(Closed) Just got engaged! What are the first 5 things I need to do to start planning??

posted 8 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
4108 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

Hmm, maybe others will have suggestions, but I think you’re on the right track. The only thing I can think is to pick a date, but that goes along with venue/budget. Look at one of those online wedding checklists/timelines so you don’t forget anything.

Good luck & congrats!

Post # 4
23589 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2011

That was my first 5 steps as well! You’re totally on track!  Congratulations on getting engaged, and best of luck with your planning! ๐Ÿ™‚

Post # 5
3728 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: City, State

Mine are similar, but slightly different. For us, bridal party was way less important than getting vendors lined up. We knew who was going to be in it, but we wanted to ask them after we knew exactly what type of wedding we were having. 

1) Figure out what type of wedding you want– huge? small? At a vineyard or banquet hall? Church or all at one place? Get on the same page with the big picture.

2) Figure out budget. How much can you afford? Your fiance? Are your parents contributing? Once you get a hard number, go to weddingwire and work out a budget.

3). Figure out guest list. You need to figure out who is invited to think about things like children, plus ones, and to prevent a lot of fights. Share your lists with your parents to ensure you didn’t forget anyone they deem essential (and prepare to negotiate). This way you don’t book a place that only holds 180 people with a guest list of 300. 

4) Set a date. Try to find 3-4 dates that work for your immediate friends and family. For us, that meant a Saturday in July. We only had two options that worked and so we had to start finding vendors early.

5.) Find venues that you can afford. We only looked at one and it was perfect. Make sure they have space available and book it.


Then comes photographers, DJ, dresses, and all the rest. Best of luck!

Post # 6
2825 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

I think you have a great list, I would add find a photographer at the same time as the venue, they book up quick and sometimes they might not have your original date available.

My top 5 list was a little different… Before getting engaged I had an idea of budget and we already had a venvue picked out (family farm- meaning free space and no limit on amount of people).

So here’s my top 5:

1.  Find and book photographer/Set date (Since I didn’t need a specific day for my venue when the photographer was available dictated the date we got married)

2.  Get ideas, create vision boards and theme boards… Basically figure out what you like and don’t like… It made planning SO easy.

3.  Figure out an officiant (if your getting married in a church this might be a given).  This is another one that tends to book early, and it wasn’t at the top of my list of things to do so I waited and I kind of got shafted by all the great officiants… Not that mine was terrible, but she did get my name wrong… not once but twice during the ceremony. lol

4.  Guest list & save the dates.  We had a lot of out of town guests so we wanted to make sure we got the word out early about out wedding… But to send save the dates you need a guest list and gathering that info can take a while.

5.  The DRESS. ๐Ÿ™‚  It was a big one for me, I knew exactly which one I wanted LONG before I was engaged, but I still wanted to have that dress shopping experience with my family… I live 2,000 miles away from them, so it involved a lot of planning to get me there and with everyone and at a bridal shop that had my dress… Also, it can take 6-8 months (sometimes more) for a dress to get made and sent in, so it’s best to get it early on.



Post # 7
4192 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: July 2012 - Baltimore Museum of Industry

You’re on the right track. One thing that was helpful for me- before we started seriously planning, Fiance and I sat down and talked about what we wanted for the wedding: size, vibe, guests (one of us knows everyone invited), what was most important to both of us- like pollywogs’s first question.

This only took about 10 minutes. Also with the guest list- we picked a number (originally 100), and split it in four: 25 people each for me, Fiance, my family, his family. Fiance and I went over, but we were able to keep our families to it.

Martha Stewart has really good vendor checklists on the wedding section of her web site- for venue, photographer, and caterer- questions you might not come up with on your own.

Congrats and have fun planning!


Post # 8
1458 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

@mgbee:  You sound like you are off to a good start! Once the date/venue is in place, start looking for your other vendors asap (photographer, DJ/band, etc). I was looking a year in advance and was surprised at how many photographers and makeup artists and DJs were totally booked already!

Post # 9
547 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

My first 5 was.


Tell family and friends and talk about a date with everyone

Pick a date

Pick guests

Start a wedding web page with intro 

Send out save the dates with wedding web page on it. 

After that I started planning the acual wedding.  For some reason the date and getting everyone awair of it as soon as possable was important to me.  



Post # 10
129 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

1. Date, even if it’s just a year and rough month for now

2. Budget. That’s one of the biggest things

3. Venue

4. Guest list, or at least a rough estimate of how many guests you’ll want – it helps choose a venue that’s sized right

5. I’m going to go out on a limb and say dress…I picked my dress – along with all of my wedding plans – three or less months before the wedding, because that’s when we decided on our date. I actually got yelled at by a couple of dress shops and told that they wouldn’t be able to get a me a dress in three months. I found something very simple that I loved (the second dress I tried on) but it was unneccesary stress for a while.

Post # 11
672 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

step 1: breathe and enjoy being engaged, as it’s about to get crazy!

Post # 12
1423 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

Ours was:

1) Figure out our budget! Family may not offer, so it’s better to figure out what you guys can do before any planning begins.

2) Figure out how long you want to be engaged and a rough month you’d want to get married.

3) Choose your wedding party.

4) Without thinking of a number-cap, we wrote down who we’d want to invite like this: a) I wrote down my side of the family and my own personal friends, b) Fiance wrote down his side of the family and his personal friends, c) we wrote down mutual friends. From there, based upon budget, we adjusted the list accordingly.

5) Begin discussing the vision you guys have for you wedding. Glam? DIY? Casual? Formal? I put this last because for us, it all depended upon budget, how long we’d be be engaged (for saving up money), venue choices, and who’s involved with the process.

Post # 13
786 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

I just got engaged too and my top 5 are as follows:

1. Make a guest list and budget

2. Look at and pick a venue

3. Find my church for ceremony

4. Hire DJ

5. Hire photog

These were all the most important to us so those are what we will be looking at soon in that order.  Good luck in planning!

Post # 14
300 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2013 - Colonial Country Club, Ft. Myers, FL

I would say as soon as you set a budget, definitely start looking for your venue and photographer as soon as you can!

I booked mine over a year in advance because dates were filling up quick!

Post # 15
4485 posts
Honey bee

Most important thing first is sit down with your fiance and make a list of things you absolutely must have and those you don’t want to include at all. This is your day so doing something that bothers you to please parents, etc should not be a factor. You get one day of your own and they get one day of their own. There is no law that they have to be identical to please everyone else, otherwise you will have regrets for years to come.

Decide what you can reasonably afford to spend without asking for help from parents, etc.

Decide on how many people you want to have in attendance and an estimate of who

Some people decide on a venue first and then choose the date while others choose a date first and then find a venue they love that is available at that time. Either way is a personal decision. Most venues, especially those that are popular, require you to book a year in advance and others will make you wait a year or more before you can reserve a date. Every place is different.

Get other important vendors squared away (photographer, caterer) and then work your way down the list

Post # 16
597 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2013

@mgbee:  I think that you have it covered! I think budget determines guest list so I would swap 1 and 2. Have a great time planning your wedding! ๐Ÿ™‚ 

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