A Step-By-Step Guide to What to Do After Getting Engaged
Congratulations, you've said yes to a proposal from the love of your life! And as a new fiancé(e), you might be wondering what to do after getting engaged, but there's no need to stress. Planning a wedding is a timely process that doesn't need to start the moment the ring is on your finger. Every couple's timeline is different, and there's no specific schedule when planning your nuptials. But when it comes down to the order of tasks, it can be confusing. Who do you tell? When should you have an engagement party? What should you tackle first? These are common questions you might be thinking now that a wedding is on your horizon. Luckily for you, we have the answers.
If you're thinking, "I'm engaged, now what?" you're in the right place. Here, we break down exactly what 15 things you should do after the proposal. Read our top expert tips to help kick off your wedding planning experience.
1. Enjoy Your Engagement
"Take the first few days of your engagement just for the two of you. As tempting as it is to announce your engagement to the world, you deserve at least a few days to bask in the new status of your relationship privately," McKenzi Taylor, owner of Cactus Collective Weddings and Electric Sugar Elopements, advises. You don't have to jump into wedding planning when you're just engaged—in fact, we encourage couples to take some time to relax before the planning process begins. Take an engagement-moon to enjoy one-on-one time.
Of course, if you're planning a short engagement or you're working within a strict wedding timeline, you might not want to delay the process too long. Do what feels right to you and your partner, not what you think you should do according to those around you.
2. Declare the News
The second thing you should do as a newly engaged couple is share the happy news. Take as much (or as little) time as you want. Some couples tell everyone as soon as possible, while others prefer to keep the news a secret before going public. "Announce to close friends and family, and allow them to celebrate you. Field your congratulations from your closest circles and celebrate with those who matter in your everyday lives. Once the dust has settled, and if you must, you can go Instagram official with your engagement," Taylor says.
The Knot Expert Tip: To avoid hurt feelings, certain people should be told about the engagement before you post on social media. First, your parents and immediate family, followed by extended family and friends. Everyone will appreciate the opportunity to congratulate you directly.
3. Get Your Ring Sized and Insured
We know this what to do after getting engaged step isn't romantic, but it's definitely necessary. If you notice the engagement ring doesn't fit as you want, go to a top-rated jeweler and get it sized to your finger––you don't want it falling off and getting lost. Speaking of lost rings....get engagement ring insurance since it helps cover misplaced, stolen or damaged rings too. Some homeowner and renter's insurance policies offer jewelry coverage, with some limitations, so research which policy works best for you.
4. Pick a Wedding Date
Your wedding date can be special to you and your partner, like the date you first met or when you first said "I love you" to one another. But you also have to consider if the date falls during peak or off-wedding season and if it will be on a weekday or weekend because all of this impacts the price of your celebration. If you have a specific date, season or venue in mind, we suggest you and your partner tick this off your after-engagement checklist as soon as possible so you have a better idea of where to start with your other wedding planning to-dos.
5. Do an Engagement Photo Shoot
Get some prewedding pictures taken so you and your partner can strengthen your confidence in front of the camera, spend quality time together and get to know your wedding photographer before the big day. "Capture this magical moment as an engaged couple before you say 'I Do.' Find a good photographer and plan an engagement photo shoot that reflects the vibe and aesthetic you will always want to remember about this special moment in your life. I have done engagement shoots for couples at the beach, beside a roaring fire, at a horse ranch, in their backyard, and even a sexy kitchen shoot," Taylor says.
6. Start a Checklist and Get Organized
Once you select a wedding date, another thing you should do after getting engaged is make a list of tasks to guide planning. You can create a personalized wedding checklist on The Knot to figure out what your to-dos are on a month-by-month basis. Don't stress yourself out in the beginning by setting deadlines that might prove to be unrealistic—our tool will guide you on which essential tasks to do and when. It might seem daunting trying to get as much done as possible in the first few months, but it'll save you potential headaches and roadblocks in the weeks leading up to your big day. Trust us, you'll thank yourselves later.
In addition to making a checklist, get organized. Taylor suggests couples create a designated email address for all their wedding planning and vendor communication. We recommend downloading The Knot Wedding Planner app to keep everything in one place, from your registry to your wedding website and vendor list. Start by taking the Style Quiz to get personalized inspiration for your nuptials. Once you have a vision, you'll be prepared to select a date, venue and your team of pros. The app will also help you manage the less-glamorous planning details, like your budget breakdown and the status of RSVPs. But if you also like to write notes, get a wedding binder to keep important documents, copies of contracts and receipts all in one place.
7. Choose Your Wedding Party Members
First, ask yourself if you want a wedding party––not everyone wants to go the traditional route for their wedding. But if having a group of your close friends and family stand by you on your special day sounds like a blast, start choosing your VIPs. Write down what you want your wedding party to look like. Do you want a specific number of bridesmaids or groomsmen? Who do you think best fits each role and will take the responsibilities seriously? Is having an honor attendant a must? Take the time to think about all of those important questions and more before doing your wedding party proposals. Remember, you want this to be a pleasant experience, not one where people are upset because you didn't think it out thoroughly.
8. Start Drafting Your Guest List
Having a rough or exact estimate of your guest count will help you choose the right venue for your big day. "Create a list of who you would like to participate in your day. Often couples will pull a number like 100 guests and work to fill that number. Couples should create a list of the people they want to witness and celebrate their union," Sheavonne Harris, founder and wedding planner of Events by Sheavonne, says. If your or your partner's family is helping pay for the wedding, it's proper etiquette to ask them who they would like to invite and add those people to the guest list.
9. Look for Wedding Inspiration
Arguably one of the most fun parts of wedding planning is finding inspiration. If you don't know what to do after getting engaged, start looking at social media platforms like Pinterest, Instagram and TikTok to find fun or romantic wedding themes, unbelievable decoration ideas, cool wedding attire you never thought of wearing and much more. Create a central place for you and your partner to add both your inspirational ideas, like a word document or vision board, to help keep everything organized and see the full scope of your wedding concept. You can also pick up a copy of The Knot Magazine (or even subscribe to get a year of issues!) for plenty more of-the-moment wedding inspiration.
You can ask your close loved ones to contribute to your wedding inspiration, but don't let them overly influence how you want your celebration to look. "Even if you play your hand close to the vest, you're bound to get loved ones and acquaintances alike pulling you aside to offer their advice about your upcoming wedding, and you'll start to feel some pressure to conform to what others think an appropriate wedding should look like. I can tell you that the happiest couples are the ones who plan their wedding for themselves and not to please others," Taylor says.
10. Make a Wedding Budget
Form a budget based on what you and your partner can afford, and think about how long it'll take you to achieve your goal. You should also talk about if anyone will be contributing to the budget, like family. And it might be a boring conversation, but you need to figure out how you'll finance the celebration as well. "Don't use multiple credit cards when financing the wedding; dedicate one or two cards for wedding expenses. This will make it easier to track your spending and is a great way to use credit card reward programs," Harris advises. And when it comes to paying off the slowly accumulating wedding bills, Harris suggests paying as you go when using credit cards. This way you avoid paying for the party years into your marriage.
Try your best to stay within your budget. "Remember that 'budget' isn't a dirty word. Your dream wedding of any theme and aesthetic can be achieved on just about any budget with the right wedding planner at the helm. Sticking to your budget typically comes down to creativity, flexibility and the size of your guest list," Taylor says.
11. Research Wedding Venues
With your wedding date in mind, you can start looking for venues that you and your partner love and that are available on your desired day. "With your guest list and budget in mind, determine what wedding venue you'd like to host your celebration. Venues vary so much, and you want to choose a venue that suits your wedding style. Select at least three venues to tour. When meeting with a member of the venue team, be transparent about how you plan to use the venue down to the smallest detail. Ask all the questions; nothing is too small," Harris urges.
12. Build a Wedding Website
Research which wedding website is best for you and your partner's wants and needs. Many to-be-weds enjoy doing this step after engagement because wedding websites have numerous ways to customize them. Plus, many sites offer helpful planning tools to make your life easier, like automatically syncing your registry, managing RSVPs and message boards for you and your guests.
13. Research and Meet With Your Desired Planners and Vendors
Unless you're DIY-ing your entire wedding, we urge you to look up professional wedding planners and vendors to help make your dream wedding a reality. You can ask your married friends or family members for recommendations, find out what crew was behind the wedding you love on social media or start by looking at top-rated vendors on The Knot Marketplace. Once you and your partner have made a list of vendors you need and who you want to fill those roles, start setting up consultations with each of them to see if they're the right match.
14. Plan an Engagement Party
This what to do after getting engaged step required, but it's a fun way to start your prewedding journey. If a loved one has offered to throw you an engagement party, create a registry, sit back and relax. But if you don't mind taking on the responsibility of hosting the event, you'll need to plan everything from the party's theme to your engagement party toast. Regardless of your decision to have a glamorous or low-key celebration, do what reflects your and your partner's love story.
15. Have Fun
"Once planning is in full force, remember to use your PTO (Planning Time Off). Take needed breaks when planning becomes too much. A little planning of self-care goes a long way," Harris says. Have a date night where it's just the two of you doing something fun, like sip and paint, bowling, a road trip to the beach or simply relaxing watching movies and shows. Always make time to enjoy one another's company––you won't regret it.