how. much. stuff. there. is. to. do. Believe us when we say that it’s absolutely normal to feel overwhelmed, stressed out, or even just like you don’t know where to begin! SO we wanted to put together this little list of the first 5 things you should do after getting engaged! Picture this as a little boost up onto the StairMaster that is wedding planning!
The first thing you’re going to want to do (but let’s be honest – you’ve probably already done this by now!) is tell your friends and family! YOU’RE ENGAGED! Congratulations!! Post up some photos to IG, make a TikTok showing off the ring, and don’t forget to update your Facebook relationship status!
2. Consider a Wedding Date
When choosing a wedding date, there’s a couple things people usually go off of!
On the last one – if you have no other significant dates or preferences then it’s a really great idea to actually skip ahead to step 3, find your dream venue, and see what they have available! Then you’re checking two boxes at once and you don’t have to worry about doing the opposite – picking a date and hoping your dream venue has it available!
3. Look for Wedding Venues in your Area
Once you book your venue – that’s when your date is official and you can start booking other vendors! The vast majority of vendors won’t be able to book with you until after you lock in a date by choosing a venue – otherwise it’s too risky that your date could change and then they’d suddenly be unavailable or double booked! At this point you might have *some* idea of the style/vibe you’re going for, but it’s not imperative that you know and could communicate every bit of your vision! It’s likely you’ll just kinda click with the correct venue!
If you’re looking in the Pensacola area, we recommend checking out our blog post (linked above) with our favorite venues in town! After that if you’re not still seeing just what you’re looking for then hop on trusty Google. We’ve found it to be really reliable as far as showing the huge amount of venues we have in town! From there, narrow down to your top 3-5 venues and contact them to set up a tour! Pretty much every venue either has open hours or the ability to schedule a tour through their website or by contacting them directly. We highly recommend you going to each venue before you book! And even if the first place feels like the one – prove yourself right by checking out other places! The worst thing that could happen is you spend some extra time you didn’t need to spend… but you’ll also know you made the absolutely best choice since you’d have done some comparisons!
4. Flesh out Your Style and Vibe (AKA Pinterest time babyyyyy)
Do you want your wedding to feel more formal or more casual? Are you okay with guests wearing whatever, or would you want to set a dress code? (ps: we always recommend setting a dress code since you literally would not believe what some guests think is fine to wear to weddings! Not to shame… but we’ve seen shorts and t-shirts too many times to say nothing!) Do you want lighter and brighter details and styling, to be cohesive with a filmy style photographer? Or something more rustic and moody that might suit a darker style of photography? Would you prefer to accessorize the space with tons of florals or maybe leave it as is? Or what about a ton of candles?
There’s about a billion more questions you can ask yourself and work through as you’re trying to mood board your wedding – but hopefully those are a good pace to start! Your planner will be able to help you work through and process more thoroughly!
5. Find your next round of vendors!
Generally after you book your venue you’re going to want to find your other vendors in roughly this order! It’s totally okay if there’s some other vendors you go ahead and lock in, but if you’re wondering where to really put the most effort this is the way to go!
Wedding Planner (some planners would prefer you book them before your venue, but you certainly won’t hear any complaints if they’re #2!)
Photographer (we’ve been booked up to 3 years in advance so it’s imperative you reach out and lock us down asap to make sure you’re the one we’re with on your date!)
Band (a top planner in our area says “A band needs to be booked very far in advance, but a DJ can be about 6 months out)
Dress Shopping (not a vendor, unless you want to call it hiring a bridal boutique! – but this needs to be done super early to accommodate for shipping and alteration times!)
Other vendors should be reached out to ASAP but aren’t necessarily imperative to try to book as soon as possible! Definitely if there’s a specific vendor you’ve been seeing and love their work then contact them and see when they like to be booked! After the above vendors, we think it’d be great to put focus towards rentals (seating, decor, etc), florals, hair/makeup, and video). But your planner will walk you through all of your next steps based off your plan and budget!
You’re in for an epic time. That’s a fact.
Hopefully this guide will be super helpful to you as you start on your wedding planning journey! We certainly don’t claim to be wedding planners – we’re just photographers who see couples in the same place as you and want to help! If you’ve got any additional tips, feel free to throw them down in the comments below! We’d love if even more great advice was added for all the future couples that will see this!