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You’re engaged! Now what?!

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You’re engaged! Here’s what to do next (you know, right after you call your mom).

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  1. Call (not text or post on Facebook) all of your closest friends and family. After you’ve gotten over the shock, stopped crying and can actually breathe again you should CALL your people. If you have an idea of who you’ll want as your bridesmaids, make sure they know you’re engaged the day it happens otherwise, they may not think you’re as close as you really are. If those you love find out via Facebook, then you’ll have some pretty peeved friends and family.
  2. Start thinking of a venue and/or wedding date. After all the “congratulations!” and “let me see your ring!”people will start asking you when the wedding will be. So be prepared with a time frame you actually want like “next fall” or “early spring in 2015”.
  3. Talk money with your fiancé (and parents). It’s always a hard topic to talk about but it needs to happen. In order to book a venue, figure out how many people you want to invite and how elaborate you can dream, you need to know what kind of budget you’re working with. You should also address budget with his parents and yours just so you understand if they are planning on helping out a lot, a little or not at all.
  4. Make a guest list. Of course every parent will most likely want some say in who is invited to their child’s wedding so make sure you accept suggestions but you always have the final say. Helpful tip: prioritize your guest list by breaking it into tiers: the must invite, would like to invite and invite if you have room—it’ll help you make cuts later on.
  5. Book your venue. Now that you know how much money you can spend and how many people you want to invite, look for the perfect venue for your big day and book it ASAP. Most venues sell out of their Saturdays 6 months in advance and some even a year in advance if it’s a popular venue.
  6. Book your vendors. If you’re interested in engagement photos then you’re next step is to find and book a wedding photographer. Most photographers offer a package that will include a 2 hour engagement session, a flash drive of edited photos, and of course 1 or 2 photographers for your big day. You’ll also want to look for a wedding DJ or band followed by a florist, bakery for your cake and any other people that will help make your day exactly what you want. And don’t forget to negotiate; if they want your business then they’ll be willing to work with you and your budget.
  7. Send save-the-dates. Generally, you’re supposed to send save-the-dates about 6-8 months before your wedding. If your wedding falls on a holiday weekend or is at a location where many people will have to book a flight or the venue sells out of their hotels quickly then you’ll want to send out save-the-dates sooner than later.
  8. Take a break. Once you’ve completed the above, you should take some time for yourself and make sure you distress. You never want to feel overwhelmed or anxious about planning the day you’ve dreamt about. Just remember, it’s about you and fiancé and no one else. Although you may receive earfuls of suggestions from everyone else about how your wedding should be, they are only suggestions and you should do what you want to do.
  9. Know your resources. There are tons of reliable sites out there that have great information for every part of your wedding planning process including a budget calculator, wedding timeline, website builder etc. One of the best gifts to yourself is a magazine subscription, especially since it’s delivered to your mailbox every month. Here are my favorites: Martha Stewart Weddings, Brides and The Knot.
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