You're Engaged... Now What? Answers to Popular Questions

Discover answers to the top six questions couples ask immediately following the proposal.

Newly engaged couples often have some of the same concerns as they start out on their wedding-planning journey. The proposal was the ultimate surprise, announcing it to family and friends has been a blast, but now what?

real wedding photo fall wedding at the venetian in new jersey emerald cut platinum white gold engagement ring lily of the valley white rose
Photo: Richard Anthony Photography

Newly engaged couples often have some of the same concerns as they start out on their wedding-planning journey. The proposal was the ultimate surprise, announcing it to family and friends has been a blast, but now what? Learn more on how to handle the first steps of being engaged, so that the process does not become overwhelming.

Bride and groom engaged surprise proposal with i do balloons gold

Photo by Laura Grier for Beautiful Day Photography; Wedding Planner: Linda Howard Events

Who should we hire first?

After you select your venue and the date for your wedding, I suggest hiring a professional wedding planner (see why to hire a wedding planner). This will make your experience much easier and significantly more enjoyable. They will assist you in selecting your florist, your entertainment, and your photography team, as well as help you decide on the many details that come along with coordinating a celebration. Vendors are usually booked one year prior to the event. To avoid missing out on contracting the people you have your heart set on, make hiring your preferred professionals a top priority.

Who should receive save-the-date cards?

If you want a high attendance rate at your wedding, visit a stationer or go online to select a custom save-the-date card that reflects your personality and style. The cards should be mailed seven months prior to your wedding. Conversely, if you are worried that your guest list is too large, you might want to instead spread the word with a phone call or email and send your actual invitations out 11 weeks prior to the wedding date.

What if we have to trim the guest list?

This is the one event where you are likely sharing the guest list with others. If you are sharing the list four ways, for example, the parents of the bride, the parents of the groom, the bride, and the groom, attempt to divide the list fairly. Begin by having everyone create an “A-list” and then a “B-list.” Family and dearest friends first, and then hopefully there will be room for others that you would love to have with you. If one part of the family is hosting the event, they might have a few more guests on their list than the other side. If the families are sharing the costs, it should be divided equally.

Do we need to provide a “plus one” for all guests?

Though an invitee may appreciate it, it is not required to provide a guest (or wedding plus one) for every person you invite. If the couple is not married, engaged, or living together, you don’t need to feel the pressure to offer a “plus-one.” Of course, over time, if the relationship becomes more serious, then absolutely extend the invitation to the significant other. When addressing the envelope of the invitation to the couple, make certain to write each of their full names – do not use the word “guest.”

What’s the best way to include my groom in the planning?

If your fiancé doesn't have spare time to help with planning, it is still important to make him feel involved. There is plenty for him to do! Have him attend the first meeting with your planner, the entertainment company, your photographer, videographer, and wedding officiant. He might enjoy the food tasting at your venue and selecting the flavors of the wedding cake. He can also decide on clothing to be worn by the groomsmen and what gift he would like to present to them to say “thank you” for being a part of the day. Since the groom’s parents traditionally host the rehearsal dinner, he can play a primary role in deciding where to host the event and also take on the responsibility of making arrangements for the honeymoon.

What if the groom and I disagree on the style of celebration?

Going from being a couple in love to planning a wedding is a huge step. This is just the beginning of sharing your ideas and tastes. If your parents are hosting the wedding, they might have their own ideas of how they want to celebrate your day. Share your vision, work together, and enjoy the process. If the bride and groom are hosting the wedding, each party should listen to what is important to their partner.

Emotionally, financially, and aesthetically, it will be your first step in working together and appreciating one another’s thoughts. Keep your sense of humor, enjoy being engaged, and remember that your love for each other is more important than worrying about the details!