Just got engaged?

Just got engaged? Here’s 9 steps to help get you started with announcing your engagement

Step one: Tell your immediate crew first

One of the most exciting parts about your engagement is getting to share the news with others and reliving the proposal over and over. First, think about who you need to tell, as it’s good curtesy to tell those closest to you first. This could be through a phone call or face time, sending a photo with a caption such as “I said yes!!!!” or writing out a personalised message about the proposal. If you’d prefer to tell people in person, you might simply flash your new ring, announce it at the dinner table or drop hints about a wedding. There is no right or wrong way to do drop the news – get creative and write down the names of those who you want to hear it from you first. Also be sure to let them know not to spill the tea until you are ready to announce the news publicly.

Step two: Make it public

You might want to let the dust settle a little so that you can enjoy the high before it’s time to share with the world. Whether its a photo or email, social media post or a full blown party, I’d suggest you put some thought into how you want to announce your news! Remember you will only have this moment once, so don’t rush it. You also don’t want to wait too long, as after a couple of weeks/months the magic of the moment will start to fade.

Announcement captions and ideas:

  • “He liked it, so he put a ring on it”
  • “The easiest “Yes” I’ve ever said”
  • “Does this ring make me look engaged?”
  • “The beginning of forever!”
  • “Pop the champagne, I’m changing my name!”
  • “Or simply #shesaidyes!” or “bring on the *insert surname* wedding”

Step three: Plan your engagement party

This is the part where things start to get real. First things first; sit down with your fiancé and start mapping out the following in your I Do Diary. 1) How much would you be willing to fork out for venue costs, corkage, food, drinks and cake, music, decorations etc for an engagement party? 2) How will this budget impact your wedding savings/timeline? 3) How long will it take to save for this budget? 4) Will you have any additional financial support? 5) What features could you not go without?

Venue: Chose a venue to suit both of your desires, personalities/style. Things to consider: Is there close/convenient parking? Is there much background noise? What is the minimum spend or corkage and BYO options? Does it have the size and equipment you need? Is it available on the date you want?

Low Budget: You can certainly get away with a “low key”, minimal costs engagement party by considering the following. 1) Hosting the party yourself or at a friend/relatives house. 2) Alternatively, you could find a venue with no hire costs/minimum spend. You might save money by designing your own invitations & decorations for the party, for example making a welcome sign and purchasing affordable props online like balloons, fairy lights and candles online eg etsy to help add your own touch/theme.

Medium/high Budget: Things can add up quickly – so expect to pay upwards of $500 to several $1000 on average with everything included. If you are considering supplying food, bar tabs or subsidised drinks for your guests, expect to budget even more. Remember – the number of guests invited will determine how much you need to be willing to allocate. I.e. a bar tab for 30 versus 100 guests will be polar opposite, so consider all of these factors first. Depending on your budget you may choose to go all out with decorations, an open bar or even a DJ/band!

Step four: Have an engagement photoshoot

I encourage all couples to arrange a pre-wedding photoshoot if their budget allows. Not only is it a great way to celebrate your engagement and mark this phase of your lives, it is also a great chance to get comfortable in front of a camera, learn how to pose and what angles you both do/don’t like. Think of it like a photography dress rehearsal for the wedding.

Step five: Lock in your engagement venue

Hint: Be sure to bring and take notes in your I Do Diary whilst viewing potential engagement venues. After exploring your options and weighing up costs, date, budget and venue facilities, it’s time to lock in your venue. A good rule of thumb is to allow a minimum of 3 months notice so that people can arrange transport, child care, accommodation etc. Some venues will require a deposit, while others just need a name, so be sure to commit to the booking and secure the date early.

Step six: Select your guest list

Think of your engagement party as a pre-wedding festivity. Ideally, this means inviting people you might expect to come to your wedding. Why? For one – the list gets very far fetched if you try to invite everyone you work with, played sport or grew up with as opposed to just those who are close to you and actively part of your lives .. Two – If they aren’t close enough (to the both of you) to invite to your wedding, you don’t need to invite them to the engagement. You should start by thinking about your wedding guest list and work backward. 1) Roughly how large do you want/expect your wedding to be? 2) How many extended/distant relatives do you wish to include? 3) Are your guests all based in the same location? Are there barriers to guests attending or do you need to give greater notice to overseas guests? 4) Are you considering a micro-wedding, destination wedding or elopement? Do you intend to keep your engagement close and intimate like your wedding? Alternatively, you may chose to do the opposite, and use your engagement as a chance to celebrate your marriage with those you know won’t be coming – but be sure to keep this messaging clear so as not to disappoint.

Start by drafting your guest list into your I Do Diary to gauge an idea of numbers. When considering your guest lists, have a think about what’s considered good etiquette? Have you represented both sides of your friends/family? Did you include plus ones or children/babies? This is entirely up to you but make sure to let you tell your guests. Does the date suit the majority of invitees? Is there any VIP’s that can’t make that date and you couldn’t celebrate without them?

Step seven: Send out the invite

Once you’ve finalised your guest list, you need to start informing them. You might start casually talking to guests about your proposed dates and then be sure to follow this up with a formal invite. Put some thought into this as how you chose to invite your guests will set the tone for your entire wedding. Use your I Do Diary to brainstorm some of the key considerations below:

  • Theme e.g. modern, rural, rustic
  • Mode: Electronic versus paper
  • Channels of messaging eg social media, phone or email address
  • How guests can RSVP eg a QR code or link to web page
  • Key details needed on the invite
  • Expectations regarding gifts

Electronic/paperless invites:

http://Paperlesspost.com

Etsy.com

Greenvelope.com

NZ Print Companies

Vistaprint.com

optimalprint.co.nz

smittenwithlove.com

Step eight: Prepare, prepare, prepare

Don’t leave things for the last minute. Here are some things you might need to prepare prior tot he day;

  • Ask those you’d like to do a speech. Request they keep it brief & save the emotional/soppy speech for the wedding. Also a brief “thank you for coming” speech from the couple is a nice gesture at the party – and jot down any specific people you might need to acknowledge.
  • Start accumulating decorations – tea light candles, banners, fairy lights, balloons etc (and chose a budget for decorations alone)
  • Select your music – whether it’s making playlist or booking a band, consider all of your options
  • Arrange personalised touches e.g. photo/video collage, photo-booth etc
  • Create a rough itinerary/timeline – arrival, speeches, food/cake and select beverages.
  • Arrange any other formalities e.g. bar tab, party games/hosts, thank you’s, wishing well or party favours (jot this down into the planning section in your I Do Diary)
  • Welcome sign – even if it’s home made, it’s nice to highlight what the event is really about.

Step nine: Delegate and ask for help

If you have/haven’t selected your bridal parties yet, you’ll have a good idea who these people are likely to be. Ask for their help with some of the planning e.g. the morning of, the venue set up, splitting up of roles e.g baking, games or even blowing up balloons. You may ask them to to charge with games or couples questions such as “the shoe game“.

Additional engagement party tips?

1) Supply wedding related games or activities to create the atmosphere. This could include a “date ideas” jar or a “message to the couple”

2) Ensure you have enough time and man power to set up the venue before guests arrive – you will need 1-2 hours at least to set up key features without the mad rush

3) Don’t forget to take plenty of pics – have a dedicated “photo taker” who can capture candid photos of you and your guests throughout the night

4) Create a polaroid station + guest book for friends to sign – it’s great fun and a perfect momento

5) Be present – you will feel pulled in many directions so don’t forget to embrace & enjoy the moment.

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