And now, some unsolicited advice for all of my newly engaged readers out there, not the least being my sister Kate.
1. Don’t think about wedding planning for at least a week. Seriously. There will inevitably be a moment (or more than one moment) in the next few months when you’ll wish you had never heard of that thing called a wedding, so take a week to just enjoy your new status.
2. Say no to the hand-extended-over-the-keyboard ring shot and yes to a better way, courtesy of Anne Ruthman. Instructions here.
3. Start spreading the news. Start with your parents, and then move out in concentric circles from there: siblings, other family members, friends.
4. Give some thought to an ideal wedding date. Take into account things like school and work schedules, the schedules of family and friend VIPs, and your preferred season. Keep in mind that many of the best vendors book more than a year in advance, but don’t get discouraged if you ultimately settle on a shorter timetable.
5. Likewise, give some thought to must-haves and non-negotiables. Your list could include vendors, like a church, pastor, or photographer you absolutely have to have, or less tangible elements, like the desire for a laid-back or super-swanky reception. This will help with the budgeting process down the road.
6. And finally, my personal favorite: subscribe to wedding blogs (selectively). I have a whole slew of my favorites listed in the left sidebar, but before you subscribe to all 20, spend a few days picking out one or two that seem to resonate with you and the kind of wedding you think you want. They all have different personalities, you know. Then, once you’ve found a blog you really love, pay attention to the blogs they love and link to, and when you’re ready to add another to your subscription list, you’ll know where to go. For example, I’m suggesting Kate subscribe to Style Me Pretty, because it is the granddaddy (or mommy) of wedding blogs and will help her get acclimated to the ways of the wedding world quickly. I’m also suggesting Once Wed, because Emily does a great job of featuring the type of laid-back, relaxed, but still detail-filled weddings that I think Kate’s leaning towards.
Feel free to add your own piece of unsolicited advice in the comments!