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I'm Engaged - Now What?

Your other half has just proposed and, eeeek, how exciting! For a good few weeks you want to show EVERYONE the ring, but then it hits you like a ton of bricks...

You have to plan an entire wedding.

I'm going to etch my bets; I doubt you've done it before, and you have absolutely no idea where to even start. I've attended a flurry of Wedding Fairs recently with some very fresh, newly engagees, and I can see the worried look on their face as the reality begins to hit home that they don't know what they're doing or where to begin.

Here are my top 10 things you should do once you're engaged...

1. Scream! Scream it from whatever rooftop you like and let the whole damn world know that you have found your forever person, and they put a ring on it! It's absolutely okay to be completely chuffed, and maybe brag a little if you like. You have full permission to be happy.

2. Sit down and be honest. You and your fiancé need to be frank and have a hard conversation but trust me when I say you will be thankful that you have set these boundaries at the beginning. You need to agree a budget. There is no getting away from this one as it dictates all your plans. But be realistic too and stick to it! Of course, your wedding day is going to be one of the happiest days of your life and you want to celebrate it in style, but it is definitely not worth getting yourself into debt for.

"If at the end of the day you are married to the one you love, then everything went perfectly."

3. Talk non-negotiables. This is a huge one for me. I always say that couples should have three non-negotiables, because I think it's important. If you've always dreamt of wearing Christian Louboutin shoes for your wedding day, it's a non-negotiable. Have you always wanted to marry on a beach, have a Disney theme, book a ceilidh? Whatever it is that you've always wanted, set it out. Obviously, this has to be within budget, but equally it needs to be incorporated into the budget. Those Christian Louboutin shoes aren't cheap, so amend your budget to allow a little less spend on something else, so that you can allocate a higher amount to your footwear.

4. Write a list. That sounds a lot duller that it is! You need to pick your people, the ones who you can't imagine not being there on your wedding day. A little tip - break this list up. Have your essentials, your desirables, and your additionals. So have those who absolutely must be present without question or doubt (and will probably say yes!), then those who you'd love to be there but might not all be able to come, think old school friends or colleagues. Then have your additionals, such as plus ones for friends/family. This list doesn't need to be finalised at this point at all, but you cannot move to number 5 and 6 without having a number here for how many you'd like to invite. I tend to say, add essentials and desirables and use this as a guide. Additionals can fill seats at a later point if others can't make it, or be evening guests.

5 & 6. Pick a time and a place. I put these two together because they both kind of depend on the other. You may want a summer wedding, but then find a venue that you loveeee and they're full next summer. Now you have two choices (remember is it a non-negotiable?), you can change the date or change the venue. There is no answer for this and it depends on your preference. Can you find another venue that works for you and is available? Are you prepared to change the month?

7. Find your tribe. Deciding who to choose for your bridal party can be an awkward one at times. You may instantly know who your maid of honour, bridesmaids, ushers, best man, flower girls and page boys will be, or you might need a little bit of time to think about it. Think carefully about who will be the best people to support you and your partner on this special day and in the run up to it. You may also want to consider the cost as your wedding party will need outfits, bouquets, buttonholes and thank you gifts, so the more people you have, the more this could impact your budget.

8. Save the date! Depending on how much time you have before your wedding, you should send out either save the dates or invitations. It is getting more common to marry on a weekday, so guests need to think about time off from their work to attend or book accommodation if coming from far. Either way, you want your friends and family there (that's why you invited them right?!). So give them plenty of notice of the date so they can make their plans. This doesn't have to be costly (do you need to juggle some fund for your non-negotiables?), a fancy email is sufficient and absolutely free!

9. Say cheese. Here's some advice I've learnt from being in the industry a little while now. Photographers book up quickly - especially the good one! There's only one of them, and if they're already booked on your date, tough luck. You need to move quickly on this, find a good one and secure your date. Most photographers offer a free introductory call, you may meet them at Wedding Fairs or be recommended to you. But find a photographer that makes you feel completely comfortable, because they will be watching your every move all day, and likely photographing it too!

10. Now the fun starts. I mean, I'm bound to say that this is the best bit right?! You need to begin your shop for the perfect wedding dress. If you've read previous blogs, you know we say 12-18 months is the optimum time to go dress shopping for a whole host of reasons. So if you're within this timeframe.... go, go, go! Choosing your wedding dress will be one of the most exciting and emotional parts of your wedding planning. But there are so many wonderful bridal boutiques out there who are absolutely desperate to help you find The One (erm....hi!). Just like a photographer, find a shop that works for you and makes you feel comfortable and relaxed. These are your people, they know what they're doing and are absolutely delighted to be on this journey with you.

"Michelle at Lily Francis Bridal makes such a significant day in your journey, to becoming a bride, so relaxing and special. I was really excited, anxious and all the emotions you can imagine but could not have wished it to have been any more perfect. There is a stunning selection of dresses for everyone and I loved saying ‘yes’ to the dress!"

- Phoebe

If you're ready to say "yes to the dress", we'd love to welcome you to Lily Francis Bridal. There's no hard sell, no pushy saleswoman (I'm a lot of things, but not pushy!), just me with some beautiful dresses that I'd love to fit you into. During an appointment, you and your bridal party are welcomed with exclusive use of the whole boutique, a relaxed and fun environment and offered some Prosecco too of course!


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