Jul 27, 2023

Just Engaged? 5 Essential Steps to Take Next!

Gorgeous diamond engagement ring featured on real couple kissing in the desert

Congratulations! You’ve taken the leap and said “yes” to the love of your life. Now that you’re engaged, it’s time to embark on an exciting journey towards your dream wedding day. Planning a wedding can be a delightful and overwhelming experience, but fear not! As an Arizona Wedding Photographer, I’m here to guide you through five crucial actions to take after getting engaged to ensure a smooth and memorable wedding planning process.

  1. Discuss Your Values and Set a Budget

After you’ve soaked up the “just engaged” excitement and energy and before diving headfirst into wedding planning, take a moment to sit down with your partner and have an open conversation about your values, priorities, and expectations for the big day. Discuss your vision for the wedding, whether it’s an intimate gathering or a grand celebration. Understanding each other’s preferences will lay the foundation for making informed decisions throughout the planning process. It also will help your vendors to make your dreams come to life. For example, in my storytelling style of photography, I focus my lens primarily on the who and what is important to you both throughout the day. Some people want lots of styling photos (florals, design, etc.) and other people want to see their guests engaging in the event. Whatever things matter most to you, it’s essential to know them from jump!

Setting a realistic budget is essential to avoid overspending and financial stress. Determine the total amount you are comfortable spending on the wedding and allocate funds to different elements like the venue, vendors, catering, attire, and more. Remember, a well-planned budget will enable you to focus on what truly matters and make the most of your special day…. another reason it’s essential to narrow down your values!

Note: check out my podcast to hear other vendors and brides give input on value clarification

  1. Book the Perfect Venue

Selecting the right venue sets the tone for your entire wedding celebration. Start your search early to secure your desired date and location. Consider factors like the number of guests, accessibility, and the ambiance that aligns with your wedding theme. It’s important to note that you cannot book your other vendors without the venue/date locked in!

Visit multiple venues, ask questions, and compare packages to find one that fits within your budget and meets your vision. Whether it’s a romantic garden, an elegant ballroom, or a rustic barn, finding the ideal venue early will ensure you have enough time to plan the rest of the details around it. Here are some of my blogs that can help you find the Arizona venue you dream of: Top 10 Outdoor Wedding Venues in Arizona and Best Wedding Venues in AZ.

  1. Secure Your Day-of Vendors

Now that you have your dream venue locked in, it’s time to book your day-of vendors, including the photographer, videographer, and wedding planner. These professionals play a significant role in capturing and orchestrating your special day flawlessly. For couples that book with me, I add you to a Facebook group that is full of wedding planning resources including vendor recommendations to make your searching so much easier!

  • Photographer: Your wedding photos will be cherished for a lifetime, so invest in a skilled photographer who can capture the essence of your love story. Review their portfolios, discuss your preferred photography style with your partner, and ensure their availability on your wedding date!
  • Videographer: Hiring a videographer allows you to relive your wedding day, capturing not only visuals but also emotions and sounds. Look for a videographer who can tell your unique love story through cinematic storytelling. As a wedding photographer, many couples and friends have asked me, “Is a videographer worth it?” To me, the answer is a resounding yes. It captures the feelings, sounds, and vibe of the wedding in a totally different way than photos do. We also used The Motion Books to ‘print’ our video in an album format (not affiliated).
  • Wedding Planner: A wedding planner can be your greatest ally throughout the planning process. They can help manage timelines, handle logistics, and recommend reliable vendors that suit your preferences and budget. If a full-service wedding planner isn’t within your budget, consider hiring a day-of coordinator to ensure a stress-free wedding day. For details on Why You Need a Wedding Planner & Who I Recommend, read the blog!
  1. Create Your Guest List and Send Save-the-Dates

Your guest list will significantly impact other aspects of your wedding planning (such as your budget and venue), so work together with your partner to compile a comprehensive list of family and friends you’d like to invite. Keep in mind the capacity of your chosen venue and your budget constraints when finalizing the guest list! Also note that the general “rule” for gauging guest number is that 80% of people invited will say yes, but if you’re planning a destination wedding that number is more like 60%.

After finalizing the guest list, you’ll send out save-the-date cards to give your guests ample time to plan for your wedding. Save-the-dates can be electronic or physical, depending on your preference and typically include photos to show off that you’re newly engaged! Flash that ring, bb! Ensure the date, location, and a simple “formal invitation to follow” message are included. For input on my absolute favorite calligrapher, read the blog and listen to the podcast with Freja Creative.

  1. Start Brainstorming Your Wedding Theme and Style

Let your personalities shine through by choosing a wedding theme and style that reflects your relationship. From vintage elegance to rustic charm, there are countless themes to explore. Once you’ve settled on a theme, it will serve as a guiding principle for selecting decor, flowers, attire, and other details. This really is the fun part once you get engaged and the dust settles, planning how you want your wedding to feel.

Gather inspiration from wedding websites, Pinterest boards, and magazines. Share your ideas with your partner and collaborate on creating a cohesive and unforgettable wedding aesthetic.


Congratulations, lovebirds! Getting engaged is a wonderful milestone that marks the beginning of an incredible journey together. As you move forward with your wedding planning, remember to communicate openly with your partner, set a budget, book a beautiful venue, secure your day-of vendors, and brainstorm your wedding theme. Of course, I’d love to chat with you about your wedding photographer! You can get in touch here.

With these essential steps, you’ll be well on your way to creating a magical wedding day that reflects your love and commitment to one another. Happy planning!

Gorgeous diamond engagement ring featured on real couple kissing in the desert

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