Let me start off by saying there aren’t any real ‘rules’ to being engaged of course, but I sure have experienced many, many do’s and don’ts over the last few months. And let me say too, when people tell you “enjoy it because the time flies by”, they aren’t kidding. I feel like S got down on one knee last week, but it’s been four months! On top of it moving faster than the blink of an eye, you’re filled with so many emotions and depending on your desired date – lots of decisions in a short period of time. Here’s a post all about our engagement story to start if you’re interested!
While everyone is different, I figured I’d share these learning experiences for you whether you’re currently engaged or this serves as a resource for you in the years to come.
1.Take It All In – Between the Two of You
One thing I felt was the up most importance right after S proposed was to take in the blissful moments to ourselves. Whether you’ve been together for ten years or nine months, that moment is unlike anything else you’ll experience and taking it in between just the two of you will be something you’ll forever cherish.
S asked me to marry him on Peak’s Island off the coast of Maine so once our ferry boat docked in Portland at the end of the day, we called my Dad and FaceTimed his parents about the exciting news! For the rest of our time in Portland, we soaked in this AMAZING time, just between the two of us. Other than using our phones as cameras, we disconnected to focus one another which was refreshing so refreshing within itself.
2.Leave It Off Social Media
Telling our friends was so important to us, that we wanted to wait until we had all the time in the world to give all the details and take in the special time with them each individually. On top having the time to soak in the moment with our friends, we wanted to do exactly that – tell our friends. In my opinion, Facebook and Instagram aren’t he places where your friends and family should find out such a huge life milestone.. a personal phone call, in-person conversation or video chat is, so that was a decision we can gladly say was a ‘do’ in our book four months ago, to now.
After we returned home from our little getaway, we immediately asked two of our best friends to come over later that day. They totally knew something was up and our friend Taryn actually stuffed a bottle of champagne in her purse and once she heard the news, she whipped it out to celebrate! Celebrating with them that evening is one we’ll always cherish.
From there, we connected with our family and friends via phone and video chat all night. Having that special moment with each one of them on an individual basis was so special. After every conversation, I’d look at S and just cry because my heart was so full of love from each of them. With that, I can’t stress enough that taking the time to tell your loved ones and close friends each in a more personal manner than social media is well worth it.
3.Set A Yearly Timeline + Monthly To Do List
Whether you’ve been engaged for two days or two months, you’re going to get questions on things you haven’t even thought about yet. From a spring or fall date, to bridesmaids colors, to suits or tuxedos.. people will ask lots of questions! If you’re like me, it might be a little overwhelming. I’m such a planner that being asked questions on things I hadn’t worked on yet at first made me feel overwhelmed and like I was behind, but that’s not the truth at all. People are simply asking questions to connect with you and it’s okay to say “We don’t know yet!”.
I realized that having a yearly timeline broken out by month with monthly ‘to do’ lists has been so helpful in not only keeping us on track with planning, but also to allow us to not feel behind. If we aren’t deciding on men’s wear until January, then there isn’t a need to feel like you’re behind when someone asks what the guys will be wearing.
I’m a list checker, so as long as my items are being checked off every month and we’re having fun while doing it, I consider it a win!
4.Don’t Make Any Decisions the First Week
This was one piece of advice I remember hearing before ever getting engaged. While you may get so excited to plan, plan, plan wait a bit before making any concrete decisions and putting down deposits. We got engaged in August and wanted a September wedding the following year, so after taking one week to let the news set in and talk about any idea that could come to mind, we starting researching ceremony and reception locations. We wanted to get married in Maine because that’s where I’ve lived my entire life [until now in Boston] and it’s where S and I met almost nine years ago. We zoomed in on Portland because S and I have spent so much time there together since I went to school in this city. We even got engaged there! So, while location was fairly simple for us to decide on quickly, we had no idea what size or theme of a wedding we wanted.. 50 people outside or 200 people in a ballroom. While getting a date nailed down [especially in Southern Maine – so many places were already booked well over a year in advance!], take your time and consider all different realms of your wedding!
5.Two Families Coming Together
While in the end, the day is about you, your fiance and the love you have for one another, other people are involved. Marriage is two families coming into one. Parents will probably have opinions that you may not agree with, but you should take them into consideration, respect them and realize that this is a huge day for them too! On this topic, S and I are very lucky that both my dad and his parents aren’t too opinionated about things.
My dad just wants us to be financially responsible and not go crazy. He’d rather see us put it towards a house and we both agree!
S’ parents were passionate about the ceremony being held in a church and having a reception area suitable to hold a lot of family members. Those two were a bit of no brainers since he’s Italian, haha. The church wedding took a bit to get used to for me since I wasn’t raised with structured religion. I hadn’t ever really pictured myself getting married in one. Being married in a church was an S valued as well, so we have started going to our local church and I’m learning all about the Roman Catholic religion which has been fun. I’m excited for our marriage prep course in the spring which will help prepare even more for marriage.
Anyway, while I never really pictured myself getting married in a church, I realize that holding the ceremony there is very important to S and his parents, making it something I respect. And you never know, whatever the topic is that your parents are passionate about may end up opening new doors. I personally have enjoyed learning about S’ faith and maybe one day it’ll be mine and our children’s too. I chat more about that topic here.
6.Close the Pinterest Door
One of my close friends is an event planner. The first piece of advice she gave me for wedding planning was to not go Pinterest crazy. Dig into the inspiration, pick your favorite ideas and then let the rest go. You don’t want to be five weeks away still throwing in DIY ideas or second guessing your personal touches. Also keep in mind, many of the wedding photos you see on Pinterest are staged shoots AKA they aren’t real weddings. Don’t get stuck comparing your budget and style to a wedding that’s not even real or someone put themselves in debt to have. Do all the Pinterest searching you’d like, find the details you like and then to a point – close the Pinterest door.
7.Incorporate Your Bridesmaids and Groomsmen
One thing I want to start doing more next year is incorporating our bridal parties into wedding planning. S and I have been primarily focused on getting vendor quotes and deciding on them, so that really only involves us for the time being. Our bridal parties are currently planning our bachelor and bachelorette parties [so exciting!!], but after that I know that setting aside time on certain wedding aspects with each bridesmaid and groomsmen is so important. Whether bringing the ‘food connoisseur’ with you for selecting the menu or your artsy bff for deciding on invites, or your Type-A bestie for helping create a timeline, everyone’s personality serves great in certain aspects of wedding planning and most importantly, it shows them that you value their input!
For example, my bridesmaid Rachel has been so wonderful at giving advice since she recently was married. She also shared her budget spreadsheet and wedding documents which was so helpful! There were items listed on there that I wouldn’t have even thought I needed until two weeks before, leaving me scrambling. Then there is Sergio’s best friend Tim that created a wedding weekend guide for the wedding parties so they know when to fly in and where to be at every moment, haha!
Every person is so unique and it’s such a fun time to grow your relationship with each person even closer 😃
8.Your ‘Back Alley’ Wedding List
One thing I had heard years ago in some magazine article was that weddings are about balance. Sure, we’d all like to have out #1 choice for everything, but that isn’t realistic since wedding are so expensive and let’s be honest – that’s not life. To keep things in perspective, S and I named the top four things that were most important to us. If we were getting married tomorrow in a back alley and we only had four things to care about, mine would be:
Having this little list serves as a reminder through planning and so far has been really helpful. If you don’t get your first pick make up artist, can only serve wine or don’t have gold charger plates, it’s not a big deal. At the end of the day, this is about MARRIAGE not a wedding per se. Your guests want to celebrate you and they won’t remember if your cake was chocolate or vanilla 😃 While small details matter, you can’t stress yourself out because not everything is as big of a deal as we think and the planning part should be fun!
9.Ask Your Bridal Party in a Fun Way
Another one of my favorite memories thus far was when each one of our groomsmen and bridesmaids received their goodie bag asking them to be a part of our big day. You can read more about how we asked here. I never realized how much of a financial and time commitment it was to stand next to someone on their day until now. I feel so guilty asking my girlfriends to wear matching shoes and the same dress because I don’t want them spending money! I literally just want them next to me on my wedding day, but that’s not how this rodeo works haha.
By putting together a cute goodie bag or a thoughtful letter, you’re really setting the tone on how important this is for you and how much you love them. Seeing and hearing everyone’s reactions is so special.
10.If Your Stressed, Take a Break
This time of year is really busy for me. I have 2017 planning for my day job and it’s also considered my ‘busy season’ for my blog, plus it’s the holidays! With all those factors, getting a good nights rest can be a challenge. S and I decided to take a month off from planning since we had a great foundation already. While we weren’t stressed per se at this point, we could project it to get really stressful! So whether you have a busy season in the spring or are feeling stressed out, take a break. Even if you take a week off, you can come back into it feeling refreshed and refocused!
So no matter how you handle announcing your engagement, asking your bridal party or delegating wedding planning – I hope this post helps you think about how to go about certain situations. And of course, everyone is different so what worked for me, may be totally different for you 😃 If your bestie or you are in need of some fun wifey gifts, I linked up a bunch below! Xoxo Mindy
*Engagement photography by: Amanda Fogarty Photography
SHOP BRIDAL GOODIES