You’ve reached a life milestone -- one of you proposed, the other said “yes,” and now you’re engaged!
So, now what?
The epic poet Homer said, “there is nothing nobler or more admirable than when two people who see eye to eye keep house as man and wife, confounding their enemies and delighting their friends.”
And it’s true that, someday, you and your betrothed will likely take up roost together as a married pair (and hopefully confound your enemies and delight your friends). But there’s a long road to travel before the nuptials occur, and proper planning will make the wedding day and thereafter all the better. Even if you envision a long and leisurely engagement, it’s a good idea to start thinking about your future and prepare for what’s to come.
Announcing your engagement means that everyone will start asking you when exactly the big day will occur, so setting your date is one of the first things to do. Be careful about doing this too quickly, however, because it’s not as easy as it should be to pinpoint a date. Your preferred venue might have a waiting list, for example, so it’s best to remain vague until the details are ironed out. Give friends and family a general timeline (such as “next fall” or “probably the month of May”) and set out to determine another crucial component of getting hitched -- your budget.
Putting together the budget might be a painful experience. You’ll discover things you’ve dreamed of since childhood can’t happen without truckloads of cash (no, you won’t be having Coldplay at the reception after all), and that flowers are way more expensive than you ever could have imagined. Ditto for transportation, decor, photography, and that three-tiered professionally decorated wedding cake. You’ll need to go through every detail in your head and land on expenses you might otherwise overlook. Did you think about the cost of mailing 150 invitations? How about the bridesmaid and groomsman gifts? And how about the wedding rings? You’ll need to have the groom’s ring on the day of the ceremony, so design it now using our custom ring design tool for men's rings. Not sure what you want? Take our ring finder quiz or build a custom wedding band.
It’s likely your wedding planning will cause you to pull back and assess what’s really important. No matter where you land, remind each other that all that matters is your true love. Ultimately, it’s best to allocate dollars to things that will last, such as your jewelry and photos, instead of to things that won’t make a big difference.
After budgeting, it’s time to get creative and start making plans. Set up a few boards on Pinterest or another storyboard app and collect pictures of what inspires you. Try to think thematically. For example, you might want a rustic wedding in the country or a chic glitzy affair in your downtown art museum. A more kitsch and casual theme will have you holding the ceremony in an RV park or bowling alley. Or you might celebrate your mutual sense of adventure with a ceremony on a destination beach or a cruise ship floating toward Curaçao.
Pick a vibe that suits you both and is realistic for your guests, remembering that little details can often turn into huge problems on the day itself. Holding your wedding at a Renaissance Fair might mean that everyone (including the bride, dressed in century-appropriate attire) has to use a port-a-potty, for example. Getting married on a boat might make someone (maybe even the groom) terribly seasick, and outdoor weddings can be beautifully windy and cold.
With your theme established, it’s time to book your venue and move on to the fun stuff. Choose your colors, a wedding dress, and tuxedos, make your music list, and send out the invitations. Try to keep with your theme the whole time for the most professional results when the day arrives, but also embrace quirky surprises that just find their way in. Maybe your Uncle Kurt will be crushed if he can’t play the banjo at your black-tie-and-crystals reception, so just let him perform and enjoy the memory.
Saying “I Do”
One common wedding planning mistake is overlooking the ceremony details and letting the reception consume more resources than it should. Even though the ceremony is more serious and somber than the rollicking gala it precedes, you need to pay attention to this most important part of the day. Spend some time choosing your vows or writing your own. Think about the power of the moment and how it should play out, anticipating problems like a restless flower girl or a loud air conditioner in the parish.
Choose a thoughtful officiant, a brilliant musician or quartet, and simple but elegant decor for the ceremony stage. Your wedding rings will realize their mission here, so ensure they are delivered properly into your hands at exactly the right time. The rings should be fitted properly and polished before the exchange occurs. After all, they will be the subject of many photographs and admiring looks after the ceremony is over.
With your marriage license signed and the reception about to begin, you get to saunter off into your new life of wedded bliss, officially betrothed and hitched to your better half. In the end, there’s nothing more sacred than the wondrous sound of those words you’ve been waiting for all your life -- “I do,” so make sure you do them justice!