Just Got Engaged? Here Are the First 11 Things to Do
Congrats! If you’re reading this article, it’s highly likely that you are one of those lucky humans who, against all odds, has found someone you hope to spend the rest of your life with — and you’re excited AF. There are lots of decisions to be made, and everyone (repeat: everyone) is going to want to be involved in the wedding planning process. But before you freak out, remember this one truth: Your wedding is about celebrating the love you and your partner share for each other. This is your new motto. Read that sentence again if you must.
1. Pick where the wedding will be. His family lives in Chicago, you met in New York and you’ve got two grandmothers in Virginia. Sound familiar? If you and your spouse-to-be aren’t from the same state, one of the first things you need to decide is where to host your wedding. The location will determine your budget, the expected number of RSVPs and give an estimated travel cost for your guests.
2. Ballpark your guest list. Dun, dun, dun. Creating a guest list is easily one of the most difficult and political parts of planning a wedding. The traditional way to divvy out invitations is to give the couple half of the list, while each set of parents gets a quarter. That means if you want 100 people in attendance, you’d invite 50, while your parents and your fiancé’s parents would both invite 25. But many couples opt for the less stressful option of splitting the guest list evenly between all three parties — especially if your families are contributing financially. And while it’s important to have an estimate, you won’t need a final count for a few months. So grab a glass of wine and stop stressing! You can decide if your estranged uncle from Canada makes the list at a later date.
3. Discuss your budget. No, it’s never a fun subject. But creating a budget (and sticking to it) is a huge part of wedding planning. If your parents are chipping in, be sure to sit down with them and have a formal discussion about everyone’s expectations. A few other big tips: Pick three or four factors of the celebration that you really care about — photography, the reception tent, catering, etc. — and plan around those big ticket items. Before you reach out to vendors, be sure to start an expenses spreadsheet with your partner and break down your expected costs. Lastly, remember to account for unexpected splurges along the way. It happens to even the most well-organized brides.
4. Sent a tentative date. The first thing people are going to ask you after you’ve gotten engaged is, “Have you picked a date?” You don’t need an exact day, but it’s a good time to start thinking about what season you want to get married in, how long you want to be engaged and how much time you’ll need to plan your epic event. The timeline will also depend on your location. For example, if you’re getting married in New York City, you may have to book highly-coveted venues a year and a half in advance. Another factor: Subtly poll the bridal party for dates that will and won’t work. Is the MOH supposed to have a baby the week of your tentative wedding? Yikes! That’s something to consider.
5. Have the families meet. There are going to be a LOT of people to see on your wedding day, and the rehearsal dinner won’t be much better: Your grandparents will drive in from out of town, your aunt will fly in from London and all of your BFFs will be dying to catch just of glimpse of you. So if your parents haven’t met your soon-to-be-spouse’s parents yet, consider introducing them before the big day. That way, you can guide conservation without feeling completely overwhelmed. If that’s not a possibility, try connecting them on Facebook so they can start building a solid relationship.
6. Choose your style. Have you always dreamed of a garden party wedding under a white tent? Then make your style preferences known early on. Forming the “big picture” will also help guide you throughout the engagement period. For instance, if you lean toward a funky, whimsical vibe, this will dictate other decisions, like the formality of the bride’s attire. If you hope to throw a black tie affair, the number of guests you are able to invite while staying under budget might be much smaller. It’s better to discuss your ideas right away so that you, your partner and both of your families have similar expectations.
7. Register for gifts ASAP. The months leading up to your wedding are all about celebrating. There will be an amazing amount of engagement parties, wedding showers, bachelorette shenanigans and more. So that you don’t wind up with two toasters and a bunch of not-so-chic crap, make a gift registry or “honey fund” soon after you’re engaged. Be sure to include at least one national brand (think: Macy’s or Bed Bath & Beyond) so guests from around the country can easily order your wedding presents.
8. Get the ring insured. Ah, ah… Don’t skip out on this chore. Sure, it’s not a thrilling task, but it’s one that could prevent some serious drama later down the road. If your bling slips off your hand on the beaches of St. Lucia or goes tumbling down the kitchen sink, the right insurance package can help replace your loss. Do some research, find a provider and get an appraisal. Then, reappraise your small investment a few years after the wedding.
9. Make your partner feel included. Whether your fiancé has grandiose wedding fantasies or no opinions whatsoever, it’s vital to understand how involved your S.O. wants to be in the planning process. Do they only care about the bar package and the venue? Then listen to their ideas, and get your wedding day dreams in sync. Do they prefer not to chat about the wedding at every meal? Then understand that you’ll need to set aside specific times to discuss the upcoming par-tay. Every couple plans differently; accept that fact and enjoy the journey.
10. Decide on a wedding planner. If you’re someone who loves to plan, can handle lots of details and has a strong vision for your wedding day, you may not need to spend the money on a wedding planner during the entire length of your engagement. Not the event-savvy type? Then hire someone to help you get organized before you get too far along in planning. Pro tip: Whether you go with a full-time coordinator or not, be sure to have someone (that’s *not* your mother) assisting with setup and managing vendors the day of the wedding. It will ease your stress, and give your family plenty of time to enjoy the soirée.
11. Make your Pinterest board. Now, it’s time for the fun part. If you’re looking for a way to keep all of your amazing ideas organized, turn to every bride’s best friend: Pinterest! Share boards with your bridesmaids, brainstorm centerpiece ideas and keep a digital look book of wedding dress possibilities. And (shameless plug) Brit + Co has a TON of wedding ideas on Pinterest, covering everything from bouquet types to budget decor — so get pinning!
Follow Brit + Co on Pinterest for more wedding inspo.
(Photos via Getty)
Pocket doors are so delightful in and of themselves. They appear when you need them, get tucked away when you don't, and make it easy to define rooms while keeping an open floor plan. Add to the pocket door a joyful patterned wallpaper surprise, and you will be sent right into fits of visual jubilation! Or something ;) Today we're sharing two simple and impactful pocket door makeovers that zhuzh up your space in a jiffy.
Anjelika Temple here, co-founder of Brit + Co and proud owner of several pocket doors! When I moved into my first real grown-up house a couple years ago, I knew I wanted to incorporate wallpaper so reached out to our friends at Chasing Paper to see how we might collaborate. It felt like a total lightbulb moment when I realized I could create a surprise pop of pattern on a couple sets of pocket doors.
Not only is it a whimsical way to bring color into a space, but the doors double as picture-perfect backdrops for all your SFH (selfies from home, obvs).
A few pro tips about install:
- Removable wallpaper is miraculously forgiving! You can take it on and off multiple times without it losing integrity (or mucking up your surface).
- I ordered this adhesive wallpaper installation kit with a squeegee and xacto knife and it worked super well. I also recommend a sharp pair of scissors for cutting longer lines.
- This is a two-person job! Get a friend, put on a playlist, and get ready to bond.
- Wild, organic patterns like Tally are great because it's challenging to spot any imperfections in pattern alignment; keep pattern choice in mind if you've got a lot of corners to match up. More geometric patterns and larger shapes leave less room for error (but are awesome in their own right!).
BATHROOM POCKET DOORS
In our primary bathroom, we chose the wallpaper pattern Tally, designed by Kelly Ventura, in White and Navy. In our space, the navy reads as a soft black, which is perfect for the space. It's easy to combine an ever-rotating collection of linens with the Tally pattern.
I love how the white trim becomes the perfect frame around this pocket door piece of art.
My favorite moment in this space is the fact that you actually get a third pop of pattern thanks to our serendipitously placed mirror!
And yes, this one works pretty darn well as a backdrop too ;)
LIVING ROOM DOUBLE DOORS
This set of doors is definitely a focal point of our home. It separates our living room from our primary bedroom which opens onto our backyard. The doors are pretty much always open, but when they're closed we wanted to evoke a fun, nature-inspired vibe. With that in mind, we selected the Lines and Moons pattern by Thimblepress in Green and Brown.
Earth mama vibes up in here! I love how the shapes and colors echo the ferns you see through the windows and the acorn wood details throughout the house.
Love this pattern moment, and xacto-ing out the door handle is def on the oddly satisfying DIY list.
For a pattern lover like me, I love that now I have this instant photo backdrop!
Thanks to Chasing Paper for providing these rolls of pure pattern amazingness. Head to chasingpaper.com to find our own favorites and start adding patterns to your home!
(Wallpaper wingwoman: Kayla Haykin; Photography: Kurt Andre)