You’ve just got engaged! Congratulations! Apart from feeling wonderful, you may also be searching for what you should do next. Fear not, below we’ve broken down some of the best advice for newly engaged couples.
Stop and appreciate the moment
It doesn’t take long, once you’ve begun telling family, friends and acquaintances about your recent engagement for the ideas and questions to begin flowing.
Some people will have advice for you. Others will have questions. The most common of which will be; ‘when’s the big day?’
All well meaning of course, but for the happy couple it can quickly become overwhelming. There are only so many times you can explain that you haven’t decided on a date / venue / dress / colour scheme / flower arrangement etc.
That’s why our first piece of advice is to stop and take a breather. People will ask questions and offer their advice, but just remember, this moment is for you and your partner alone. There’s nothing wrong with responding politely but moving at your own comfortable pace.
The moment immediately after the proposal can feel like being in a bubble. Make that moment last for as long as you can. Plans can wait, the most important thing to do first is spend some time with your married partner to-be and smile about the engagement!
Take care of the ring - insurance and ring size
Tip number one was all about making the most of the dreamy proposal and the moments that follow. Now it’s time to get practical.
It’s likely that following the proposal you are the proud owner of a new, special piece of jewellery. The first thing to consider is, does the ring fit correctly?
If the answer is yes, then well done to your partner! If not, don’t worry, you’ll be able to get the ring resized. Just make sure you don’t wear it before it has been resized. If it’s too small, it’ll get stuck. Too big and you run the risk of dropping and losing it. Neither scenario is a nice way to begin engaged life.
Secondly, your engagement ring is a precious piece of jewellery, both sentimentally and often financially. Make sure you have it insured as soon as possible. It will give you more peace of mind, not least in the early weeks when wearing the ring will feel extra special.
MoneySuperMarket has published a useful guide talking you through the steps to take and things to consider when insuring your engagement ring. It covers options such as taking out dedicated insurance for the ring, or adding it to your home insurance policy. It also covers advice on the level of cover you need.
Have an engagement party, if you’d like one!
Next up is something that’s an optional thing to do when you have just got engaged; the engagement party.
If you have no intention of throwing a separate engagement party, that’s fine! There’s certainly no pressure on you to do so. Skip to the next tip!
However, if like many newly engaged couples you like the idea of using the occasion to bring all of your friends and family together for a celebration, it can be a wonderful thing. It’s also a great way of celebrating the proposal ahead of a long engagement.
The engagement party need not be lavish. You can have it at home with some nibbles. Alternatively, book out a venue that suits the occasion and provides all the space you need to celebrate with everyone.
Want to go big with your engagement party? Brides magazine has an extensive online guide to give you some great ideas.
Think about your ideal wedding timeline
You’re probably a few weeks on from the proposal by this point, questions from those eager for details will have slowed and you’ll now have some space to start thinking about your wedding day.
The first thing to consider is how long you intend to be engaged for before you marry. Sometimes a long engagement makes sense, in which case you can take your time in planning your wedding timeline.
According to a 2017 survey by Bridebook, the average engagement is 20 months.
A typical wedding timeline would begin when you have 12 months to go until the wedding day. There are no hard and fast rules for what needs to be done and when, but it pays to have a rough outline of what you hope to achieve by a certain date. This will at least save you having to rush around at the last minute.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the key milestones when planning your wedding timeline:
12 months to go:
Book your venue
Send out ‘save the dates’
Find (and probably book early) the photographer
Find (and probably book early) the band / DJ
Think about honeymoon plans
6 months to go:
Send invites to guests
Purchase wedding bands
3 months to go:
Finalise food choices
Purchase accessories and decorations
Book dress / suit fittings
1 month to go:
Finalise table plan
1 week to go:
Check in with all suppliers
Depending on the type of ceremony you are having, there will be other things to consider within this timeline, but the above list gives you a good idea of what needs to be planned sooner rather than later.
Spend some time finding inspiration
Take the time early on in your engagement to really think about what inspires you for the wedding day. Once the venue is booked and the clock is ticking, it can be much harder to spend the time really thinking about what ideas you like. That’s why spending the time now will be much more enjoyable.
There are many places to look for inspiration, and it just so happens that we have prepared a number of guides, including:
As well as all of these guides, also check out our 2019 wedding ideas and trends article!
Think about your ideal wedding budget
Time to get practical again. Every idea comes with a price tag. The sooner you plan your budget, the easier everything else will be. If you have a clear budget set, you’ll be able to make wise decisions all the way through the wedding planning process.
Our top tip here is to start a wedding savings fund as soon as you can. Make a realistic allowance each month, and set up a standing order so that you never forget to set aside the money you would like to save for your wedding day.
It also pays to set up a simple budget plan. All you need do is list out all of the individual things you need for your perfect day and set an allowance against each. Make sure that the allowance set matches with what you can save or get access to in terms of budget.
Now, you can cross reference your inspiration list with your budget and see just what fits, and what may need rethinking.
Go and look at some venues
By now, you should have taken some time, celebrated your engagement, insured your ring, planned a timeline and set a budget.
You’re now ready to find the wedding venue. In many ways, finding and securing the venue is the first step that moves you into actively planning your wedding day.
Venues tend to book up well in advance, so always leave ample time to view and assess the venues you are interested in. Speak to each venue about availability and be flexible with your specific wedding date if you can be.
Some people view many venues, others choose from a small pool of candidates. Whichever you are, many people agree that as soon as you find the perfect venue, you’ll know!
Set the wedding date!
So you’ve found the venue, congratulations.
If you’ve followed the steps above, the venue matches the style you were looking for and it falls within your budget.
As soon as you book the venue you are setting your wedding date and your wedding planning timeline truly begins.
Enjoy the process and look forward to your big day. Be sure to keep an eye on our blog where we’ll be posting new guides regularly, they may just help you to plan the perfect wedding day!