Sweet photo of the bride and the groom before the ceremony
Photo: Megan Clouse

So you're newly engaged. Congratulations! Welcome to one of the most exciting times in your life! However, chances are that after the initial glee subsided, a whole lot of questions took its place. Here are six initial steps that will help you start your engagement off right:

1. Don't rush picking a date. It's totally tempting to want to circle a day in red on the calendar right away, but there are so many factors to consider. Make sure you pick a date that works with your family members (you probably don't want the same anniversary as your new in-laws, right?), and if you can, also stay flexible so you can get the venue you really want.

2.  Pick out your free wedding website. This tool is super simple to design and just may become your new wedding planning best friend. With the right wedding website, you can add all the essential details of your wedding day and start communicating with your guests (and sharing your registry information), stat.

3.  Before you become really attached to something for your wedding, talk it out with your spouse-to-be. Before you start dreaming of eloping on a tropical beach, you should probably make sure that he doesn't consider inviting his 15 cousins a non-negotiable. Before you set your heart on a horse-drawn carriage you should probably make sure he isn't deathly afraid of horses, and so on. In the wedding planning game, adaptability is your best resource 

4.  Not to be totally self-serving, but now is the time to check out blogs and search for ideas. There will be a time when you should stop for fear of inspiration overload, but that will happen later. In addition to this blog, we have a couple of cool features to browse: our new e-mag and our ideas section.  And of course, there is always much fun to be had on our Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter accounts.

5. Focus on a couple of vendors right away. Venues, wedding planners, and photographers book really early, especially if you want to get married during busy season (summer for most of the country, late spring/early fall for the South).  You don't need to start thinking about smaller details like favors and shoes and passed appetizers yet.  Ask your recently married friends for referrals, do your research, and select these major vendors first.

6. Do not let your engagement overshadow your relationship.  Of course you will only want to talk about peonies vs. dahlias for the next year. Of course. But we're thinking that he may not. Remember that this process is just about planning an event, and keep the prize in mind: marriage. Focus on strengthening your relationship during this time. Go out on plenty of dates and talk about anything but wedding planning.

Congratulations (again). We can't wait to see how your big day turns out!