Engagements

Weddings

Wedding photographer, Starbucks enthusiast, and lover of all things romance and weddings.

MEET Andrea

Getting engaged is one of the most incredible moments of your relationship. It’s a time to celebrate, and really enjoy together! Whether it was a surprise proposal in front of family and friends or an intimate moment between the two of you at home, it deserves to be celebrated! But it also means there is a lot to think about. How do you start planning? What is the first step you should take? It can be overwhelming! So today, I wanted to share the top six things you should do once you’re engaged. As a bride planning my own wedding right now, these were all so important!

Enjoy the Moment

If you have ever needed a reason to get a manicure, this is the time. If you have ever needed a reason to take a selfie, this is the time. The stage of life that you are in right now is so fleeting! It will be a blip on the radar of your entire life, but it demands importance. So, enjoy the time you get to call your significant other your “fiancé” while also having nothing to do with wedding planning. Take a week or two to let the news really sink in. Flaunt that ring and just BE engaged. There is plenty of time to plan. Once you’re engaged, take time just to enjoy it all.

How to start your wedding planning

Talk to Your Fiancé

When you are ready to start the wedding planning process, you first need to talk to your fiancé. The best thing to do is to communicate with each other before discussing details with anyone else. Remember, there is a wedding AND there is a marriage. They are two very different things. If you take the time to chat now, you will save a lot of frustration down the road.

You and your fiancé’ need to be on the same page, focusing on what really matters to both of you. Ask each other questions! When should we have the wedding? What are you thinking? Where will it be? Where do you envision the wedding? Do you want to keep it small? Do you want a big celebration? Heck, do you want to elope? This is the time to sit down and answer one big question: What do WE want? Plenty of people will want to give their input and thoughts, but this is about the two of you!

West Virginia wedding photographer 6 Things To Do Now Once You’re Engaged

Create a Budget

Now that you two are talking, let’s talk money. No one likes to talk about money. It can be, well, awkward. However, before you can really move forward with any of your wedding plans, this is a discussion that has to be had – whether it’s between you and your spouse or you, your spouse, and the parents. This is where the reality of the situation lies.

The answer to the budget question may determine so many factors you will have to consider for your wedding day: venue, guest list, length of engagement, bridal party size, wedding dress, etc. Budgets can be difficult, especially if you and your fiancé are paying for things on your own and haven’t experienced the wedding world/realistic prices.

You have to set your priorities. My fiancé and I wanted to make sure we had our top three priorities covered in the budget; everything else would be lower on the totem pole.

My Big Three:
Photography/Videography
Venue
Florals

His Big Three:
Venue
Food
Photography/Videography

West Virginia wedding photographer How to start planning your West Virginia wedding

Narrow Your Date or Season

If your budget allows for the flexibility of your wedding date, consider the seasons. Yes, we are talking spring, summer, fall, and winter. The seasons dictate a lot of your decisions. If your dream venue is outdoors during a rainy month, make sure there’s a rain plan. The season will determine which flowers you can and cannot use and help narrow down a color palette. And yes, the season may determine the pricing of venues, coordinators, and photographers!

If you are looking to save some money, consider the off-season in your area. That is normally the winter, where it is colder. If you are looking for a Spring wedding during the busy season, keep in mind that fewer weekends might be available. So start to think of the season once you’re engaged so that you can narrow it down!

6 Things To Do Now Once You’re Engaged

Choose a Wedding Venue

Now, this is a big one and one of the first things to look at once you’re engaged. Your wedding venue is ground zero for a lot of your wedding decisions. Is it indoor or outdoor or both? How many people can it hold? Where is it located? Can Grandma physically get up the aisle? These are all things to consider. Now that you have your budget figured out, you can start looking for a place that has all of your needs and, hopefully, all of your wants.

I would recommend starting a wedding venue spreadsheet that helps keep in mind all of the different options that venues can have. This spreadsheet will also help you figure out if you’re more of an all-inclusive-couple or looking for a la carte options.

Here are a number of things to consider when looking for a wedding venue and certain things to add to that spreadsheet: Location, Capacity, Availability, Type, Layout, Rates, Restrictions, Parking/Transportation, Facility Extras, Catering, Bartending, and Rentals.

All of this talk feels very right brain. So, let’s touch on the left for a second. Does the venue fit your vibe? Do you have a gut feeling about it? Site visits are an excellent way for you to see the possibilities for your decor. Is the venue naturally beautiful and, therefore, would require less decor? Or does it need some pizzazz and additional (costly) inspiration?

When my fiancé and I toured venues, we were looking at the several factors listed above and ended up choosing a venue that would require some travel but had plenty of hotel space nearby!

6 Things To Do Now Once You’re Engaged West Virginia wedding photographer

Draft Your Guest List

Your budget is going to dictate a lot of this part. If parents are financially helping with the wedding, I would make it a courtesy to ask them who they would like to include at your wedding. It’s a good idea to get the families together and talk about the guest list to avoid surprises. (Are you having a kid-friendly wedding or would you rather it be adults only?)

Keep in mind, Each guest adds to the number of plates your caterer will prepare, favors (if you are doing these), chair rentals, and how much cake/dessert you’ll need. We recommend choosing a number that’s smaller than your venue’s capacity. Later, if there’s room in the budget, you can add on at a later time (just don’t make it the day before the wedding).

A general rule to remember, about 20% of the guest list will decline to attend. This is either due to circumstances surrounding pregnancies, illness, or travel. And out of those who RSVP “yes!” about 5% will end up not showing up. It just happens.

6 Things To Do Once You’re Engaged

Overall when planning a wedding, it can get to be stressful. But like I said in the beginning, there is a wedding, AND there is a marriage. Keep your love at the forefront! Take time to soak in this fantastic time, and take your planning in stages. This will help the two of you avoid any overwhelm and stress when planning. As you start to plan, I would love to learn more about your wedding! We are booking quickly for 2022, so reach out today!

West Virginia wedding photographer

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6 Things To Do Once You’re Engaged

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