He popped the question, now what?

After the glow of getting engaged and staring at that beautiful ring on your finger, it’s time to figure out what to do next.

Here are the top ten things to think about before you sign on the dotted line for anything!

  1. Consider all families included in the wedding for setting the date and location of the wedding by finding out about vacations, holiday rituals, and work and school schedules.
  2. The big “B” word needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Figure what everyone can contribute ($$’s) to the wedding weekend budget. I say wedding weekend since the growing trend, even in these economic challenging times is to have a joint effort to accommodate out of town guests in the rehearsal dinner, the wedding day expenses, and often a casual brunch the following morning after the wedding day.
  3. When you are thinking about locations and budget, make sure you have in mind an atmosphere you want to create. Some locations come with everything done for you, but others are a blank canvas and you have to use a lot of imagination or rely on event professionals to help you make your vision come to life. Either way, before you sign on the dotted line, know what it is going to cost in time, money, and creativity to make your environment reflect the ambience you want.
  4. If you are the type of couple that would like to plan the wedding yourself by handling the expenditures and making the major decisions, please ask all parties contributing to have a wedding account that you manage. Having to go to each party to ask for funds as you go along invites questions that you might not want to have to answer or justify your desires. Hopefully everyone trusts your judgment and once you do your do diligence in investigating services and sites, you can focus on getting what you want and like instead of negotiating every purchase or decision you make to the bitter end.
  5. No two people will agree on everything, so get use to the idea that you may not see eye to eye in all ways. Make a list of the top three priorities you have for services and see how close you really are in agreeing. Even if you don’t agree on something, make sure that you present a unified front to parents and family assisting you financially. You will face a lot of stress unnecessarily when you air your differences in front of others. You might get more than you bargained for in a no hold bars discussion.
  6. This is such a wonderful and exciting time in your life, but it’s important to keep wedding planning in proportion to the rest of your life you are creating together. Try to create pockets of time where wedding plans are off limits and concentrate on anything else so you don’t feel so consumed by party planning.
  7. Even if you are not sure exactly who will be attending the wedding ceremony and reception, gather a guest list from both sides of the family of each of you, along with lists of each of your friends before you go site shopping. It’s impossible to know for sure how many of your closest and dearest will come, but figure you want a location that will be OK if 20 % more or less will eventually will attend.
  8. It’s best to think about whom you would like to be in your wedding party as soon as you can. Everyone has old friends, family members, and more recent but close friends that could be potential wedding party members. The more notice you give the better, since it is no small commitment to be a wedding party member these days. With bachelorette and bachelor parties, showers, wedding present, wedding attire, and beauty services, it really starts to add up. If the honored attendants live outside the area where you are now, it’s even more of a commitment for them to participate. They may need a little time to figure out the “money” or talk with their family and take into consideration their work situation. Have a couple of people in mind for back up just in case your initial choices won’t be able to participate.
  9. After doing your do diligence in order to find out what your taste really costs, be sure to hold aside up to 10% of your overall budget for surprises and the unexpected.
  10. Keep your sense of humor! There are bound to be some unexpected actions or conversations you would have rather not have had to have. But with not taking yourself or selves too seriously, you will be able to weather any storms that might blow through once in a while.