Just got engaged? 8 Things to do next.

For Brides

Olive Park Chicago Engagement Photo

I’ll NEVER forget the day I got engaged.

It was a Sunday morning in December, and Phil woke up me up early. I photographed a wedding the night before, and we were leaving to visit my brother in Las Vegas, so we had a million things to do including packing for our long weekend.

I was laying in bed clicking on my cell, when Phil came over to my side of the bed, dropped to his knee, said all the right things and proposed. He even had our mini goldendoodle, Clifton, in a bow-tie and a celebration drink on my bedside table.

I remember having that beautiful diamond on my finger for the first time and exploding with excitement that we were #engaged. The day was a whirlwind of phone calls, champagne and celebrating with our closest friends and family before we boarded our 9 pm flight to LAS.

According to WeddingWire, 33 percent of engagements happen between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day (and I was one of those), so if you have a sparkler on your hand and you have NO idea where to begin, this post is for you my newly engaged bride-to-be.

1. SAVOR THE MOMENT

When this life-changing moment finally happens in your life, you are going to want to shout it from the rooftops (or at least every social media account you have, right?). Try to take some time to soak in that “just got engaged” feeling for as long as you — bonus if it is just the two of you.

In no time, everyone will be asking who, what, when, where …. so savor being in a little bubble of just excitement.

2. CHAT ABOUT WHEN YOU WANT TO GET MARRIED

Do you want a long engagement or a short one? Want to say I do outdoors during a warm month or are you thinking about a snow-covered winter wedding? Do you love the idea of your wedding anniversary being on a special date like the date of your first date or your parents’ anniversary? Talk to your other half, and figure out a rough idea of when you might want to get married. This will help you narrow down your date / venue and all the things.

Emerson Creek Wedding Photos

3. DETERMINE A BUDGET

While no one wants to talk $, setting a budget is the key to smooth wedding planning. Trust me on this one. Talk to everyone that is contributing to your wedding and figure out what your total budget is BEFORE you start looking at venues or hiring any vendors for your wedding day. This will help you get crystal clear on where your money is going and help you decide on all the details for your day.

4. BRAINSTORM AND DECIDE ON YOUR TOP 3 MUST-HAVES

What are the 3 most important things to you and your other half? It might be 1. amazing venue 2. beautiful photography and 3. killer band. If so, you will want to start looking into these things ASAP. The best venues + vendors book early, so start researching and hiring the ones most important to you. This will also help you as you finalize your budget and decide on what parts of your wedding you will splurge on and what areas you might save a little on. 

My best friend and wedding planner, Christine Janda, gave me this advice when I was planning our wedding, and it was what kept me sane when I was so overwhelmed with planning. Once we knew what three things were most important, it was SO much easier to commit to our decisions. 

Horse Engagement Photo

5. MAKE A GUEST LIST

Are you going to be hosting 300 people or 50 people? It is important to think through how many people you, your fiancé and your families want to invite. Open up a google doc, and add everyone you, your fiancé and your parents *want* to invite. This is not your final guest list, but a starting point so you know how many people you might end up inviting.

Once you know this, you will be able to start your search for the perfect venue and fine-tune your wedding budget. Some venues might be out of the running because they can’t fit everyone you love and other places might be out of your budget because of your guest list. Start here before you go any further.

6. CURATE THE MOST EPIC PINTEREST BOARD

Ok, so chances are you may already have a secret Pinterest board you have been dreaming up, but if you don’t, now is the time to start one and go crazy with pins! Add anything that makes your heart flutter or that you instantly LOVE. This will help you see the themes, colors and vibe of the day you are swooning over. If you need some inspiration, be sure to check out my pinterest board.

Art Institute Chicago Fine Art Wedding Photos

7. HIRE A WEDDING PLANNER

You might be thinking you can do this solo, but hiring a wedding planner is a smart decision … especially early on the process. They will be there to help set your budget, hook you up with the best vendors in the business, vent to and help you through all the details you might not be thinking about. Plus, they will be able to help you tie your vision together and allow you and your family / friends to just enjoy the day when it comes. I hired a wedding planner for our destination wedding in Mexico, and it was the best thing.

8. SET YOUR DATE + BOOK YOUR VENUE

If you have your heart set on a specific date like New Year’s Eve or July 4th, your planning might be based on what venues and vendors are available for the date. If you are flexible, you might select your date based on the venue you love or the band that your sister had at her wedding and you have to have too. Whatever leads you to your wedding date, lock the date in, mark your calendar and book your venue. Once you have this HUGE task off your list, you can start going down the list of all the other people you need to secure for your wedding date.

California Film Photographer - Clos La Chance Winery

Have you already checked a few of these off (look at you!) and you are ready to keep things moving? Click here to learn how to choose a wedding photographer. And pop by the for brides section to learn my best tips, tricks and wedding planning advice like how to create the perfect wedding timeline and why you might want to have an unplugged ceremony for your wedding

>>> Loving my style + vibe? Wonder what it is like to work with me? Learn what past brides say about working with Brittany Bekas. Want to see if we will become fast friends so you can cross finding a photographer of your to-do list? Click here to fill out my contact form or email the studio at hello@brittanybekas.com so we can connect asap, babe!<<<

First time to the blog? Hi, I am Brittany, and I am a fine art film photographer specializing in lifestyle wedding and family photography. I travel worldwide photographing beautiful weddings, engagements, and families, and most of the time you can find me in Chicago, Naples (Southwest Florida), and Las Vegas. My light and airy editing style and candid, joyful photos are what I am best known for. Interested in working together? Contact the studio for more information.

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After becoming a mom and losing my own mom, I realized that the most cherished photos are moments (not the perfectly posed portrait). I'm here to let moments unfold and to document the true connection between you, your partner and your family.

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