Getting engaged is one of the exciting parts of any relationship. My husband and I recently celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary, yet I remember so clearly how it felt in the weeks and months after we decided to tie the knot. For anyone who has just got engaged, I wanted to share the advice I’ve gathered, for making the most of the wonderful glow which surrounds your proposal:
The engagement ring
Yes, it’s practically mandatory to immediately share a photo of your beautiful engagement ring and the exciting news! But there are a couple of other considerations after you’ve had a chance to grin at the ring and show your closest family – you’ll need to insure it, and resize it properly, so it doesn’t slip off. There are some really cool ways to have your wedding ring photographed too – I use a special ‘macro lens’ to allow me to get really close, sharp images of the details of that precious purchase and it can be fun photographing your engagement ring – you’ll be wearing it for many years to come so have a photo that does its shiny newness justice! As a photographer, social media is almost second nature to me, however, if you’re feeling more shy, you could arrange for some engagement photographs for your personal album. Which leads to my second tip…
Sharing the news
Even if you are feeling like you want to enjoy the moment privately – when you share the news, you’ll need to be ready for some typical questions. Your family and friends will be thrilled, however, everyone always wants to know more: “Fantastic, how did he pop the question?” and “How wonderful, when is the date?” “Brilliant news, what will you do for your wedding?” It’s quite easy to navigate these with non-committal, yet somewhat specific answers, “We’re thinking about a winter wedding, but possibly not until 2017.” You therefore might enjoy keeping your news secret for 48 hours so you can both revel in it together before you get bombarded! With your proposal story, be prepared to tell it at least twenty times over the coming weeks!
It’s your proposal, your engagement. If you feel like having a party with lots of people now, do it. If you prefer to celebrate privately, book a fabulous day or night out, where you might want to agree not to talk about the wedding or you might talk about nothing else all night! You won’t realise it until you’re engaged, however, your relationship does change from the day you agree to marry. Nothing appears different on the outside, yet everything feels so different from the inside. Part of enjoying the proposal glow has to be talking more honestly about your future together and sharing the fun! One of the things I love about doing an engagement shoot, is that a couple can pick a location which matters to them, and we can play about with taking the photos, without any wedding day pressures.
To give yourselves time to enjoy being engaged, you might want to hold off from kicking off your wedding plans. By not starting too early, you can spend plenty of time daydreaming (I do recommend a few magazines, wedding blogs, and wedding-related movies, but your friends will be more receptive to sharing those with you, than perhaps your fiancé!) and talking together about what you both want for your wedding. When it’s time to start the hard work, get organised with your favourite tools: notebook, folder, mobile app or spreadsheet – there is a lot to think about and you will need to write it down! It can be very easy to get sucked into a rabbit hole when planning your wedding so try and not rush, take some time, look at what you love and indulge your ideas with the myriad of inspiration available to you, my suggestions for great wedding blogs which can help you:
So You’re Getting Married – Full of pretty things from all over the wedding world
Whimsical Wonderland Weddings – Features stacks of real weddings, real life brides diaries and a helpful planning section.
OMG I’m getting married Cakes, venues, dresses, real weddings and tons of other wedding inspiration abound.
Festival Bride – Everything you need, including examples of real weddings to help you plan your own festival wedding.
You’ll also find some really helpful planning blogs on my site, for example my guide for grooms, things to consider when choosing your wedding flowers as well as how you can incorporate the memory of absent loved ones on your day.
Budget and savings for your wedding
Yes, weddings can be expensive. Some couples start a separate savings account, where they can keep funds for their big day. Others choose a budget and plan all the details around how much they want to spend. Whichever way your finances work best, it’s a good testing ground for your marriage ahead! You’ll need to talk it through and decide what matters most: a wedding planner makes your big day much easier, which is a great support when you’re busy working full time. Think about how much you’ll allocate to decorations and the cake, because in truth, this’ll only last for the day itself. Although remember your wedding photos will last forever – so you’ll want to feel beautiful and choose your wedding photographer with care!
Setting a date and venue
These are interlinked – because if you want a specific date this year or next summer, you may have to compromise to find a venue which is available. If you know the place, then you may need to be flexible on picking a date. When choosing a venue, it’s important to think about the type of wedding, the landscape and the possibilities for including a personal theme. You also don’t have to stick with tradition when planning your day – my one big thing I want you to do? DO IT YOUR WAY. DO WHAT YOU WANT. Some of the best weddings I’ve photographed are where couples have had a blast on the day, haven’t got stressy about things not going 100% right and they’ve managed to focus on creating a day that is truly about them, Hannah and Conrad’s Cotswold wedding is a great example of that.
Your venue also influences your guest list – some venues have a maximum capacity for 100 people, so they’re no good if you’re planning a huge festival-type gathering. It doesn’t matter whether you choose a wedding photographer who is local to your home, or local to the venue – the most important thing is that you like them, and trust them to take the most beautiful photos of your big day. Couples who work with me have been kind enough to send me thank you cards, and we stay in touch, because every wedding I shoot is genuinely special for me too!
The other thing to consider when deciding on the time of year to get married is think about the available light on the day. Winter wedding at 4:00pm? It’s going to be dark by 4:00/500pm so do consider this and perhaps aim for a ceremony at midday to allow your photographer to make the most of the available day light.
Working out the wedding details
The list is long – you’ll need stationery for invitations (a personalised photo of you two looks great – for invitations and thank you cards), the guest list, the ceremony (start arranging it with local officials as soon as you know the date) the clothing, the style and decorations, the flowers – and of course, your wedding photographer.
You have many choices to make together, so it’s a good idea to discuss which traditions matter to each of you – bridesmaids, speeches, first dance and more – then you’ll be prepared how to handle well-meaning ideas from your parents. If you’re having a countryside or alternative style wedding, it will suit my style for relaxed, beautiful, and honest wedding photos. I do take some portraits and group shots, so just let me know what type of photos you would like. You’ll tell people afterwards how quickly the whole day disappeared, so my aim is to provide you with photographs which you will love – forever.
If you’d like me to shoot some happy, creative engagement photographs for you then do get in touch.