So you're engaged!!! Now what?!

You are engaged to the one you love... now what? 

Here's a 5 Step Plan of what you need to do next: 

Step 1 - Do a happy dance

Don't just do a happy dance in your living room! Do it everywhere! This is HUGE news! Call ALL the important people in your life and tell them so they can do a happy dance too!  

Step 2 - Pick a wedding date 

Once you have a date, your planning can commence! 

Step 3 - Begin your guest list

The number of guests you want at your wedding, will affect your venue choice, so start making a list so that you can have an idea of what size of venue you will require. Exact numbers can be determined later. 

Step 4 - Determine what your budget will be

Once you know your budget, then you will have an idea of what you can spend on the different parts of your wedding. 

Use this  BUDGET PLANNER to identify some of the expenses you need to be thinking of. 

Step 5 - Make a 'Wedding Timeline - to do list'

Read the list below... and then forget it! You need to make your own. Every wedding is different and your needs will be too:


9-13 months before your wedding: 

  • Choose a venue. You need to do this for both your wedding and reception. The popular wedding venues will be booked long in advance, so if you have somewhere in mind already.... then you need to move fast. Now that you have a date, you can book your space!
  • Choose your other vendors. Your photographer, band and catering needs to be booked now. You can fix the date and the venue with them. If you have a specific photographer, band or cake maker in mind... then you can book them before your venue or asap! If you have no idea where to start when choosing vendors... you can get advice from your venue and even more important... friends and family who can tell you of the vendor's they have had good experiences with. If all else fails.... google and meet as many as you can. These are the people that will shape the experience on your day. Make sure you are a good fit! Industry professionals will all give you a guide/timeline on when and what needs to happen... to ensure they give you the best service and have enough time to plan it all. 
  • Make hotel arrangements. If there is hotel accommodation close to/at your venue, then 'block book' some rooms for your guests. Read more on how to do this, here:  

        Block book rooms for your guests

  • Have an engagement party. Just remember... anyone you invite to your engagement party... MUST also be invited to the wedding... 



  • Book an officiant. Who do you want to conduct the ceremony? Again, if you have someone special in mind... then contact them and get the date booked as soon as possible. If you don't, then ask the venue, your family and friends and again or just google until you find what you are looking for. 
  • Send out 'save the date' reminders. Do this with cards, letters, via WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, E-mail, Messenger Pigeon... whatever! Just make sure the most important people you want to celebrate this amazing day with.... don't go and plan their holidays to Thailand or Bali over this time!!! 
  • Buy a wedding dress. This may take plenty of trips before you find the perfect one... so share this adventure with a select special few as it will make the experience fun. 
  • Choose your bridesmaid dresses. Ask your bridesmaids if there is anything specific that they like and then give them a few options. 
  • Arrange wedding day transport. This could be as easy as booking transport to get from A to B or... this could be a 'classic' or 'vintage' option which will add to the style and experience of your day. 



  • Send out invitations. Give your guests the time to make arrangements and send back the RSVPs. 
  • Order the groom's attire. The wedding dress and bridesmaid dresses have been taken care of... now for the groom :)
  • Set the menu. Usually by now, you will be able to determine your menu for the day, but the catering you have booked, will be able to guide you on what needs to happen and when.
  • Plan the honeymoon. This is so exciting! Whether one of you plan this as a surprise or whether you plan this together.... you will both need to check your passports are up to date... before you realise that it's running out... too late! :)



  • Get a marriage license. Have a few copies to use when you change your name (if you do of course!). 
  • Schedule dress fittings. Be sure to wear the right shoes at your dress fitting so that you know that the length is correct. 
  • Buy the wedding rings. You will need enough time for engraving, if this is something you would like to do. 
  • Make a wedding day timeline. Once you have an idea how you want your day to run, then make a timeline. Wait until you have discussed this timeline with your venue and photographer (they will have advice on certain times of the day, based on their experience) before you send it to all your vendors. 



  • Book your final dress fitting. Make sure you also sit down when wearing your dress to make sure that the dress is comfortable. You will be walking, sitting and especially.... dancing in this dress so make sure you love it AND it's comfortable :)
  • Make a seating chart. Allow guests to meet new people and keep 'family issues' in mind. 
  • Confirm your hair and make-up artists. They will need a lot of time on your wedding day to make everyone look pretty :)
  • Write your vows. If you are writing your own vows, then make sure you give yourself enough time to revise and practice. 
  • Have a 'Bachellors' or 'Hen-Night'. Have a great time!!! 



  • Confirm final guest numbers with the catering. There will be a 'cut off' for when you need to confirm the final number of guests to both the catering and the venue, make sure you know when this is and mark it on your calendar! 
  • Send your timeline to the wedding party. Make sure that the Best Man, Master of Ceremonies and the Bridesmaids all have a copy of the timeline. This way, they can be responsible for keeping you on time and you... can relax and just enjoy... every moment... 
  • Get a haircut. Your hair may need a few days to settle so don't do this the day before the wedding. 
  • Breathe... You've done the planning... your loved one's will be there... You are going to look amazing! Now just relax and trust all the professionals you've hired. Your day... will be perfect!


6-8 weeks before the Wedding Day, all of my clients get a detailed questionnaire from me, asking them about the most important parts of their Wedding Day. 

All the planning from the 5 Steps above... is explained to me and I use it to plan the photography around what is important to them. 


Share the responsibilities of the above! Wedding Vendors have the experience and the people who love you want to help. Wedding Planning can get overwhelming. If you share the load... you will have more time to enjoy the moment and.... have a lot more time for 'happy dances' :)


Happy planning! 

Charlie Wessels Fotografie