So you just got engaged! You’re brimming with love, joy, excitement, and anticipation for the wedding day of your dreams. But, if you’re like most newly engaged couples, there’s likely also a small part of you that’s thinking: Now what?
It’s totally normal to feel unsure or even a little overwhelmed about things to do after engagement and before marriage to make this fleeting time as special and memorable as possible. We wrote this guide to help you do it.
The excitement surrounding your engagement can make it tempting to dive right into the wedding planning process. But your engagement isn’t just a precursor to your wedding day—it’s a unique chapter in your love story all of its own.
Even if you intend to have a short engagement, there are some seriously compelling reasons you should step back and savor these moments while you’re in them. Here are some of our favorites:
Your engagement offers the perfect opportunity to pause and appreciate the journey you’ve been on as a couple so far. After all, everything you’ve been through before this, from your favorite memories to the more challenging times you got through together, has led you to this decision to spend your entire lives together. Pretty darn amazing!
It’s worthwhile as a couple to reflect and even marvel at this journey together, reflecting on everything that’s already happened before you move into a new season of marriage.
Taking time to savor your engagement means you can create and capture special memories during this time of excitement. Decades from now, you’ll be able to look back at all the celebration and anticipation, remembering not only your wedding day itself but how happy and joyful you felt leading up to it.
Engagement isn’t just about planning your wedding. It’s also about nurturing your bond as a couple. By savoring this period, you can deepen your connection and reinforce the foundation of love and trust that you’ve built together, making it even stronger to support your marriage.
You can do this by intentionally spending quality time together focusing on your future—your goals, planned timelines, hopes, dreams, and more.
A well-spent engagement paves the way for smoother wedding preparation. Savoring your engagement provides you with the opportunity to gather your thoughts, establish priorities, and consider what truly matters to both of you.
It’s a chance to prepare yourselves mentally and emotionally for the exciting but demanding journey of planning a wedding.
In the rush of daily life, it’s easy to forget to pay attention to what you’re experiencing right now rather than just looking toward the future. Savoring your engagement encourages you to slow down and be present in this very moment—which so often gets forgotten as just an “in-between” phase—and enjoy the unique emotions and experiences that come with it.
Your entire engagement will no doubt be filled with excitement, but there is nothing quite like those first hours, days, and weeks right after you pop the question or say “yes!” to your partner. When you can, take a moment (or several) to look around and observe this amazing time, letting yourself feel the full scale of your happiness.
Our recommendations: Be fully present in the moment with your partner, take lots of pictures, and be intentional about how you want to share the news with your loved ones (in other words: make memories out of those moments, too).
This step’s less romantic but still essential. No one wants to think about losing their engagement ring, but accidents do happen. Having insurance on your ring can give you peace of mind. Reach out to your insurance provider or look into specialized jewelry insurance to insure your ring right away.
That way, if it goes missing, or a diamond falls out, or your ring experiences another sort of mishap, you have protection to repair or replace it easily. Today, nearly 60% of people who take out insurance on their engagement rings end up having to use it, so don’t take any chances!
After sharing your engagement news, consider hosting an engagement party to celebrate with your nearest and dearest. This doesn’t have to be an extravagant affair if that’s not your thing—it can also be a simple and small gathering where you toast to your engagement and share the excitement with the people you love most.
Engagement celebrations are a perfect opportunity for your families and friends to meet (if they haven’t already) and for everyone to get to know each other better.
Capture the magic of your engagement with a professional engagement photo shoot. An engagement photo session not only documents this special time but also allows you to get comfortable in front of the camera before your wedding day.
Plus, you’ll have stunning photos to use for save-the-dates, invitations, or simply to have as keepsakes for the two of you. Choose a location that holds meaning for both of you—like the place where you had your first date or somewhere you spend time together often.
Hire a professional photographer to take the photos. They can help you make sure you get shots you’ll love. It’s also a way to vet a potential photographer and ensure you fit together.
Many wedding photographers offer engagement shoots as part of their bundled pricing for wedding day packages.
Amidst all the excitement and planning, it’s important to take time to talk about the “big stuff”—AKA the important topics you need to be on the same page about before you officially commit to spending your lives together. This includes things like long-term goals, where you’ll live, finances, whether you want kids (and how many you’ll have), religious and political values, and more.
As an engaged couple, it’s likely you’ve already had many of these conversations and feel like you’re on the same page about them. But now is the time to make sure.
Even if you don’t want to dive right into wedding planning, it’s important to know your general desired timeframe. This impacts how long you can wait to start planning, your budget, and other aspects of the planning process.
For example: If you get engaged in the fall and want a fall wedding, you only have about a year to plan (unless you want to wait a full two years). Since fall is also the busiest season for weddings, you’ll likely need to book the big stuff, like your venue and vendors, sooner rather than later.
On the other hand, if you get engaged in the summer and plan to get married in the off-season months (like January or February), you can likely wait a month or two before you get into any planning.
Once you have a timeframe in mind, it’s time to start envisioning your dream wedding. Begin by discussing the overall style, theme, and size of your wedding. Do you want an intimate garden wedding, a glamorous black-tie affair, or a rustic barn celebration?
Take inspiration from your personal tastes, interests, and shared experiences as a couple. Use tools like vision boarding to help you capture the full essence of your wedding vision, and use online sources like Pinterest and social media to help you get inspo.
As you refine your vision, it will guide you through the planning process and help you make decisions that align with you as a couple and what you want for your big day.
Brides and grooms exchanging wedding day gifts the morning of their wedding is one of my favorite traditions to capture as a photographer. It’s a chance to buy something thoughtful that you know your significant other will love and can even wear on the day, like a special pair of earrings, a watch, a handkerchief, and the like.
Write Love Letters for the Morning of Your Wedding
In addition to purchased gifts, exchanging love letters on the morning of your wedding is a beautiful way to stay connected during those anticipatory hours while you’re waiting for the ceremony to begin. Writing the letter during your engagement is ideal—you can put words to how you’re feeling in this unique time in your life and record them for keeps on paper.
Engagement is such a unique time in your love story, so it’s wonderful to have a tangible keepsake of those feelings to hang onto even after you begin your marriage.
Wedding planning can be exciting, but it can also feel overwhelming. To avoid burnout and enjoy the process, make sure to take breaks and prioritize self-care.
Whether it’s a weekend getaway or just a cozy evening at home, spend quality time together during your engagement without discussing wedding planning or details. This will help you stay connected as a couple and recharge for the exciting journey ahead.
Every step we covered in this article is important. But as a photographer, I can tell you that capturing your engagement excitement with a professional photo session is one you should never leave out. There is truly nothing like the love, joy, and anticipation you feel during this exciting season of your lives!
At Perennial, we make it our priority to document it for you in its most authentic form, and in a way that’s true to your unique love story.
Book a call with us today to learn more.