This is a fabulous start to 2022 for you, and I’m sure you’re feeling all kinds of things right now – excited, daunted, overwhelmed – and that’s perfectly normal. But as we still seem to be in the middle of a certain global pandemic, 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, but 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 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 over the next few days, but perhaps think about how you want that announcement to go and when you want to share it.
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 600+ venues for you to peruse on our Venue Finder, but we also have plethora of expert advice waiting to be explored!
Under ‘Planing Advice’ in the main menu, you’ll find our Venue Search Tips, Planning Tips by Katrina Otter Weddings and The Wedding Coordinators, and a list of Suppliers We Love to work with. If you wanted to get a head start on the Gift List, then you’ll also discover our personal fave – The Wedding Shop.
On the blog you’ll discover inspiration and advice galore in a beautiful browsable feed.
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 in the archives of our planning page including ‘Planning Your Wedding Budget‘, ‘Cutting & Staying On Budget‘ and ‘10 Reasons Why Your Wedding Budget is Your Best Friend‘.
I’ve also written a guide to ‘Wedding Venue Budgets‘ and you’ll also find a helpful budget spreadsheet here to boot. Because even with all the wedding planning apps now available, you will still have a trusted spreadsheet on the go.
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 wedding 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’ve 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 venues/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.
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!
Look out for upcoming open days and showcases too! It’s a great way to explore your venue in more detail, and they might even have some of their incredible suppliers there to chat to.
If you can’t currently visit your shortlisted venues, or you perhaps feel a little uncomfortable visiting anywhere right now, then many venues are still offering virtual venue tours over Zoom or WhatsApp so still get in touch to see if this is an option.
2021 was another 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 year.
As for weddings, last year marked the return of celebrations as we know and love them but with so many postponements from 2020, it’s been a busy few months for venues and suppliers!
If you were witness to your friends and family having to postpone their own celebrations, and you would prefer to seize the day in 2022, there’s absolutely still time and availability across some venues. We saw an influx of brand new venues hitting the scene last year and they will have flexibility on dates.
When reaching out to venues and suppliers over the next few days and weeks – be patient. In a normal world, you would expect a venue to get back to your enquiry within a few hours / a day. But this has been a time like no other, so I urge everyone reading this to have a little patience right now.
Social media inboxes are messy things, so don’t be tempted to message venues or suppliers there – it’s super hard for them to a) respond or b) keep track of their couples and enquiries. Instead, head to their website and really explore – do they have their pricing and brochure available to you to view first? If you can’t find what you’re looking for, or you love what you see and what to know if they’re available then message them through their desired comms – this could be an online form or an email.
THE MICRO WEDDING
In 2020/21 we saw the rise of the ‘Micro’ wedding and whilst this type of wedding isn’t anything new, it was certainly embraced at a time when guest lists were dramatically reduced.
Pre-covid, small elopements or intimate weddings were growing in popularity and I believe there is still be a place for these romantic and intimate weddings heading into 2022. If you think you’d like to explore the idea of a small wedding then these posts might help:
After the last two years, I think we’ve all come to realise just how important a bit of self-care is!
‘Self-care’ will mean something different for everyone, so whether it’s booking in a spa treatment, going for a run, seeing friends or family, spending time on your own, or booking in a trip to look forward to – prioritise self-care for you and your partner throughout your engagement. You’ll be thankful you took those moments to decompress and come together.
ENJOY THE BUBBLE!
You don’t need to have planned your whole wedding in the first 24 hours of being engaged! 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 find that venue.
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