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Wedding photographer, Starbucks enthusiast, and lover of all things romance and weddings.

MEET Ashley

Your partner or you got the courage up to pop the question! I bet you were full of excitement to tell the whole world? I bet you also thought I’m engaged Now what? Well hopefully this list of essential to dos once you’re engaged will get you off on the right foot! Also don’t miss out on the free planning checklist below! It is printable! For now take a deep breathe. Go grab a cup of coffee, your favorite glass of wine, coffee or tea and dig in!

Bouquet of flowers sitting on a bench at Castle Farms in Charlevoix Michigan. Essential to dos once you're engaged!

Celebrate & tell the world!

Hopefully you have told your parents by this point & likely you’re best friends! Maybe you even shared that awesome ring selfie on social media? If not GET GOING! This is the best time to be over the top! YOU ARE GETTING MARRIED!!!! I know it’s early but maybe you might have an idea for a hashtag! Throw that in and remember to save it! Having a hashtag will come in handy for your actual wedding day for your guests!

Get your ring sized.

The next obvious step is if that ring doesn’t fit like a glove, get it in to be sized STAT! The last thing you want is to loose it down the sink while doing dishes or at the beach because it doesn’t fit! It usually only takes a week or two depending on your ring company. It totally stinks to have to send it off, but you’ll have more peace of mind when it fits right!

Get your ring insured!

Easily one of the things couples don’t handle right away or put off for too long is the insurance! What if your ring gets lost, stolen or damaged?! Thats what insurance is for y’all! There is so much that comes with it, one of my favorite articles that discusses this is from brides.com! Go read that to get all the details!

Couple walking together in front of the Lafayette Grand in Pontiac Michigan. A couple nose to nose laughing in front of Castle Farms in Charlevoix Michigan. Essential to dos once you're engaged!

Plan an engagement party!

While it obviously isn’t required, planning a party to celebrate your upcoming marriage is a BLAST! Its an early excuse to bring all the people you love to one place! Either way this is a time to celebrate and be excited for the upcoming year!

Create a wedding email account!

This is easily the one thing I wish I had done right away during my own planning. Creating a wedding email means it won’t mix in with your personal or your work accounts. You don’t want emails from your venue or wedding vendors getting lost in your day to day emails. Opening a separate email allows you to keep track of the details of your wedding day.

Bride with her wedding party looking at each other laughing. Essential to dos once you're engaged!

Start considering your date!

While so many factors go in to picking a date, maybe you’re thinking about a special one to the two of you. Maybe the date is the one at the dream venue you want to book. Either way you can’t book a venue or vendors without a date! So secure that first then the rest will start to piece together.

Discuss your budget OPENLY + HONESTLY

If there is one thing most couples argue the most about are finances! Take this time to set yourselves up for success by being open and honest about your budget. The average cost of a wedding in the United States is $28,000. This price obviously will depend for you on the cost of your venue, photographer, catering etc. The best way to decide is to do some research! I always recommend taking a look at this wedding report from Wedding Wire & The Knot. This will give you average pricing for vendors, costs etc.

Grooms wedding day details including a watch, socks, purple bow tie & brown shoes. Wedding invitation flat lay. Essential to dos once you're engaged!

Build a basic guest list!

One of the biggest costs of weddings is feeding and entertaining your guests! It is going to be the bulk of where your money for your wedding goes. Most couples spend on average $100-$215 per person for food/entertainment/favors/florals for each table for their wedding. If you’re trying to make decisions about who should be invited and you want to do it drama free. Go check out the blog I wrote specifically on this topic!

Start researching venues!

Step two in ANY planning is figuring out where you’re going to hold your event! In this case where do you see your wedding taking place?! Are you thinking you want it outdoors? Do you prefer a more upscale feel? Either way now is the time to start researching venues. To do this just make a list of your top 10 venues. Give them a call & set-up a time to tour the venue(s). I always encourage couples to try to plan to have everything in one location. It makes it easier for guests, easier for planning and coordination, but it also can actually save you money when it comes to the amount of time you will need photo or video coverage.

Sutton Barn Wedding Venue in Whitmore Lake Michigan.

Secure photographer and videographer.

Once a date and venue are secure it is time to get you photo and video teams booked. If you have someone in mind already get in touch ASAP! If not start with Google, theknot.com or Zola!

One of my first recommendations, price isn’t everything! Find reviews from actual couples! Check their websites for actual engagement and wedding work. If you don’t see what you’re looking for ASK for full galleries! A wedding photographer should be immediately ready to share one or more full galleries with you.

My biggest and last one is GET ON THE PHONE! You need to be comfortable with who you choose! Not just you but your partner as well. Having an actual phone or video call will help you see if you click or not. We spend some of your most intimate times of your day with you! You want to be comfortable laughing, crying and being a bit vulnerable with us to really allows us to document the truth of your wedding day!

Get Inspired! Think about the day as a whole!

When thinking about your day you have to start thinking about the look & feel of your day. Start with a Pinterest board! From there you can decide what colors, what linens, chairs, table settings, florals etc! These will help you make decisions about what other vendors you want to hire! From the type of music: live band/DJ or whether you’re doing Pinterest worthy florals or something more simple. All of these decisions will guide you through picking the rest of your vendor team!

A couple laughing running in to their wedding reception after being announced. Groom is looking at the bride while the bride is laughing while looking at the camera.

HAVE FUN!

Bottom line this can feel like crazy town at some points and snooze fest during others. There are times where you will feel like you have a million things to do. Where other times you will feel like you’re not doing enough! My biggest recommendation is to make sure to take some time to celebrate just the two of you! The time is going to go by so fast, that this period will seem shorter than it is. Take it all in, every step of the way! I hope this list of essential to dos once you’re engaged helps you along the way!

DON’T FORGET THE FREEBIE!!! With 15 years in the wedding industry I have a wealth of information. I decided to put all those in one place with my official Wedding Planning Checklist! You can also print it too!

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Essential to dos once you’re engaged!

Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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