Probably the first thing a couple does when they get engaged is relish the feeling of commitment. Treasure this.

But pretty soon, there are some action items that need to be taken care of.

You need to tell your parents and his, preferably both of you together. Traditionally, the bride’s parents are told first, but this is not a requirement any more.

It’s a really good idea to purchase a journal. You’re going to have tons of memories in the next few months, and a journal is a way to keep those memories alive years after the wedding is over.

Have an engagement party. This doesn’t have to be over-the-top, but you will want to let your friends in on the celebration. Along with the engagement party, have announcements printed in local newspapers, mail announcements to friends and family, and create an engagement website.

Set a date as soon as possible. You’ll feel more “engaged” when you have what Dr. Laura likes to refer to as “a ring and a date.”

You’ve got to set a tone for the wedding. Is it going to be formal or informal? Are you going to have a religious or secular ceremony?

Also, you need to set the parameters for budget. If you and your fiancé are paying the bill, you need to look at what you can realistically afford. Think about your long term financial goals and decide what is really important to you. If someone else is sharing the bill, you need to talk to them frankly about what their limits are – and respect them.

You need to choose your attendants and get them involved in supporting you right away. There are likely some friends or relatives who you “must” choose, but where you can, select people who can actually help you carry the load.

Along those lines, talk straight with the principles about how much they can contribute in terms of time. If you are busy with work or school and can’t do extensive planning and others don’t want to split the load, you may want to think about hiring a wedding planner at this stage.

Finally, start looking at venues for the wedding ceremony and reception immediately. Popular venues are booked months in advance, so you don’t want to leave this crucial step until it’s too late.

But the most important thing to remember is that this is supposed to be a romantic and fun time in your life. Take time to delight in each step. And also remember to take time to enjoy each other. Let the wedding planning process cement your bond.

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