Whoop! Engaged?? Now what?

YES, girlfriend! Ahem, excuse me. FIANCE!!!!!! 

Congratulations are in order. Let’s pop the confetti and watch the glitter rain upon you and your fiance. The season of engagement is SO fun! It is the most delightful season of growth and dreams coming to fruition. 

EEP! I am so, so excited for you. The moments of your loved one on their knee is a vision to be remembered forever. I will never forget the face, the words, and the whirlwind of my mind saying “is this actually happening?” “If this is a dream, it would be too real of a dream.” It surely was the favorite “I love you” I have ever heard as RJ spilled his feelings of love & asked me to be his wife. 

As you just got engaged, there is a small list of to-dos for you to wholeheartedly enjoy your season of engagement. I pray this list opens your eyes, and honestly let the engagement be pure fun & spirit-filled as you prepare your steps towards marriage, a beautiful covenant with your other half <3

Macy Frances Photography

1.) Celebrate!

This is a pivotal moment in your life. Celebrate! I think celebration looks different from person to person, however, celebrate the journey it took to get to engagement. Celebrate the Lord for bringing you two together. Celebrate your significant other getting down on one knee, courageously asking for your hand! Celebrate with your family and friends, or just the two of you privately! Pop champagne or a confetti popper! Celebrations extend the feelings of being engaged and allow you to quickly re-live the special moment of saying YES!

2.) Take your Sweet Time!

Each couple runs on their own timeline, there is no pressure to begin wedding planning. I would say it is so fun to start dreaming. If you are a dreamer like me, then dream away, and put mood boards together with no limitations in mind. As a creator at heart, the most fun for me is to visualize and dream, and truthfully, my budget won’t allow the exact mood board to come to life, but it allows me to be creative in how to make it possible for our wedding. Take the time to celebrate, take the time to look around venues, take the time to discuss & dream, and take the time to share with loved ones your ring & story!

3.) Venue Shopping!

Fun date days are to come!!! RJ and I took venue shopping as an opportunity to get out of our town and drive to venues. Some venues were not exactly what we had in mind, but they allowed us to find the footing and feelings of where we were supposed to get married. We asked all the questions and looked at pictures at the venue to get glimpses of ideas. We toured a venue with chairlift rides to the top of the mountain! We took fun photos at the top! Throughout the day of touring different venues, we would stop to get yummy food and refreshing drinks. We would discuss what we envisioned our wedding day to look like :).

We made dates out of visiting a few different venues in different locations, and sure enough, we unexpectedly fell in love with one of them!

Macy Frances Photography

4.) Hire a Wedding Planner

The most repetitive advice I got from my married gal pals is to make sure you get a solid & efficient day of coordinator. Personally, I have been to weddings where no day of coordinator was present, and it was stressful for the family to figure out the details. I can’t even imagine the stress it puts on the bride. It is nice to have someone outside and professional to take care of the issues so all attention can go towards enjoying the beautiful day. 

Note some wedding planners are pretty pricy so make sure you do the research and ask around for recommendations. Make sure the wedding planner and yourself have the best chemistry. Another reason why I budgeted for a wedding planner is due to us having so many meaningful details we want to incorporate on our wedding day. RJ and I are very creative souls, and we just have some fun ideas:) Additionally, I hired a wedding planner because of her expertise and experience. It actually saved us from using the wedding venue’s “top” caterers because the prices were WAY over our budget. Our wedding planner is there for every question, and I can always double-check if we are using good vendors despite the venue’s vendor list.  If you want to make room in your budget for a wedding planner, I highly recommend doing so. Otherwise, I would recommend definitely hiring a day-of-coordinator so everybody can enjoy the day without the responsibility that oftentimes requires professional expertise.

5.) Budget & Decide Priorites

Right off the rip, discuss the money aspect. Rip the bandaid off when it comes to talking about finances with your loved ones. Talking about money can be uncomfortable for some, and it was slightly awkward for me. RJ and I are DIYers, and love projects so we discussed what we actually want to build and design, instead of renting or paying the full price. We wanted to build our own altar, sweetheart table, and small knick-knacks. We listed our priorities. 

We came to an easy agreement of seeking out a good photographer and videographer (we want to remember our special day forever and I have heard lots of sadly bad stories of many brides unhappy with their photos/videos & felt like it was a waste). The next task was dinner and we picked breakfast food for dinner (our favorite meal). Our priorities were set on a quality photographer, videographer, and good food. This was the essence of what we wanted on our wedding day, and almost everything else could give/take depending on our budget. 

One thing I have learned is to use your best discernment. There will be outrageous prices in this wedding industry. Truly sit down and ask what is the purpose and importance of having extra flowers, or extra this & that. This day is about you two entering the covenant of marriage and your love story. Do not appease others’ opinions and expectations.

Additionally, know that time can be more powerful than costs in wedding planning season. Sure you can DIY your own flowers, but ask if it is something you want to do/learn right before your wedding.  I chose to opt out of putting together our own florals because it was already getting too stressful, and I rather pay for service instead of using my time in this area. Pick and choose wisely on what you choose to DIY for your wedding. Don’t overwhelm yourself because it should be enjoyable.

Macy Frances Photography

6.) Break and Bend the “traditional” Wedding  Rules

Don’t get me wrong, we are going to do some traditional things on our special wedding day. I think the more you make it about your love story, and uniquely designed for the two of you, the better. There is no wedding more fun than a wedding that screams the couple. 

For us, we are doing breakfast for dinner. Most caterers were PUMPED to hear about this, and most of them have only done brunch. But we said we wanted a brunch-style menu for dinner, even though our wedding will follow a traditional afternoon/night schedule. A friend of mine did an ELOTE truck as a late-night snack (Mexican corn aka delish slice of heaven cakes!!)

Don’t put ideas in a box, instead go out and explore. Ask your vendors questions about how to bring your vision to life and create things that represent your two’s love uniquely.

7.) Do not Sleep on Etsy

Incredible cowboy ring boxes. Metal personalized signs. Custom artwork. Signage.

Unique bridesmaid gifts.

Decent prices.

No need to say more.

8.) Ask for Marriage and Wedding Advice

Now that you are carrying a rock on your hand, you will be approached by tons & tons of human beings asking about wedding plans & all things. I challenge you to ask every person that asks you about the wedding, “what is your wedding advice? What are some things you remember and some you regret? What is your best marriage advice as well?”

Here is my current collection of answers I have received:

  • “Eat the cake. I didn’t even get to eat the cake. “
  • “Pre-marriage counseling. It will force you to have discussions that will set you up for life.”
  • “Pray over every detail. Over the guests. Over your vendors”
  • “Enjoy. It will fly by.” (a very common one)
  • “Take a moment after pictures/ceremony where you two can have a small plate of dinner. It will be your first meal as a husband and wife. And you get to actually try the food before greeting all your guests.” 
  • “Who you pick as bridesmaids determines the fun, mood, and attitude of the day. Pick girls that will take care of things but also have so much fun with you.”
  • “Do not get so elaborate and overspend, but make it a day to remember.”
  • “Something will go wrong, and be forgotten. Just remember it’s about the two of you more than anything else.”
  • “Don’t invite so many people that you don’t even get to remember who is there.”
Macy Frances Photography

9.) Pray & Do not Forget the Marriage Part.

It is so easy to get caught up in the chaos of wedding planning. Beware, you will get stressed out by the number of guests, or that flowers are more expensive than you thought. One thing I wish I did a better job, and something that I am continuously working on is to pray through each vendor and each guest. The day is about you two and the Lord. It is so easy to forget about the “Lord”. What does He think, who does He want there, & just let Him speak into your heart– Every detail He enfolds will be the most beautiful one yet–
Your wedding day is one day. It will be the best day ever. The wedding day is also the first day of marriage, a lifelong commitment. Marriage is far longer and harder, so make sure you are making preparations for marriage. Get excited to have your fiance as a lifelong partner for all the hills and valleys called life that you two will pursue together.

Once again, congratulations. Have SO much fun during this season friend <3 I will pray for the wedding planning to be fun and I pray for many blessings as you enter the season of marriage.

As always, shine on. Let the sunshine in your heart radiate as you celebrate and plan!

With all my heart,