Engaged? Our Top 10 Tips to Ring in the New Year

Posted on January 2nd, 2017 by Melissa Paul

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CONGRATULATIONS! YOU’RE ENGAGED! NOW WHAT?

He popped the question! Well, felicitaciones! You’re officially engaged! Assuming you’ve already enjoyed a little time together to celebrate, here are our top 10 tips on what to do to get started on your wedding planning!

1) MAKE THE CALL. Before you scream it from the highest rooftop, tell your immediate families in person! Or, if you’re living or vacationing away from them when it happens, get on a phone call, Facebook Live or Skype video chat and share the news. A phone call may seem old school, but remember, not everyone goes to social media for their personal news. Especially THIS kind of news. Plus, don’t you want to see their reactions when you hold up the RING?


2) DECIDE HOW TO TELL YOUR FRIENDS. Once you’ve told your immediate families, think about how you want to share your happy news with your friends and extended families. Some couples choose to announce their engagement news with a Snap, Instagram post or Facebook update. Social media can be the fastest, most creative way to spread the love in today’s world. But again, post it only AFTER you’ve picked up the phone and personally told your folks and siblings! Other engaged couples choose to surprise their friends and extended family members with a surprise engagement party. Sounds like fun to us! Just don’t forget, whoever you invite to your engagement party should also be invited to your wedding.


3) SECURE THE RING. Chances are, your pretty sparkler needs to be resized to fit your finger. Don’t put it off, get it done sooner rather than later to avoid losing it entirely. And, while you’re at it, if it wasn’t appraised and insured at purchase, now’s the time. Get it insured! Trust us, we’ve heard far too many heartbreaking stories about ring prongs broken off, missing gemstones, diamond rings down the drain, and stolen engagement rings. Life just happens.


4) GET HONEST. Before you open up conversations with others on how to plan the wedding, when it will  happen, where is the wedding going to take place, what color bridesmaids’ dresses you want, or where you are going on your honeymoon, TALK TO EACH OTHER. Sit down together, without distraction, without anything before you but curiosity, love and an open-mind. Talk about your dream wedding, family concerns, party planning priorities, expectations on how decisions will be made, whether you want a small ceremony on the beach, a romantic destination wedding, or a big ballroom blow out. Listen to each other. This is where your marriage begins. Only after you two are on the same page can you invite others to join the conversation.


5) TALK MONEY. You can’t plan a wedding of any kind if you don’t know what money you have to work with. And, even more importantly, who can or will be offering money to pay for the wedding. Which means, you also need to discuss who you want to contribute. This is very important because whomever pays, or partially pays, also has say. No matter what they tell you, if they offer money they have decision-making power in how, where, when, and what the wedding will be. Frankly, anyone spending large sums of money should have decision-making power. Just be clear on how financial decisions will be made and who will make the final choices. Ask the hard questions in advance. You’ll be happy that you did.


6) DISCUSS THE GUEST LIST. Figuring out the guest list is not as easy as it sounds. There are many different ways to approach the task, depending on who is hosting the wedding and the style of the celebration preferred by the bride and groom. But the main determinate is the wedding budget. Once you have the budget in hand then you can realistically discuss the guest list, and how many invites each family gets.


7) GET PROFESSIONAL HELP. Nothing beats working with a wedding planner who knows weddings from A to Z and back again! From picking a wedding venue to negotiating food and beverage contracts, offering helpful etiquette advice and knowing which event vendors to hire, wedding planners offer tremendous value. Can weddings be planned without a planner? Sure. But our advice, as wedding planners and event designers, is to at least meet with a planner before you rule out hiring one. Particularly when you’re planning a destination wedding away from home in a foreign country.


8) THE WHOLE ENCHILADA. Now that you have the big pieces of reality (money) and practicality (guest list) fresh in mind, it’s time to circle back to the design of the wedding you want to host. After all, this is the first family party you are creating that represents YOUR new family-to-be. You don’t need to plan out every detail, in fact, it’s better if you don’t. But it is good to think of the mood you want to create, think adjectives like romantic, relaxed, inspired, intimate, playful, provocative, sexy; as well as the formality level such as semi-formal, casual, festive, black tie; and then add the style you envision, like trendy, exotic, preppy, elegant, beachy, bohemian, urban, classic, traditional, edgy, modern, eclectic, organic, rustic, and so forth. Combine all that with how you want to spend time with your guests, for six hours or over three days, and you have an idea of the wedding experience you want to share.


9) SCOUT LOCATIONS. Before you set a date for the wedding think about WHERE you want to celebrate your nuptials. Seems backwards to some, but frankly, we’ve learned a thing or two in our years of planning weddings. For some, the date is non-negotiable due to finances, employment, deployment, family illnesses, social calendars, etc. But for many, MANY other couples, it’s all about the place. We regularly set up long weekends of venue site inspections, allowing engaged couples to visit the hotels, resorts and private villas for which Los Cabos is known. In this case, seeing is believing. Once you fall in love with the wedding location THEN check to see when it’s available. Hopefully, there’s a date or two open that marries with your budget, design, guest count, and family schedules.


10) FIX A DATE. As noted above, there is so much more to planning a wedding than picking the date. Our suggestion would be to stay flexible. One tactic would be to pick the type of wedding you are dreaming of, add in the agreed upon budget and the desired location, then work on the date from there. For instance, one of our clients got engaged at sunset, walking on the beach on their summer vacation. When they starting planning their wedding they couldn’t imagine celebrating their wedding any other way. They wanted their toes in the sand with a sunset ceremony on the beach! But, they didn’t want to wait a whole year to get married. So, they left the cold Chicago winter behind to exchange vows on the warm beaches of Baja! In February! The other way to nail down the wedding date is to pick a season (Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall) and see what dates are available within it.

AND THERE YOU HAVE IT! Our top 10 tips for what to do once he really does put a ring on it! Above all, enjoy your engagement. It’s a beautiful journey you are setting out on together.

{Photo courtesy of Chris + Lynn Destination Photographers}

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