Recently engaged? Here are 10 things you should be doing right now to prepare for your big day.

Since I got engaged last August (read our sweet proposal story here!), things have been an insane roller coaster. The moment when I committed to the love of my life that I will be with him forever was a special day that I will always cherish close to my heart.

Now here I am, 5 months after my engagement, after the initial excitement and shock of the engagement wore off, I realized, Oh crap. I actually have to start planning this thing!! Since I’m not getting married until 2017, I had put this thing on the backburner for quite some time. Don’t get me wrong. I am one of those girls who has been dreaming of her wedding ever since she was a little girl, and I am extremely excited to start planning it. However, as someone who has never planned a wedding before, wedding planning is a brand new, scary world for me. I feel like I have no clue what I’m really doing, and you probably won’t either. But you know what? That’s okay. Because along with everything else in life, you learn as you go when you start to plan your wedding.

Have you recently been engaged? If so, CONGRATS!!!!! Whether your wedding is two years away or 6 months away here are 10 things I would recommend from personal experience that you start doing as soon as you engaged.

1.) Get your ring sized & insured

Recently engaged? Here are 10 things you should be doing right now to prepare for your big day.

You got the rock! ….but it doesn’t fit. You’re going to want to size that puppy up so it doesn’t fall off. When I got my ring, my fiancé picked out a size 7 when actually I was a size 5. I went in and got it sized as soon as I could because I was afraid I would lose it otherwise!

In addition, if your ring isn’t insured yet, make sure you get that taken care of.

2.) Set a date

The quicker you set a date, the easier your wedding planning will be. We always knew that we wanted a Fall wedding. Even though we didn’t plan on getting married until two years after our date, we set a date within a few days after our engagement. Also keep in mind that if you are engaged, I’m guessing that this likely the time that many of your friends are getting engaged as well. If you set a date, it ensures that you aren’t stepping on anyone else’s date and that your date won’t get chosen as well. I have a friend who is getting married two weeks before my date, and another friend who is getting married the week after after my date! I had to keep that in mind when planning my wedding.

Also, choosing a date will help with planning your wedding theme. Are you looking to have a pretty Fall rustic-chic wedding? Maybe cooler tones for a winter wedding? Having a date set will help guide your planning more smoothly and ease a lot of stress along the way.

3.) Invest in a planner

This is essential. There are LOTS of wedding planners out there, but choose wisely! Your ideal wedding planner should have:

-A space to write out your budget
-A timeline
-A space to write out a tentative guest list
-Tabs for organizing everything
-Tips, tricks, and advice for planning along the way

Your wedding planner will keep your insanity because you can keep everything organized in one binder. Bring it along with you everywhere you go during the planning process. Store notes, pictures, ideas, and more! I highly recommend The Knot Ultimate Wedding Planner & Organizer. It’s been a lifesaver!

4.) Attend a wedding show to get inspiration

I actually attended my first show last night in Green Bay with my mom and future mother-in-law and it was a blast. Wedding shows are a unique opportunity that you don’t want to miss out on as a bride. It’s the only time that you’ll have ALL of your local vendors and shops together in one space. You can compare venue prices, cake test, talk with dress owners, and more. It’s such a fun and wonderful experience!

Recently engaged? Here are 10 things you should be doing right now to prepare for your big day.

Tips for preparing for a wedding show:
-Bring stickers of your printed address and contact information. I can’t tell you how many times I had to manually write out my name and contact information for giveaways and contests, and it was really tiresome. I would have saved SO much time bringing those address labels.

-Look the part! I couldn’t believe how many people weren’t dressed up. This is the first impression you make with the people that may help you plan the most important day of your life, so you want to make it a good one!

-Bring a folder or bag to carry vendor information in.

 

5.) Start your wedding Pinterest board

I know that all of you have been pinning to your dream wedding board for the past 5 years, but it’s time to start a NEW board tailored for JUST your wedding. I entitled mine specifically “Chelsea’s Wedding.” This board is all about your ideas, your inspiration, and your special day. I started a new board immediately and invited my mom, mother-in-law, and a few future bridesmaids to collaborate for ideas.

If you need ideas, feel free to check out my wedding Pinterest board here!

6.) Make a practice guest list

Don’t stress out about this; this is a time to just throw some ideas out there. I wrote a tentative guest list for my side and I asked my fiancé to write out a list for his side. Keep these notes in your wedding planner. Trust me- your list will require lots of edits in the near future! It’s better to get a jumpstart on it now then later. In addition, it will help you with your wedding budget, which I am covering next.

7.) Make a budget

Oh boy. This is the part that I have struggled with the most thus far, but setting a budget is extremely necessary. Without a budget, if you’re anything like me then you’ll probs go crazy with your planning and then get depressed after you realize that you can’t afford all of it. Sit down with your fiancé and talk about a reasonable budget.

Here’s a tip: Make a list of things you are willing to splurge on, and things that you are willing to cut back on. For example, my wedding dress, decorations and photography are very important for me. However, we are likely going to have a very low key rehearsal dinner, and we are looking for cheap, simple wedding invites and save the dates.

8.) Start a separate savings account

It may help you save if you have an entire savings account dedicated to just your wedding. Also, figure out what percent of your monthly income is going to go into this account. What can you do to make additional money for your wedding? How much do you think you will be able to save before the big day? These are all things to think about.

9.) Book a venue 

I hesitated to write about booking anything in this post, but I think it’s super important to book a venue ASAP. They fill up extremely fast. When we got engaged in August of 2015, we booked our venue a few weeks later. Our wedding isn’t until October of 2017 and our venue already had people booking into 2017! Remember- early bird gets the worm!

10.) Find a church or place of ceremony

In addition to booking a venue right away, you should book your church/place of cermony ASAP for the same reasons I mentioned above. These are the two most important things you should book and worry about right away.

Overall, planning a wedding can be extremely stressful, but it doesn’t have to be if you are on top of things. Remember- planning a wedding should be FUN, not a burden! When you get overwhelmed, please re-visit why you are getting married in the first place. Because you are in LOVE! In the end, it’s not the actual wedding that matters- it’s your marriage. :)

Do you have any other tips? Leave me a comment below!

Xoxo,

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

In addition, this post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small percentage of compensation. I PROMISE you guys that I only promote products that I truly love! Thanks for supporting brands that make Inspiration Indulgence possible!

Like my wedding planning posts? You’ll love these!
What 30 Brides Would Have Done Differently on Their Wedding Day
How to Pick Your Bridesmaids

Be sure to like me on Facebook for more wedding advice!

 

  • Great tips, Chelsea!! I couldn’t agree more about sizing the ring first and foremost. I was afraid I would lose mine too! I’d also say it’s important to find out any food restrictions people have ahead of time so you can find the best way to accommodate people. Obviously it’s your day and you should have what you want, but the last thing you want at your wedding are hangry guests! I had a tough time with my wedding because my dad is a vegan and my sister in law won’t eat pasta, rice or other normal things! Lol.

    • Oh my gosh, what a fabulous tip!!! I know very well what it feels like to be hangry, and I wouldn’t want my guests to feel that way LOL!! Thanks for reading, girl!

  • Great list! I have some recently engaged friends I’m going to pass this on to!

    • Thanks for sharing, Heather!

  • Lindsay Katherine

    This is such a great list, and I absolutely am going to get Crest strips this week!! I whitened my teeth before my wedding and it worked wonders, but it’s time to get back to it. You looked gorg at the wedding show (I bet all the brides were jealous of you!). I hope you enjoy every minute of your engagement.

    • Aw whatevs. But thanks for the kind words!

  • What awesome tips!! My friends and I are all convinced we will be getting engaged this year. I’m going to pin this for later so I can pass it along to whoever comes first!!

    • Yay! Hope it happens soon!!

  • Michelle Mink

    excellent ideas! my Mom is a bridal consultant and i have been to countless bridal shows with her and i can always tell who the savvy bride is and its the ones with the pre printed address labels

    • Yes…wish I would have thought of this idea! Oh well! Now I encourage other brides to do this so THEY can be the savvy ones! 😉

  • H.Evans

    3 daughters engaged with one next year and two over the next 5 years I need tips.

    • Oh my goodness! You have your hands full. Hopefully these tips help!! xo

  • Greta Hollar

    I could have used this when I was engaged! I did stop by the store on the way home to get wedding magazines and we nailed down our theme and colors that night. Such an exciting time!

    • That’s so awesome! I love browsing through magazines!

  • Veronica Pototska

    I went through the same story and then we decided to have a very small thing foe our relatives and then an intimate wedding and a photoshoot for ourselves. And congratulations

  • Kelsie Kleinmeyer

    Wedding shows are so much fun. Looks like you’re off to a great start. Budgeting is definitely important. I would add- Have fun! :)

    • Yay! That’s definitely a must (:

  • Planning the whole thing sure takes a lot of efforts. I’m not a fan of weddings (I’m normal, really) but I can imagine your excitement! :)

  • Great tips! Happy wedding planning :)

  • These are all great tips!
    We’re getting married in November of 2016 and there’s still so much for me to do.
    I can’t wait to really dive into the planning.
    xoxo, Jenny

  • YES and also YES to making a separate wedding account! My husband and I did not want to combine our finances officially until we were actually hitched, but having a joint account that we used just for the wedding was an extremely useful part of our process!

    • I’m so happy that this worked for you!

  • Saving this! Hopefully I will be needing it soon! 😉

    • You will, I have a feeling!! 😉

  • Dana Brillante-Peller

    I believe you hit every major step once getting engaged! I wish Pinterest was around when I was engaged (14 years ago – eek!) It would’ve made life a lot easier!

    • Ahhh! Well at the same time, sometimes Pinterest can be a bit overwhelming!

  • Congrats on the engagement! My husband and I only had a one month “engagement” period so nothing on this list was really necessary for us haha we didn’t even have rings yet. All we had to do was set the date. Super easy! And I LOVE the Crest Whitestips. They’re amazing. I used them a lot over the holidays.

    • Holy man! I love whitestrips as well!! They seriously work so good.

  • Neely

    Oh yes to all of this. I was so glad before my husband even proposed he had my ring insured!

    • Smart man! My fiancé did as well. We’ve got good ones! 😉

  • I pretty much did all of these when we decided to get married. Great post :)

  • I’ve done all of these, woot woot! Love that planner too. It’s been a lifesaver!

    • I’m loving my planner as well! And YES it certainly is!

  • I love all these tips – now I just need the ring 😉 lol

    • I’m sure it will come sooner than you think 😉

  • My cousin’s getting married in a few months and there are so many things on the to-do list, it’s crazy! Hope the rest of your wedding planning goes well :)

    • Thanks Rachel! Tell your cousin good luck of me!!

  • Helpful tips! Definitely love the Crest 3D strips. I was addicted to these so bad (2x a day) then I started to notice my teeth were hurting.

    • Yes, that can happen if you overuse them. I like to spread them out and not do them every single day.

  • Kara Schwieterman

    The best thing about my engagement, we set a date and booked our venue way before we were engaged! It took so much stress off of us!

    • So awesome! We booked ASAP as well. Mostly because I was paranoid someone would take it. lol

  • Sarah Emily

    I love this! I got engaged in June and all of these made my list of first things to do!

  • Cynthia @craftoflaughter

    Great advice for the bride to be! I loved helping my daughters plan their weddings!

    • My mom is enjoying it so far with me as well :)

  • Would it be too creepy for me to show this post to my boyfriend when we’re not even engaged? Haha! But for reals, though, a very belated congratulations to you! Your ring is just gorgeous! :)

    Christie’s Take on Life. x

    • Not at ALL!!!! haha! Thanks lady!

  • Shann Eva

    Great tips! Getting your ring insured is a really important one for sure. We planned (well, I planned) our wedding pretty fast. We got engaged in May and got married in October of that same year. There was a ton to do, but I had fun doing it. Can’t wait to read your planning journey.

    • Thank you! I’m totally having fun and loving the process :)

  • Sheila Gonzalez

    Omg!!! Thank you for this. I’m glad I’m not the only one planning ahead. I just got engaged Feb.27,2016 and I’m already looking into venues and all. I’m glad I’m not crazy for setting a date already which is in 2 years. Thank you again Chelsea. I plan on showing this to my fiance.

    Sincerely
    Sheila Gonzalez

    • So happy to hear this helped you!!! XO

  • Carissa

    I’ve been engaged since September of last year but wasn’t really able to start the planning until now. Those dates fill up so fast! I’m also in the Green Bay area and our venue barely had any dates available in 2017 already. Looking forward to going to a wedding show soon though!

    • You’re in Green bay?! How awesome!!! How did you find this blog, may I ask?