Your First Steps After Saying Yes!

What to do after getting engaged


You’ve done it! You’ve made the big leap and have said yes to the one you love. Well done you two! This is going to be such an exciting time for you both. But where to begin can confuse lots of couples, so this article will guide you through those first tentative steps after saying yes to your wedding proposal and getting engaged. Shall we get started?


Making an announcement

You may already be past this point but, just in case you have literally jumped online to start googling ‘planning your wedding’ and have stumbled across this series of emails within minutes of actually saying yes, then it may well be worth giving your announcement some consideration.

Every family is different, but I bet there are a few family members who’d be most put out if you made the big announcement on social media before calling or visiting them first, right? I’m sure we’ve all got at least one family member or friend we would want to share that news with first, before anyone else. If only for the squeals and hugs of celebration and an opportunity to show off the ring!

So as tempting as it may be to launch straight onto Facebook with a ‘We got engaged!’ post, just have a think for a moment, about when you do it. We live in such an immediate world and it’s hard to imagine not instantly sharing the news on social media, but there’s a lot to be said for actually telling close family and friends in person (or on the phone/skype if they’re not local). It’ll definitely help you to keep the excitement going for just a bit longer as well!

And then go for it with your social media post! You can’t beat a quick and easy way to let just about everyone you know your good news – just be ready for all of the ‘where’s my invite?’ comments, when you do!

diamond engagement ring and wedding ring photo inside a coral rose on the bouquet

When to start planning

The simple answer here is… whenever you are ready!

In all honesty, everyone’s lifestyles and priorities are completely different and ongoing events and your priorities will dictate the answer to this completely.

Some couples begin immediately, some wait a couple of months and others, years. Whatever you decide, just know that there’s no right or wrong answer.

A better idea would be to figure out when you want to get married – if there’s a particular date you have in mind, for instance, then work backwards from that. Also, having particular venues in mind can dictate dates and when to start planning as well, as some venues may be booked several years in advance.

Decisions and Lists

Irrespective of when you decide to start your planning, there’s a matter that needs to be considered of the utmost importance here… the both of you and what you really want!

I see a common mistake made frequently by couples. When they first start planning their weddings, their first step is to ask others what they think. Where and when should it be? And so on. It becomes an exercise in trying to please everyone instead of pleasing the only two people who really need to be happy – you two!

So, before you start asking everyone’s opinion, the best advice I can give you is to sit down together, pen and paper in hand, and brainstorm all the things – list out all the possible styles (humanist, civil, church, big house, barn, festival in a field, hotel and so on) that appeal to you, all the venues you like the look of, all the dresses, suits, outfits, all the décor ideas, cakes, flowers… you get the idea. This is the brain splurge, the moment where money doesn’t matter and it’s all about what you like the look of and nothing more.

From here, figure out your priorities. Maybe your dream venue is your main priority. Or a particular wedding photographer – hint, hint! Create lists of what matters most to you both, what’s important and what items are negotiable.

What’s key here is that, budget aside, you two are both on the same page with the vision for your big day. Which means there’s less chance of either one of you being persuaded to change your mind.

Once you’ve created your lists, negotiated and compromised with your other half (this is good practise for a strong marriage!) and you’re now a united front, then you’re ready to start inviting family and friends in to hear about your plans and offer their suggestions.

picture of order of sesrvice and rings on car's red surface

Outside Opinions

Your family and friends are all going to be thrilled that you are finally getting wed, I’m absolutely sure of it.

But there’s something about wedding planning that occasionally brings out the worst in people. Suddenly, everyone around you will have an opinion or a suggestion to make to you about what you should do for your big day.

Weddings, by definition, should be the happiest day and, generally, they are. But the lead-up is something else entirely. I have seen families falling out, waging wars, friends sacking bridesmaids and other outrageous things in the lead up to a wedding day! Family politics, who is paying for what and the opinions of heads of the family all have a bearing on what can go wrong before a wedding day.

There is no catch-all advice I can offer you here, because every family is different. The only thing I can remind you about is that this is you and your other half’s special day, no one else’s. Regardless of who is paying for what, or who is in charge or your level of respect for your family members, try to remember that fact. Because it will be you two who will look back on the day – at your video or photographs or even trading memories with one another – and remember it either fondly or with regret. I’d rather it was the former!

Fun shot of Bright colouful miss-matched wedding party, at relaxed wedding reception by lake by Jenny Owens photography

The dreaded ‘b’ word

Let’s get this over with now…


Yes, that’s the dreaded ‘b’ word when it comes to planning your wedding. Especially if you’re paying for it all yourself.

Before you start booking anything, the biggest thing to consider is how much you are going to spend on your day – overall and on each individual component. Don’t miss out this vital part of your planning process as it can cause difficulties further on down the line!

How much you allocate to each part of your wedding will come down to what you prioritise but, remember, this is something you both discussed and worked out together. So, try to stick to that as much as possible.

When it comes to budget, you’re better off trying to stay within its confines as much as possible and, should you find yourself with a surplus along the line, you can then add this to an important area or throw it at the honeymoon for a little extra luxury! Try to be realistic about the cost of good quality suppliers and services too. The idea that things are expensive ‘just because it’s a wedding’ is a common one, but really, do you want anyone working cheaply on what is an important day for you both?

I won’t go on about the money side of it, as it does tend to take the romance and fun away a little bit. But it is an important aspect to consider and if you can figure it out now and to a realistic level, planning will be far less stressful in the long run.

What should we book first?

So, the question now is… what should you book first?

The general consensus is to go with the venue first and everything else should follow. But here’s a slightly different take to consider….

Is there one particular vendor or supplier that you really want to work with on your big day? Depending on how far into the future you’re hoping to tie the knot, it may be that your favourite supplier’s availability is limited and so perhaps booking them for a date they are free first might be beneficial before planning anything else.

Of course, the venue may be your priority, in which case, book that first. Whatever is most important to you to ensure you have booked in for your day should your priority.

Suppliers such as photographers and videographers do also book quite a way in advance so the earlier you look to book these, the more chance you will have of securing a preferred supplier.

In my experience, booking any preferred supplier as early as possible is good practise, as you can lay down a booking fee or deposit and have plenty of time to get it paid off before the wedding – which helps to keep things healthy on the budget front too. As early as possible within reason. Many suppliers won’t book too far in advance (and I’m talking three or four years) because costs increase year on year, and lots can happen between now and then! But one or two years is perfectly acceptable when it comes to wedding planning.


Bride and father and bridesmaids walking down towards outdoor wedding ceremony at Rhinefield House Hotel

One final piece of advice

Whatever happens, whatever plans you make, booking fees you put in place, dates you choose, suppliers you pick and so on… it is perfectly ok and reasonable to change your mind if you wish!

Of course, things become more difficult if you’ve laid down lots of money before changing your mind so perhaps only pay booking fees on things you are absolutely 100% confident about in the first instance. But if you want the bridesmaids to wear green instead of blue, or a winter wedding instead of a summer one, then that is entirely your decision. As long as the only two people who matter (i.e. both of you!) are on the same page, then it is absolutely fine!

Also, try to have fun with this part of your planning. Things are bound to get stressful at some stage and that’s perfectly understandable, but make sure there are plenty of funny and wonderful moments that you can look back at and remember too. And, ultimately, remember what is coming at the end of it – marriage to the one you love! No amount of stress or worry should get in the way of that fact.

confetti thrown over bride and groom at Portchester castle st mary's church

I hope you’ve enjoyed this first installment of wedding planning advice now you’ve got engaged!

If you’d like to go ahead and chat to me about your wedding photography, drop me a line (Contact me here).

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