So You Just Got Engaged….. What do I Do Next?

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Congratulations on your engagement! Now, are you ready to plan your wedding? Or are you overwhelmed, confused, and a bit clueless on where to even begin? With the amount of pressure that can be put on planning the perfect wedding, focusing on each and every detail, and the expense of even a small-scale celebration, it can be difficult to act on whatever ideas you have, let alone orchestrate the entire event. Outlined below is a detailed list to help you plan your wedding, dividing the tasks into what needs to be a priority and what can wait to have your full attention.

First Steps:
These tasks should help your form a basic idea of what you would like your wedding to be and encourage you to start thinking about the larger decisions that need to be made.

  • Set a date and time (This may be driven by venue availability)

  • Plan a budget. What areas would you like to cut costs and where do you feel compelled to splurge?

  • Find and book a venue for the ceremony and reception

  • Hire a photographer for your engagement photo session. This is also a great way to try out a photographer to see if you’d like to hire them to photograph your wedding!

  • Consider hiring a wedding planner

  • Wedding styles and colors- check out Pinterest and browse away!

  • Look into wedding insurance

  • Create and send out save the date cards

  • Find your dress and accessories

  • Consider the kind of vendors you will want for:

  • Caterer

  • Meet with/Interview Photographers/videographers

  • Officiant?

  • Make sure everything you look into you get in writing!

Second Steps:
Now that you have the basics and a budget, it’s time to get down to business.

  • Create your guest list

  • Decide your wedding party members

  • Talk to possible vendors (get it all in writing!)

  • Decide on your flowers

  • Do a tasting for your wedding cake

  • Hire the DJ/entertainment

  • Write the wording for your invitations

  • Shop for bridesmaids and flower girl dresses- instruct the attendants on how to order them.

  • Create the gift registry

  • Arrange hotel rooms for out of town guests and yourself on the wedding night

  • Arrange and book the transportation

  • Make bridal shower and bachelorette party plans with whoever is hosting yours

  • Think about the honeymoon

Third Steps:
You are deep in the process and should start committing to your plans.

  • Book the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner arrangements

  • Rehearsal dinner guest list

  • Child care arrangements for guests’ kids

  • Reserve necessary party rentals and linens

  • Wedding favors for guests

  • Shop for the men’s formal wear

  • Finalize the following:

  • The vendors

  • Guest list with accurate addresses

  • Invitation wording along with programs, menus, place cards, and thank you cards

  • Ceremony readings and vows

  • Menu, beverage, and catering details

  • Timeline of the reception (toasts, cake cutting, photos, etc.)

  • Honeymoon plans and travel documents

  • Makeup and hair trial runs. Book your stylists

  • Shop for wedding rings

  • Equipment such as chairs, tables, decorations that will not come with the venues

  • Entertainment and/or music.

Fourth Steps:
Things are moving quickly now and your big day is closer than it seems!

  • Mail out invitations and record RSVPs and meal choices

  • Talk to vendors to confirm dates, deposits, and details

  • Marriage licenses and name change documents

  • Begin dress fittings

  • Schedule dance lessons with your fiancé

  • Check that the wedding party is has their appropriate attire

  • Write out thank you cards for shower gifts and early wedding gifts

Fifth Steps:
You are almost done planning!

  • Send out rehearsal dinner invitations

  • Finalize and confirm the following:

  • Readings and vows with the officiant

  • Shot list with your wedding photographer and videographer

  • Song list for ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception

  • Timeline for reception and who is giving what toasts

  • Wedding night and honey moon accommodations

  • Obtain marriage documents.

  • Pick up wedding rings and check the engravings

  • If traditional, do you have something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue?

  • Guest books, toasting flutes, cake servers, and unity candle

  • Buy gifts for wedding party and parents of bride and groom

  • Final dress fitting

  • Get the last RSVPs

Sixth Steps:
Everything should be falling into place!

  • Give caterer and venues final guest counts

  • Arrange seating and place cards

  • Pick up gown

  • Confirm timelines for arrival, ceremony, and reception

  • Put together bridal emergency kit

  • Check the weather, make sure venue is prepared for all cases

  • Start honeymoon packing’

Seventh Steps:
The Day Before

  • Make sure everything is packed (especially the rings and license)

  • Figure out tips and final payment plans, have them separated, labeled, and ready to be handed out

  • Make sure there is someone responsible for packing the gifts in the car

  • Make sure there is someone to return the groom’s tuxedo and other rentals the day after the wedding

  • Rehearsal and dinner

  • Go to bed early


Eight Steps:
Wedding DayBudget plenty of time to get ready. Stay on schedule!

  • Greet everyone, thank them for coming

  • Deep breaths. Take it in. appreciate the day you spent so long planning

Ninth Steps

  • Write and send thank you cards

  • Complete your registry and return any duplicate gifts

  • Have your dress cleaned and preserved

  • Schedule a meeting with your photographer to view your photos in person, select your album, wall prints/artwork and other heirloom products.

Lumin Amore Wedding Photography is an engagement and wedding photography studio based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (“Lumin Amore” means “The Light of Love” in Italian.) Our photographers have an eye for capturing the light of your love story through striking photography. We assist in planning how photography will fit into your busy wedding day and recommend ways to display and preserve those once-in-a-lifetime moments with unique signature albums and classic, museum-quality photo-artwork that can inspire your family generations to come. Visit for more information.