Okay we’re finished squealing now. Just kidding. (Aaaaaaaaaah!)
Once you’ve said yes, cried a bit, hugged a lot, composed yourself, and gotten your “Newly Engaged Mani” (obviously), you’re instantly going to want to start googling wedding venues and pinning dresses.
Stop right there!
It’s easy to go a little off-track in the first few weeks of your fiance status.
(Claire here, BTW.) And as someone who got engaged in October, I can firmly verify that the last three months, have been an exciting time of lapping up all the loveliness, and trying my hardest not to make any sweeping statements, big commitments or major decisions!
So before you start breaking out the diary and saving your date, here’s a few things NOT to do when you first get engaged!
1. Announce It On Social Media (Before You Call Your Parents)
Someone I know did this. It did not go down well. Of course you and your other half will be so excited to share your news WITH THE ENTIRE PLANET but there is a bit of an etiquette to who you tell first, and how you tell them.
Obviously each family is different, for us, we got engaged in the wee hours of a Sunday morning, so we left until we’d woken up the next day to let anyone know. Having a few hours to bask in your secret news is pretty fantastic!
We Skyped our parents (they live in Ireland and we’re in London), then our siblings (requesting that our parents didn’t call them in the meantime), and we let our parents have the exciting job of telling our extended family.
Then we called some friends, I group mailed some of my best college friends, because they’re scattered around the world, so that’s how we communicate most, and if I’d called, they’d have thought something was wrong! We told our London friends in person, which was lots of fun (I recommend doing this as much as you can, the reactions are so lovely!).
And finally, about three days later, when we were sure everyone close to us knew our news, we changed our relationship status on Facebook. A modern version of announcing your engagement in the newspaper, and a lovely excuse for old school friends to get in touch and send their love!
2. Keep A Ring You’re Not Happy With
You might not adore your ring when you see it first, but you’ll be so excited you probably won’t notice!
Don’t say anything at first. Keep it on for a few days, it sometimes takes time to get used to, and it will most likely grow on you. (I picked my own ring out, but it still looked odd on my hand for the first few weeks!) But if you’ve been staring at it for days and you still haven’t fallen in love, say something.
It might be tough, your other half might be a bit gutted, but in the long run, if you don’t like your engagement ring, it’s better for both of you if you’re honest.
If the rock is too small, suggest swapping out the diamond for a white sapphire or moissanite, or if the setting is too big for your style, perhaps add the stones to a different ring?
For more on this particular dilemma, read about how to tackle it, from someone who knows first hand!
3. Start To Panic
Card by JulieAnnArt on Etsy
Getting married is a big deal. It’s a commitment. And it’s for life.
Are we freaking you out yet?
We’re not going to underplay the significance of getting married, but if you’re more panicked by the idea of planning a wedding, than by the notion of being tied to the one you love for life, then don’t be.
Planning a wedding is the easy part. It’s fun, it’s exciting, and it’s only as stressful as you let it be. Make each decision as they come, try not to be overwhelmed, never compare your wedding to others’ and don’t rush yourself into setting a date too soon (see below!).
And don’t forget, you can always elope!
4. Tell Everyone Your Plans
It’s fine to have some idea of your plans when you announce your engagement. You and your partner may have already discussed a winter wedding, an intimate celebration, or a destination bash, and it’s fine to tell people about your ideas (and manage their expectations from the start!).
But try to avoid divulging any firm details.
Not only do you need to run your desired dates by key people, you may end up changing your mind, not getting the venue you want, or realising your plans aren’t within your budget.
We told everyone we’d be getting hitched in London, but having checked out some venues in both cities, it’s looking more like we’ll marry in Dublin now instead (though that could still change again!).
Avoid having to backtrack, by keeping schtum until you’ve signed your contracts.
5. Commit To Your Bridal Party (Or Your Guest List)
This one can get really tricky, but try not blurting out, “Will you be my bridesmaid,” to all six of your best friends before you’ve even had a chance to pop the bubbly.
Likewise, don’t talk too much about wedding details with your work colleagues if you don’t think they’ll make the cut for your wedding.
Hold off until you’ve sat down with your partner, and worked out your guest list and bridal party, especially if your wedding is a year or two down the line. Friendships can change, budgets may adjust, and it’s always so much lovelier to surprise someone, than disappoint them.
6. Start Booking Vendors
Woah there eager beaver! Okay, so you may want to book the hotel where you and your beau took your first trip away, the photographer your cousin had for her wedding, and the band you heard last week in your favourite bar.
It’s great to have leads, but don’t go signing on the dotted line, and handing over deposits just yet.
Shopping around and getting quotes from lots of suppliers is so important, who knows what great vendors or good deals you could be missing out on?
Even if end up opting for your original lead, you’ll know you’ve chosen them because they were the best.
7. Buy A Dress
Okay, I have to come clean. I very nearly bought a wedding dress, BEFORE I was engaged. Yes, I’m that girl.
I’ve been doing this job for nearly a year now, and in that time, I’ve seen hundreds (probably thousands!) of wedding dresses. But I’ve never been swayed in my picture of my dream dress in my head.
So when I walked into a collection viewing and saw it hanging in front of me, my heart (quite literally) skipped a beat. I felt like buying it off the hanger there and then, without even trying it on.
But here’s the clincher. I’ve never tried on a wedding dress before. I might try on my dream style and it could look awful. Or I could try it on and love it. But there’s a long time between now and my wedding. My tastes could change, trends could change, and my shape could change.
Buying a dress too early or buying the first dress you try on, are mistakes many brides make, and by the time they reach their wedding day, they’re either tired of looking at it, or they’ve seen other dresses since, that may have been “The One”.
Like everything else to do with weddings, don’t rush in!
Bonus Tip! Don’t go straight on a diet when you get engaged either. You’re perfect. That’s why your other half asked you to marry them!
8. Get Braggy
Photo by Paige Winn Photo
I feel like I don’t even need to say this to our Bridal Musings readers, because you guys rock! But I know how an engagement ring can do funny things to a girl (like make you suddenly giddy about things like veil lengths and paper stocks) so just in case…
Don’t let your newly engaged status turn you into the kind of person you and your friends used to dodge at a party.
Don’t divulge the carat size (or price) of your ring, don’t go over the top about how “you’re so relieved you’ll never have to go on a first date ever again”, try be gracious about how “your Dad has said he’ll pay for the whole thing” and don’t act as if your awesome news is the only big thing going on amongst your group of pals.
Gush about how happy you are, go for celebratory cocktails, and tell your buds every detail of him popping the question. Of course your friends are going to be excited for you, but this might start to tire after you make them all try on your ring for the fourth time over brunch!
9. Forget Your Thank Yous
New engagement is a happy, hazy time. I was so totally overwhelmed by how happy everyone was for us. We knew getting engaged would be a big deal for us, but it was so wonderful that our friends made us feel like it was a big deal for them too.
We got countless cards, lots of bottles of bubbly (we didn’t drink them all already, I swear!) and some beautiful gifts for our “bottom drawer”.
Like your wedding, be careful to take note of all your gifts and who gave them to you, (as you get them, so you don’t forget!) and try to send out thank you cards within a couple of weeks.
10. Not Plan an Engagement Party!
You’re engaged! (Cue more squeals!) It’s time to plan a party. No, not your wedding (yet!), your engagement bash!
As we live overseas, we didn’t have one big engagement night, but we did have several smaller celebrations instead (we like to milk it!); a family dinner, drinks with friends, and a night back home with all our oldest pals.
Whether you throw a big party, or just a smaller gathering at home with your friends, make sure you celebrate this special time.
Wedding planning can wait.
Lap up all the love, and enjoy being engaged. After all, it’s pretty awesome!
No idea where to start with wedding planning? Read our crash course for the Newly Engaged.