You’re engaged! Congratulations! This is such an amazing time in your life! I remember like it was yesterday when Jay proposed. After my initial state of shock and “deer-in-headlights” look as my husband lovingly calls it, all I wanted to do was announce our engagement to the world and start the wedding planning! Once we had shared the news of our engagement to our friends and families, spent some time simply enjoying our engagement, and not worrying too much about wedding plans, we entered a period of uncertainty, as a lot of couples do. We felt pretty overwhelmed with figuring out what our day would look like and we didn’t think we could afford to have our dream wedding. We were on a roller coaster of bliss, confusion, joy, and overwhelm. To help you avoid that, I’ve put together some tips to help you decide what to do once you’re over the initial shock of getting engaged! I hope this post helps you prioritize your wedding-related tasks!
It’s an amazing time in your lives so before even thinking of diving into wedding planning, take some time to celebrate with friends and family.
Start saving! Keep a joint bank account for wedding-related expenses to help you easily keep track of contributions and expenses.
It’s the responsible thing to do =)
You’ve likely been waiting years for this! Start looking for inspiration on Pinterest so you can begin to figure out the style of wedding you’d like to have. Are you Pinterest-obsessed? Click here for lots of inspiration for romantic, timeless, and classic weddings.
Now, there are so many styles, colors, and options for every single aspect of your wedding. Once you’ve spent some time pinning, take some time to narrow down everything you’ve pinned and make an inspiration board to zero in on your wedding vision. Having an inspiration board will help you make decisions regarding every aspect of your wedding day. Learn more here: Why You Need an Inspiration Board for Your Wedding.
If you weren’t sure what season you’d like to get married in before making your inspiration board, chances are you’ve narrowed it down by now. Review the images you’ve used in your inspiration board – these images will tell you the season you are naturally drawn to.
This is probably the hardest part, especially if your and your fiancé’s parents haven’t already approached you about it. Money conversations aren’t easy but they’ll answer a lot of questions for you regarding wedding plans. The sooner you have a budget to work with, the sooner you can finalize a guest list and the sooner you can check this HUGE item off the to-do list!
Hiring a wedding planner was one of the best decisions that Jay and I made during our wedding planning. Check out this post if you’re not sure about this one: A Guide to Hiring a Wedding Planner.
It’s time to research venues. Narrow down your list according to the location, style of venue, your guest list and per person budget. Here’s some help with this one: Guide to NJ Wedding Venues.
There’s nothing like visiting a bridal shop and trying on wedding dresses for the first time! Even if you’re not ready to order your dress just yet, trying on a bunch of gorgeous dresses will be a fun way to relieve some of the stress you might be feeling after venue-hunting. Click here for a list of bridal shops in NJ.
Don’t forget to spend quality time together. Have a date night and talk about anything EXCEPT the wedding. Focus on each other!
This one might be easier said than done. Or it might be love at first venue =) Either way, once you’ve nailed down a venue and you have a date, things will begin to take shape!
Next, you’ll want to research and book your photographers. A lot of wedding photographers in NJ typically get booked 12-18 months out so they should be at the top of the list of vendors to book after securing your venue. If you have your heart set on a specific photographer, make sure you reach out to them before even booking your venue to inquire about available dates.
Finding the right photographer for you might take a while. Take your time with booking your photographer because once the wedding is over, your photos are the only things that will remain. Make sure you don’t jump the gun by scheduling an engagement session with a random photographer. If you’re going to do engagement photos, it’s really important that you have your engagement photos done by your wedding photographer, specifically. After all, you’ll want to get to know him or her and get comfortable with his or her approach to posing. For a little guidance with which questions to ask your potential wedding photographer, click here: Top 10 Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer.
Your engagement session will allow you to connect with your photographer, see what it feels like to have your photos taken, and get images for your Save the Date. Research locations and schedule your session for the best time of year for the location you’ve chosen. Curious about our favorite locations for engagement session? Click here: NJ Engagement Photo Locations.
Once your venue and photographers are booked focus on your cinematographer, caterer (if your venue doesn’t supply one), your entertainment, your florals, and your photo booth. Be sure to ask your wedding photographer for recommendations. After all, if you loved their work, you’ll likely love their favorite vendors, too. Once these big items are done you can relax a little before focusing on the rest of the to-do list.
You’re at a great place now! The next round of items on the to-do list should seem easy once all the big ticket items are crossed off the list! Spend some quality time together and try not to do wedding-related tasks for at least a couple of weeks. You deserve it!
Hi! I’m Alex, lead photographer and owner of Idalia Photography. I've been photographing weddings for over nine years and I'm passionate about discovering beautiful stories, documenting genuine moments, and capturing timeless images along the way.
Together, with the rest of my team, I specialize in capturing classic and romantic weddings for elegant couples who are joyfully in love. Click here to contact me for availability and pricing.
Serving NJ, NY, PA, and beyond.