Has it sunk in? Does it feel real yet? Well, it is! Congratulations on your engagement! You have found the yin to your yang. The peanut butter to your jam. The sunshine to your rain. And in the midst of all of the excitement, you may also find the trigger to your anxiety.
Should we do a Winter wedding? Summer wedding? Here? Somewhere else? Large? Small? The questions start coming in rapid succession; each one seemingly as important as the next. I’ve been there. I remember it all too well. In an effort to help you cut through the vast unknown, I’ve put together a list of 8 things you should do during your first month of engagement. (Did you know that the average engagement is around 14 months long? See? You’ve got time! …sorta. :))
Have fun! You just got engaged! Celebrate with your friends and family. Splatter photos all over IG and FB. Take a ridiculous number of selfies. (It is acceptable this one time.) Just don’t forget to tell the important people first. You don’t want your mom finding out the big news whilst scrolling through her FB feed. Can you imagine that phone call? No bueno!
If you haven’t already – sit down with your beloved and talk through how you envision your wedding day. It is the perfect time to hammer out some of those big picture items. Narrow things down; give you more of a focus, less of an option overload. Large or intimate? Formal or casual? Beach, forest, campsite, or ballroom? Big sit down dinner or quirky Seattle food truck? Summer, Spring, Autumn or Winter? Indoor or outdoor? Try not to get bogged down with the details, there is plenty of time for that. Just get a feel for how you both see your big day. Hopefully you will agree on most things, but some negotiating will be inevitable. Just remember – breathe, and pick your battles. Your life partner is definitely more important than the style of your fork. I promise.
My favorite one! Not. Although numbers are a terrible topic to bring up during this newfound joy, it is one of the most crucial conversations to have as soon as possible. Are you paying for the wedding yourselves? Are you getting any help from family? It is best to know what you have ahead of time, so you can prioritize the things that are most important. Did you know that the average Seattle wedding costs $25,000?
Once you have hashed out the budget, (congrats on making it through that, by the way!) you will know whether or not you have room (or desire) to hire a wedding planner. It could be someone to help you plan everything from A to Z, or someone to show up day-of and keep the crazy to a minimum. I highly recommend working with at least a day of coordinator and if your life is super busy already a full-on wedding planner may well save your sanity. If you want this sounds helpful now would be the time to find one. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog post on how to find a great wedding planner in the Seattle area. In the meantime, you are welcome to e-mail me if you would like a list of my recommendations. I’d love to help!
This is a fun one. Time to decide who will get the honor of standing beside you as you make your vows. And the honor of shopping for your dress with you. And their dress. And the flower girl’s dress. And the bridal party. And…you get the idea. Choose people who love you enough to forgive you, and tell you, if bridezilla rears her ugly head. 😉
Oh, and fun fact! Times are changing. I have recently photographed lots of wedding parties lately that were comprised of guys and girls standing beside the bride and groom. If your best friend is a guy, then I say, a Dude-of-Honor is just as perfect.
A big one. Most of your big decisions in the early stages will hinge on nailing down where the wedding will take place. It will also give you the official date! Yay!! I am working on two new blog posts that will go into much more detail on how to choose the perfect venue for you. Check back next week to read: “How to choose your wedding venue,” and “My top 30 Seattle area wedding venues.”
Unless your budget discussion went perfectly, and there is no magic number of doom, you will want to prioritize your “must haves” and your “wants.” Perhaps you have always dreamt of certain venue, a particular florist, or a sought-after photographer. It is important to start with the vendors that are most important to you and work down from there. For example, I tend to book my clients out 12 – 18 months in advance, and it is not unusual for couples to contact me before they secure their venue to make sure I am still available for their day of choice.
If you are hoping for a quick engagement or have procrastinated with the best of us – don’t freak out. Consider a Friday or Sunday wedding. I photograph tons of weddings on days other than Saturdays, and often vendors are a little more available then.
Aaaand, once the big stuff is done, RELAX. Not too much, there’s still stuff to do! But, for now, relax. Wedding planning can be stressful. Try not to put undue strain on your relationship. Give each other grace, and continue to date one another. Enjoy each other’s company without feeling the need to ALWAYS talk about the wedding. Have fun being engaged. It is easy to focus on the wedding; but what comes after, the marriage, is what is most important.
Email me or leave a message in the comments below if you have any questions about anything wedding related. If you would like to sign up for notifications of all the great posts that are in the pipeline, please do – I’d love to help you navigate your way through the overwhelming word of wedding planning.
Joanna Monger is a wedding and boudoir photographer located in Snohomish, WA serving the Greater Seattle area. Photography coverage including but not limited to Seattle, Snohomish, Bellevue, Everett, Woodinville, Monroe and surrounding areas.
If you liked this post, you may also like these posts: