20 Things to Do After You Get Engaged: The Complete Step-by-Step Guide

You’re engaged, congratulations! You’re about to embark on one of the most amazing journeys of your life – and you’ve got your soulmate by your side. You’re on this rollercoaster together, and we promise it’s going to be full of love, surprises and celebration. So enjoy the ride!

As the realisation of what’s to come sets in, you might be wondering what happens next. Where do you start? Who do you tell first? How do you tell them? When should you start planning your wedding? How do you start?

Because there are so many things to do, things can get overwhelming quite quickly. But don’t worry, we’re here to guide you in the right direction and help make the next couple of weeks a lot easier, with a checklist for making sure you have everything covered.

So, in this post, we’re going to outline a step-by-step guide for everything you should do after you get engaged, from the order you should tell your family and friends to when the right time is to start making those bookings.

The wedding planning video course: kickstart your wedding planning

Now that you’re engaged, it’s time to start planning your dream wedding, but where to start? In this video, Bridebook founder (and qualified wedding planner!) Hamish Shephard breaks down your wedding organisation into 5 easy steps so you can plan stress-free and kickstart your wedding to-do list.

Our 20-step guide for what you should do after getting engaged

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When you get engaged, everything is so exciting and feels like it goes so fast that it can be easy to get carried away. Did you do this? Did you do that? Before you know it, you’re not sure what you’ve done and what’s left to do. That’s where we come in. Below are 20 steps you can follow to make sure you remember everything after getting engaged.

1. Plan the perfect engagement announcement

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It can be tempting to run to see your parents or pick up the phone and start yelling about your brand-new engagement. But before you do that, think about if you want to do something a little more creative, or figure out a way to get both of your families together in one room and blow them all away with the news.

For a little inspo, read our post on ideas for how to announce your engagement.

2. Tell your families

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Once you’ve figured out how you’re going to do it, you can get to the exciting part. You’re engaged to the love of your life – and it’s time to let everyone know! Just be prepared for lots of squeals, some hugs and maybe even a few tears – happy ones, of course.

3. Protect the ring

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Have you ever worn anything so precious… or expensive? So thoughtful, so sentimental, so valuable… Get your ring insured. ASAP. The average cost of an engagement ring is £1,978, which is an amount that very few can afford to lose. It’s unlikely that anything will happen to it, but you never know. Then you can stop worrying and start showing it off. And trust us, you’re going to want to show off that amazing new ring a lot.

4. Tell wider friends and family, starting with the A team

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After telling your immediate family, it’s time to start sharing the news with your mates and colleagues. We bet some of the first people you tell will end up being key players in your wedding party. They might be your maid of honour or your best man, if you have one. Make an event of it and ask them to be by your side at your wedding over a drink or a meal out. Then start thinking about who else you want involved. Our number one piece of advice is to choose the people you love – not the people you feel obligated to have. Don’t worry about upsetting anyone – it’s your special day. You should be surrounded by your favourite people in the world.

5. Have a manicure 

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With such a beautiful new ring to show off, you may want to do this sooner, but it’s especially important to make sure your nails are on point before you have your engagement photos done or you share the news on social media. There are going to be lots of close-ups of your ring finger, so having clean, shaped and polished nails will help those photos pop. Trust us.

6. Make the papers

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It’s not for everyone, and it’s a little old-fashioned by today’s standards, but you might want to follow tradition by announcing your engagement in the local (or even national) newspaper. It’ll make your parents’ and grandparents’ days, as historically, engagement announcements included lots of details about the couple’s backgrounds, families and so on. Nowadays, though, it’s up to you what you include. If nothing else, it’ll make for a brilliant keepsake.

7. Shout about it on social media

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Now comes the time to scream your news from the 21st-century equivalent of the rooftops. If there was ever a time to share something on social media, it’s now. Whether you post a cute engagement selfie with your partner to your Instagram, update your Facebook relationship status or even make a cheeky TikTok, savour this moment and watch the likes roll in.

8. Enjoy the moment and don’t rush into it

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From the moment you got engaged, you no doubt mentally went into planning mode, thinking about venues, catering, wedding rings, the song you’ll have your first dance to… but, as hard as it might be, don’t feel the need to rush straight into it. Take a step back, breathe and enjoy the moment. Why not take a little trip away, just the two of you, and enjoy some time as an engaged couple? You’re about to embark on a busy year or more of hectic wedding planning, and taking time to enjoy your engagement is definitely worth it.

9. Plan your engagement party

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It’s party time! Get a date in the diary to celebrate with everyone that matters. Just remember that anyone who’s invited to your engagement party is likely to expect an invitation to the wedding too… But that’s only according to tradition, which of course can be ignored. So, if you want a blow-out bash, go for it. Plus, if you anticipate having to fill your guest list with second cousins at your parents’ request, now’s the time to leave them off the list and party on down with your nearest and dearest. 

10. Take some engagement photos

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We’re sure you’ll want to remember this period in your lives forever so make sure to document it with an engagement photoshoot. It’s a great opportunity to get to know your photographer and get used to being in front of the camera. Think of it as a test run before your wedding – so get your smiles ready and be prepared for the jaw ache.

11. Get your engagement ring properly sized

Photo © Chloe Palmer Photography | See their Bridebook profile

Unless your partner got your ring size spot on, you may need to get your engagement ring resized so it fits nice and snug. You may choose to get it done much sooner if it’s particularly loose, but it’s a balancing act between wanting to wear it to show it off, having it for the engagement photos and announcements, and making sure it doesn’t slip off and get lost forever.

Depending on the jewellers you go to, it might take up to four weeks to get your ring resized. But, if you’re willing to pay a little more, you could get it done in as little as a couple of days.

12. Get your wedding planning sorted

Photo © Ellen Forster Photography | See their Bridebook profile

By now you’ve probably had plenty of thoughts about what you want from your wedding. So, start researching and making notes about what the perfect wedding is for you.

Here at Bridebook, we have a wide selection of tools and resources to help you plan your big day. From our budget planning tool to our easy-to-use app, we have everything you might need throughout your entire planning journey. Plus, we have loads of exclusive discounts from thousands of popular vendors that you won’t find anywhere else.

13. Visit wedding fairs

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One of the best ways to get excited is by visiting wedding shows and fairs around the country. It offers you the opportunity to meet vendors, get some ideas and see what’s out there so you can get inspired and start making some decisions. One of our favourite shows is The National Wedding Show, but there are dozens throughout the year up and down the UK. Make sure you also check out local shows, which are a great way to meet vendors close to you.

14. Communicate, communicate, communicate

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You’ll likely have a ton of ideas bouncing around inside your head, which will all come together to form your ideal wedding. Don’t forget, your partner will also be doing the same. Remember to communicate all the time, so share your ideas, worries, thoughts, concerns, excitements and everything else. If you’re always open and honest with each other you’ll nail every step of your busy planning process.

15. Start thinking about the guest list

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This step and the step afterwards may be interchangeable, so it’s whatever works for you. Think about whether you want a big wedding where you might invite more than 100 guests, or would be happier with an intimate ceremony that’s not quite as grandiose. You may want to put together a rough guest list (which you can do right here on Bridebook) and then think about your budget, or it might be easier to do it the other way around. Whatever works for you. But, now’s the time to think about whether you really want your second cousin once removed to be there, or if you’d rather keep things a little smaller and more affordable.

16. Work out your budget

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In the UK, the average cost of a wedding is £19,184, which is enough for you to put on one heck of a party. But, that doesn’t mean your wedding will cost that much – depending on your guest list, venue, catering, attire and more, it could be much lower. Or even much higher.

The best way to work out how much your perfect wedding might cost is by using a budget calculator, which allows you to input all of your wedding-related costs to show you how much they’re likely to set you back. If it’s below what you were hoping for, great! If it’s higher, you can start thinking of some alternate choices or where you can make a few savings.

17. Work out what to do if you don’t have the budget you need

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Once you’ve worked out your budget you’re in a position to see how it aligns with your finances. But what if it doesn’t, does that mean the wedding’s off? Absolutely not! One option is to make changes to your plans – for example, a registry office wedding is the cheapest you can have. Another option is to save money across the entire wedding – read our ultimate guide to saving money on your wedding for more information.

Another option is to ask your family for a little extra support. Only one-third of couples pay for their wedding themselves, which means two-thirds get help from family. There are unofficial rules about who traditionally pays for what, but you’ll no doubt be grateful for help in whatever way your family can.

Read our guide to asking your parents for wedding money for helpful tips on how to approach this tricky subject.

18. Think about dates

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Before you make any proper decisions about your wedding date, start by figuring out what’s going to work for your nearest and dearest. Are there any other weddings happening that year? Does anyone have a big holiday booked? You don’t want to commit to a date, only to find out your best friend can’t make it. If you already know where you want to get married, think about when it’ll look its best. Will it really shine in summer or is it the perfect location for a winter wedding?

Choosing the right date for your wedding can also be a huge money-saver. If you want to get married on a Saturday, like half of all couples did last year, it’ll cost you way more than if you were to get married midweek.

Once you know when you’d like to get married, browse our huge range of wedding venues to find your perfect venue.

19. Start asking friends and family for recommendations

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There are more than likely a fair few people in your life who have planned a wedding, so ask them for advice on how they went about it. Ask them for recommended vendors, what they loved, what they wished they’d done differently… use them, their experience and their knowledge and make some notes. Also, getting referred to a specific vendor, like a DJ or wedding car hire company, is a great way to secure a cheeky discount.

Here at Bridebook, we also have plenty of expert guides, tips, tricks and real-life stories to help answer your questions, calm your concerns and help you throughout your planning journey.

20. Consider whether or not you want to hire a wedding planner

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Before you make any bookings or get a quote from a single vendor, think about whether or not it would be beneficial for you to hire a wedding planner. Generally, a wedding planner will cost about 10% of your overall budget, but they can save you a lot of time, money and stress by doing a lot of the negotiating and legwork for you. But, to get the best value for money, you should hire a planner at the very start of your planning process. Decide if this is something you’d like to do early on, as tempting as it might be to dive right in and start securing bookings.

So… what comes next?

So, these are the first 20 steps you should take after getting engaged. After that, you might want to take another step back and enjoy a few weeks as an engaged couple. Or, more likely, the excitement of your future wedding will be too much to resist, and you’ll want to get stuck right in with the planning.

Enjoy what comes next – it’s going to be long, exciting and rewarding, and most likely a little expensive as well. But, you’ll have a wonderful wedding day at the end of it.

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Happy Planning!