It’s just four simple words, but “Will You Marry Me?” is the most important question any of us will ever be asked in our lives. The problem is, what exactly do you do once that beautiful ring is on your finger?
As a wedding photographer, I have worked with numerous couples over the years. Learning from their experiences planning for their weddings and from my own industry knowledge, here is some of my advice for all you newly engaged couples:
Tell Your Family and Friends First – Before Social Media!
Your wonderful partner – now future husband or wife! – has just got down on one knee and ask you to spend the rest of your life with them. What’s your first temptation? Well you want to tell the world, and the easiest way to do this is with the infamous ring shot spread across your Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.
The problem is, this is can really upset your closet friends and family if you didn’t take the time to let them know about your engagement first. So, before you get snap happy, be sure to phone and let your nearest and dearest know about your engagement first. Plus, this gives you the time to nip and get that perfect manicure so that your ring shot looks spectacular.
Get Your Ring Sized
If your partner wasn’t able to get your engagement ring in your correct size, meaning it’s a little big or small, be sure to get it sized ASAP. Yes, you want to wear your ring instantly, showing it off to your friends and family. The problem with this, though, is that if a ring isn’t sized properly, it puts it in danger of getting lost.
Many jewellers in Ireland can get your ring resized in just a few short days, so you’ll have your ring back before you know it.
Enjoy Your Engagement!
Couples can be tempted, as soon as the ring hits the finger, to start the stressful process of wedding planning. However, my greatest advice to couples is to take at least a month or two to truly enjoy being engaged. Forget your pre-wedding diet or budgeting, take your time, have a party with your family and friends and really enjoy the choice you’ve both made.
You can even choose to book your own engagement shoot with a photographer like myself. This is a wonderful way for couples to really experience what it’s like to have their photograph taken professionally and helps you to build a relationship with your photographer. After all, this is the person who you’re trusting to document the most special day of your life, so building that relationship with an engagement shoot will really help with your nerves on the day. Plus, you’ll have some wonderful photographs to share with your loved ones, or even as an option for your save the dates.
Make Your Budget
Before you get caught up in all the bells and whistles of wedding planning, it is incredibly important that you both sit down and commit to a realistic budget that you can both afford. This will be vital when you go to look at venues or speak with vendors, as you will know straightaway if their quotes are something that you afford for your big day.
Never set yourself a massive monthly goal for savings either. This might seem realistic at the time – especially if you’d love an opulent day – however you don’t know when your car might break down or when you might have unexpected bills. You also don’t want to completely stop going out and enjoying yourself, because you’ve committed all your spare earnings to your wedding. You’ll only start resenting your big day as it’s stopping you from having fun.
Make a Preliminary Guest List
It might seem early to be making a guest list, but if you’re going to start looking at venues and vendors, you need to have some idea of how many guests you will be inviting for the full day. Sit down with your partner and discuss the family and friends you would like to invite. You’ll also want to contact both your parents to ask if there are any people they would like to see there – especially if they are contributing to your wedding budget.
Always be vague when people ask about your wedding guest list, though. People will express their desire to want to attend your big day as soon as your engagement hits social media, but until you’ve found a venue that fits your budget for the number of guests you want, it’s best to keep vague. That way, if you find your dream venue, however, you need to cut 10 people off your guest list in order for it to fit into your budget, you won’t have made any verbal commitments to anyone.
Ultimately, your chosen wedding date will be dependent on the availability of your chosen venue. It is good practice, though, to have a chat with your partner about what months or years that make sense for you both.
For instance, if one of you is a teacher, you will be tied to the dates of the school holidays. You may also want to choose a date a few years in the future, as this will give you time to save up a wedding budget.
Before you start booking any vendors – such as your venue, decorations or invitations – it’s essential that you choose a theme for your wedding. Otherwise you will feel drowned by all the different options on the market.
You may already have a theme in mind, such as a fairy-tale or castle wedding. If you’re unsure, though, places like Pinterest are wonderful for getting ideas. Make a board and search for certain colours and themes, pinning the ones you like for later. You’ll soon find yourself drawn to certain ideas, allowing you to choose what you’d like for your wedding.
Visit Wedding Venues
Once you’re armed with an idea of budget, guest number and themes, it’s time to visit some venues. It’s important that your venue is one of the first things you book for a wedding. This is because your venue will dictate both you final wedding date and the number of day guests you can invite. You’ll also need this date to book your other vendors and send your save the date cards to guests.
If you have a specific date in mind, shop around lots of venues until you can book in that date, here booking a few years in advance will help. If you’re not so set on the date, you can save yourself some money for opting for ‘off-season’ months like October, November or January.