After the big question has been popped, one of the first questions couples wonder is what to do once you’re engaged. And trust us, as a couple who’s in the midst of wedding planning, we were a little lost as to where to start! There’s so much information out there, but it can get a little overwhelming trying to take it all in. That’s why we wanted to put together a personalized list of things to do once you’re engaged, coming from a couple who wishes we had these tips earlier.
Think about how you want your day to feel
Listen, we know that it can be easy to jump right into figuring out budgets, vendors, and all the technical stuff. But it’s so important to talk to your partner all about how you want your wedding day to feel first. It will be so much easier for everything to fall into place if you have a clear vision! Think about things like what you want the background to be as you say your vows, how many of your friends and family are present, and what the center focus is. Plus, this step will get you even more excited to start planning!
Decide on your “must haves”
Now that you and your partner have a better idea of what your vision is, it’s time to start deciding on your must haves. When it comes to the overall experience of your day, what are the things that you absolutely wouldn’t want to go without? For example, Mark and I really wanted a sit down dinner with a private chef during our wedding. So we made that a non-negotiable! We also wanted our ceremony to be as energetic as possible, and for everyone in attendance to feel like they were truly a part of everything. Once you have your vision down-packed, it should be pretty easy to narrow down what your top priorities will be.
Finalize your budget
It’s time to start talking numbers! Write out an idea of how much money you want to spend, and then the absolute maximum budget. You might need a little wiggle room once you start inquiring with vendors, so that’s why we encourage having an ideal budget and a max budget. Think about what your must haves are and what you want to prioritize within your budget.
Start looking for vendors
Now onto the fun part – looking for your vendors! Browse Instagram, Facebook groups, Google, and even Pinterest for vendors that you align with. Once you find a few that you’re interested in, start by browsing their website to really get a feel of what they’re like. Don’t be afraid to stalk their Instagram, too! Someone’s internet presence can say a lot about them, so don’t take it with a grain of salt. When you hear their voice in their words and their images do you see you and your partner there? Do you feel connected to what they offer?
Inquire with your preferred vendors
Once you come across vendors that you initially feel like would be a good fit, it’s time to inquire! You can typically do this via a contact form on their website. When they get back to you and end up having availability for your day, we HIGHLY recommend hopping on a video call with them. Most vendors offer free consultations so that we can all meet and chat about what you want your day to look like. It’s so important to meet these vendors face to face because the people you CHOOSE to be a part of your day are essential to how the day runs, feels and looks after the fact.
Trust is such an important part of choosing your wedding vendors, and if for any reason you feel iffy, it may not be the best fit. You have to trust that they have your best interests in mind, and the best way to figure that out is by meeting them either in person or via video chat!
PS – Keep in mind that your photo/video team are going to people you spend the most time with on your wedding day. So connecting with those people prior to booking them is super important!
Questions to ask your vendors
When you’re meeting with vendors for the first time (and even throughout the wedding planning process), the best thing you can do is ask questions. And trust me, if they’re a trustworthy vendor, they should be encouraging questions. After all, we want to make sure we’ll be a good fit just as much as you do! Here are a few example questions you could ask your potential photo/video team:
- What is your philosophy when you shoot? How do you envision capturing our wedding day?
- How do you handle shooting the ceremony and big moments?
- What is your process when you edit your wedding film?
- How do you view guest experience in terms of your job on a wedding day?
- What is your process in capturing couples portraits?
- How do you work with other vendors?
- How do you keep/store files?
- What is your turnaround time?
Once you start booking vendors
After you start getting pricing guides and brochures from potential vendors that you want to book, take a look at your ideal budget and see if you want to make any tweaks. You might find a few vendors that you absolutely love and make it a non-negotiable to work with them. If this is the case, you might rework your budget to make sure those vendors are your top priority!
When you start getting contracts from your vendors, be sure to carefully and thoroughly read through all of their clauses. What are their COVID policies? What about policies for rescheduling or cancellations? Reliable vendors will always have these types of clauses in their contract. And again, if you’re unsure about something, ask questions about it. After all, vendor contracts are legally binding. It’s important to know exactly what you’re being provided!
Now that you know what to do once you’re engaged…
Well, those are all of our tips for what to do once you’re engaged! Remember to cherish this time with your partner, and don’t let the wedding planning process stress you out too much. You’re meant to enjoy this season of life, and get excited about getting married!
If you and your partner are on the hunt for vendors in the Fingerlakes area, we’re always more than happy to recommend ones that we have personally worked with. And if you’d like to get in touch with us, you can fill out our contact form and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. In the meantime, we would love for you to check our recent blog all about how to find inclusive wedding vendors!