Firstly a huge congratulations from me, me being Emma Hla the founder of this platform you find yourself on. This is a fabulous start to 2021 for you, but I’m sure right about now you’re feeling all kinds of things – excited, daunted, overwhelmed – and that’s all perfectly normal. But throw in a global pandemic and it might all be feeling a little extra.
Getting engaged is a life-changing moment (as it should be) and to help navigate you through these first steps, especially during this time, I’ve written a handy little guide below. Hopefully it will help, hopefully it will make you giggle and most importantly I hope it will make you take a breath and really enjoy what’s to come.
Shall we start?
Tell your family & friends
First things first… you should probably tell people you’re engaged!
I remember calling my mum within 5 minutes of finding myself engaged. I think I was just so ruddy excited and couldn’t quite believe what had happened I just wanted to share the news! Only looking back, I kind of wish I’d taken a moment to just really enjoy being present with my husband-to-be.
So yes, absolutely get the news out to friends and family, but perhaps think about how you want that announcement to go and when you want to share it.
Get a manicure (if that’s your jam)
Now, depending on your current tier this might be a DIY job! But, everyone is going to want to see your ring… whether that’s a flash over a glass of celebratory virtual bubbles or a public post on social media. I also guarantee that you’ll be staring at your own hands every 2 minutes, so you may as well treat yourself to a lick of paint.
If I’m honest, sorting my mitts out was one of the first things I did when I got engaged and there’s no shame. My only tip would be don’t think you have to do ‘bridal’ blush, go for whatever colour you normally wear and flash that rock ’til your hearts content.
Bookmark our platform
Unless you’re a wedding planner or event organiser, this is probably going to be the very first time you plan a party this big. So I’m guessing you’re probably going to need some help along the way and this is where we come in!
Coco Wedding Venues is a pretty ace place to start your planning journey, we have a wonderful collection of 500+ venues for you to peruse on our Venue Finder, but we also have plethora of expert advice waiting to be explored!
On the blog you’ll discover inspiration and advice galore in a beautiful browsable feed.
Too soon for another plug?
We’ve taken everything we do on this platform and wrapped it up into a perfect digital magazine-book-hybrid. The Annual is jam-packed with beautiful inspiration and helpful topics, guiding you through every step of the planning process.
You can find out more here.
The first wedding planning headache you’re probably going to experience.
No one likes to talk about money, but it’s essential to have this chat before you do anything else planning wise. Our Resident Wedding Planner Katrina Otter Weddings has some fab budget advice over on our planning page including ‘Planning Your Wedding Budget‘, ‘Cutting & Staying On Budget‘ and ‘10 Reasons Why Your Wedding Budget is Your Best Friend‘.
Pick your wedding party
Let’s face it… when you announce your engagement everyone will want to know a) are they invited and b) do they have a key role? However pause right there! Don’t feel pressured into making any decisions too soon. Yes, it’s lovely that your friends and family want to be a part of your big day, but it’s also important you take the time to make the right decisions now to avoid any future headaches.
I think choosing your bridal party is also very much tied into your budget as you’ll no doubt want to kit them out in some fancy gear or put them up for a night to two at your chosen venue. So once you’re had this sensible money chat then work out who you want to be standing by your side on your biggest of days. We have a great guide to ‘Modern Day Wedding Party Roles & Responsibilities‘ right here.
Get on Pinterest & Instagram
How people planned a wedding before Pinterest is beyond me. I married in 2013 and therefore spent most of 2012 down a Pinterest-shaped rabbit hole. It’s a brilliant source of inspiration but please remember it’s just that! What you’re seeing will no doubt be beautiful styled shoots and weddings where the budget might be a little out of reach, so by all means create moodboards to share with your chosen suppliers but always be guided by your budget about what can and can’t be achieved.
Instagram is my fave and it’s a place where you can easily engage directly with wedding suppliers as well as see their latest weddings and projects. However don’t just scroll through all the pretty images, really read the captions to ascertain whether the images the supplier is sharing are really their own work. It’s an important point I think and one which could influence your decision making when searching for suppliers.
Choose a date
I don’t mean you need to choose an exact date right now, but I definitely think it’s important to think about the seasons, how this might affect your budget and any key dates that are important to you or your family.
I think if we’d spent longer than 5 minutes on this subject I would have suggested a beautiful autumnal wedding in October (the best month to marry if you ask me!) but instead we ended up getting married on the hottest day in August just 15 days before my husbands birthday. Our first planning fail and one I remind him of each anniversary.
So in summary here – think carefully about your date.
Start the venue search
The venue search is all kinds of stressful because there’s so much pressure to find the ‘perfect’ venue, so I’ll let you into a secret that will hopefully help prevent some of that stress… There’s no such thing as a ‘perfect’ venue.
Yes, I said it. Best to get it out there I think.
Venue hunting is hard and quite an emotional first purchase for your wedding. And whilst we adore every single venue in our collection, you still need to be prepared for compromises, negotiating and possibly some hiccups along the way. We’ve written about this a number of times across this website but you can find some basics on our Venue Search Tips page and plenty more in The Annual.
My best piece of advice is to really think about what’s important to you on the day? What do you need from your venue? Supplier flexibility? Accommodation for all your guests? Good transport links? An hour from London? Narrow it down to your essentials and nice-to-haves. Then have fun planning your romantic road trips and get out and visit some beautiful venues if you can!
If you can’t currently visit your shortlisted venues due to tier restrictions, or you perhaps feel a little uncomfortable visiting anywhere right now, then many venues are offering virtual venue tours over Zoom or WhatsApp so still get in touch to see if this is an option.
Let’s chat Covid-19 shall we?
2020 has been a difficult year for many, so I really hope you and the ones you love are healthy and happy as we head into a brand new chapter.
As for weddings, it’s been a very hard few months for the wedding sector and you’ll no doubt come across some upsetting or hard-to-read posts during your research, because for some the struggle and devastation has been very real. From couples postponing their dream weddings (sometimes multiple times) to suppliers and venues losing almost a year’s worth of income.
We definitely don’t want to bring the mood down for you, because you have every right to feel excited about the future! So we’ve got a feature coming up soon about how to plan with confidence, but for now, why not take a look at some of these articles that might help:
The Micro Wedding
2020 was the year of the ‘Micro’ wedding and whilst this type of wedding isn’t anything new, it was certainly embraced in a year where guest lists were dramatically reduced.
Pre-covid, small elopements or intimate weddings were growing in popularity and I believe post-covid there will still be a place for these romantic and intimate weddings. If you think you’d like to explore the idea of a small wedding then these posts might help:
Enjoy the bubble!
Now all of the above will no doubt happen… But it doesn’t need to happen in the first 24 hours! Or even the first week, month or year! The key thing to getting engaged is to ensure you enjoy your own journey and enjoy one another at this precious moment in your relationship.
Take your time planning your celebration and remain in that just-engaged bubble for as long as you want my friend. We’ll be here waiting to help when you want to nail point number 9…
Refine your wedding venue search by location, capacity, type, and style.Visit Venue Finder
Planning advice, real wedding edits, and venue showcases to inspire you.View Blog
Visit the Event Diary to find out about upcoming wedding venue open days.View Latest