Expert advise from Las Vegas Wedding Planner Andrea Eppolito on the Top 10 Things you should do when you get engaged!
Congratulations - You're engaged! Now what? Here are my Top 10 Tips on what to do next!
1. The Announcement
A few years back I published The Art of Announcement, and very few of those rules have changed. Immediate family needs to be told first. Do it in person if possible, or over the phone. Be certain to tell your parents, then siblings. The etiquette for the rest of the world is someone discretionary. My belief is that this is a personal time, and that every couple has the right to announce their new status in whatever way they are most comfortable. If you are a true techie and want to announce your engagement via Twitter or Facebook a la a celebrity, then go for it. But remember this - those closest to you will expect a more personal touch. Don't spend too much time worrying about who you told first, third, twenty-second, or last. Just be certain to tell them!
2. Get a Manicure or a Hand Paraffin Wax
Overwhelmingly, an engagement means an engagement ring, and you are going to want to show the world! In some case, however, an engagement calls for a placeholder piece, such as a watch. This is especially true in the instance of a gentleman being proposed to and in same-sex engagements and weddings. Regardless of how you become engaged and what you plan to wear, be prepared to show off the newest token of your love with clean and shiny nails, moisturized skin, and a fresh from the spa glow!
3. Get Your Ring Sized, Appraised & Insured
Technically three things, but a reputable jeweler should be able to assist you with all of them. Stop into your local jeweler and have your ring looked at. Check for proper sizing, have the prongs and setting inspected, get an appraisal, and send all documentation in to your insurance company. Many couples opt to have the ring added to their renter or home owner's insurance, but some wish to get a separate policy all together. In those times, I recommend visiting Perfect Circle - a Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company. Oh, and don't forget sizing!
4. Prepare yourself for the Q&A
Here are a list of questions you should be prepared for:
"So...When's the big day?"
"How big is that ring?"
"Am I invited?"
Some of these questions convey general excitement. Others came come across as nosy and inappropriate. Either way, you will be bombarded with questions. Come up with a standard answer for all of them to hold people off until you've had time to make some real decisions.
5. Pre-Planning Broad Strokes
After you have a moment to catch your breath, you need to have a few pre-planning conversations. What is it that you, as a couple, really want? I'm not talking about the 3200 photos floating around on your Pinterst board (although those will help your fiancé discuss likes and dislikes when words seem to fail him/her). I'm talking about what you as a unit want in real life. Sit down with your fiancé and answer the Big 5:
WHO - How many people do you plan to invite?
WHAT - How do you want the event to feel? And what are you willing to spend to have that?
WHEN - We don't need an exact date, but you should settle in on a month and season. Have an ideal date, and then two backup dates in mind.
WHERE - Again, there is a venue that you have your heart set on, that's fantastic! If not, decide the basics: local or destination. Resort or backyard. Near or far.
WHY - Don't forget about why you are doing this in the first place, and make sure that every decision you make leads directly back to you!
HOW - This is the bonus. How are you going to pay for all of this? Which leads me to step six...
6. Set a Budget
Gone are the days of the father of the bride footing the bill for the entire extravaganza! More often than not, couples are marrying later in life after having achieved a certain amount of education, professional success, and financial stability. According to a recent study by Brides.com, nearly 77% of today's couples are living together before marriage. With dual incomes and a certain amount of independence, more often than not couples are choosing to pay for their weddings on their own, or with limited contributions from family.
Sit down together and decide on how much you are willing to spend on your wedding. Then, as a united front, you can approach each set of parents and present your "who/what/when/where/why" list. When you get to the how, let them know that you have come up with a budget, and ask if they would like to contribute anything additionally.
7. Let the pinning begin!
As if you haven't already been planning this in your mind! Start two secret boards - one where you will pin anything and everything that you love, and a second where you will repine the standouts. Watch as your style begins to emerge and take form. Edit ruthlessly. Trace the images back to your "who/what/when/where/why" list and be certain that you are staying true to who you are.
8. Hire a Wedding Planner
Now is the time to hire a professional. A wedding planner is not there to impose his or her ideas onto you, but to take your past, your present, and your future hopes into consideration. As a wedding planner, the best experiences I have had come from couples who come to me with a very strong perspective, who have taken the time to clearly consider who they are and what they want. It isn't about saying, "...and I want each table to have large, tall centerpieces with roses and peonies..." but about being able to communicate something along the lines of, "...we are a very modern couple, but on our wedding day we want there to be a feeling of timeless elegance. We like neutral colors, and are looking for an outdoor wedding with great food, custom cocktails, and a killer band. Our budget is $xxx,xxx.xx."
A word on interviewing wedding planners. Don't lie. If you are a casual person who feels most comfortable in blue jeans and flip flops, don't pretend that you live for haute couture and 6 course tasting menus. A good wedding planner will see you are are, love who you are, and turn that into something spectacular.
9. Prepare for the OMG
As in, Oh...My...God...I have to have those shoes / that videographer / those linens. There is going to be something that you come across that you just have to have. My advice...Get it! But only once. And be prepared. Have a secret stash of money for you and only you so when you come across those flowers / that band / those earrings that you can have them and not put a dent into your your real budget.
10. HAVE FUN!
You remember fun, right? It's that thing you had with your fiancé before the ring, before the lists, and before the budgets. Never forget to laugh together, to hold hands, to sit and talk about your future beyond the wedding day. Because after a wedding you're left in a marriage, and that's the most important thing of all.
For your viewing pleasure....Here are a few engagement photos shared from Andrea Eppolito Couples! To join the family and start planning today, contact me here!
Las Vegas Wedding Planner Andrea Eppolito is often published, with works featured by the likes of BRIDES, Style Me Pretty, Grace Ormonde Wedding Style, The NY Times, LA Times, Junebug Weddings, and more. With an eye catching style that shares not only the story, but the soul, of a wedding, Andrea's clients praise her for being their wedding planner, event designer, advocate, and friend.
An internationally acclaimed speaker, Andrea appears and speaks at events for the Engage! Luxury Wedding Summit, NACE, The Knot, the Wedding MBA, and more. Named the Best Wedding Planner in Las Vegas (2013, 2015, 2016), Wedding Professional of the Year (2011) and ranked as one of the top 50 wedding planners world-wide, Andrea works with celebrities, athletes, executives, and all people in love!
Based in Las Vegas, and working as a destination wedding planner world wide, you can learn more at www.AndreaEppolitoEvents.com.