What to Do Once You’re Engaged

January 10, 2023

As wedding photographers, we love collaborating with our local vendor friends! Today, we showcasing Whitewood Events. Whitewood Events is made up of the amazing team, Whitney and Ellie. We’ve worked with them before, and it’s always such a joy. They produce elevated, well-run, and timeless events for their couples. Today, they’re sharing their best tips for what to do once you’re engaged.

what to do when you're engaged - Whitewood Events

So You’re Engaged. Now What?

Many people dream of the day they decide to spend the rest of their lives with that special someone. You’ve spent time building a life together, and now, you’re taking that next step. It’s so exciting to embark on that journey together! It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and forget what comes first: planning a wedding. Once the big day arrives and you’re engaged, you might suddenly find yourself thinking, “Now what?”

This week’s post is for the newly engaged who are excited to get started but have little sense of direction when it comes to planning their perfect wedding. You can take a deep breath because we’re here to guide you every step of the way.

Dusty Blue Elopement at Ships Of The Sea

Step One: Budget

Unfortunately, we’re starting with the least fun but most necessary aspect of planning any event — setting a realistic budget. This step determines all steps to follow, so spend some time thinking it through. So often, we have prospective clients contact us with a grand vision but no financial forethought. Truthfully, we can’t be of much help securing any vendor or designing a single aspect of your day without first knowing how much you’re willing to spend on each line item.

Have a transparent conversation with all parties involved and detail what everyone feels comfortable contributing. Whether you and your groom-to-be are handling the bill on your own or family members are generously offering to help, you want to remain respectful and tread lightly in this touchy area. Don’t forget to give thanks where it’s due!

Keep in mind that people often leverage money for decision-making power. If you’re going to accept financial support from family members, they may express an opinion or two that you don’t agree with throughout the process. It’s best that you go ahead and talk through how much control they intend to have. If you’re uncomfortable with that amount of input coming from an outside party, consider lowering your budget but increasing your independence.

After deciding on a concrete total, adjust your expectations accordingly. If you don’t have as much to work with as you thought you would, don’t worry. This happens to almost everyone. No matter the scope of your budget, you will have an unforgettable day with the people you love most. It’s our job to help you stretch what you have to cover what you prioritize.

Dusty Blue Wedding at Ships Of The Sea

Step Two: Guest Count

As a close second in importance to your budget, the effects of your guest count trickle into almost all other planning decisions. Simply put, the more guests you invite, the less you can spend on each guest. If your people matter most and you wouldn’t dream of leaving anyone out, you’ll have to be okay with sacrificing in other areas. If you want a really elevated and thoughtful experience for each person in attendance, then you might not get to invite those outside of your more immediate circle. Both options lead to great parties, so it’s up to each bride and groom entirely!

Once you’re engaged, make a list of everyone you can’t imagine celebrating this day without. Don’t lose sleep over not inviting an old friend that you’ve lost touch with just because they invited you to their wedding several years ago.

Elopement reception details

Step Three: Planner + Priorities

This is our favorite step because it’s where we come in! We’ll ask you for your budget and guest count from the get-go, so make sure you don’t skip over those hurdles just to get to the fun part. Once you drop the established details of your dream day on our contact page, a member of our team will get back to you ASAP! We’ve built custom questionnaires designed to uncover all we need to know to craft your ideal celebration.

On our first call, we’ll go over your personality, style, and priorities to determine which categories should receive the most attention to detail. If incredible food and a band that keeps the crowd dancing all night are at the top of your list, then we want to make sure we snag the best vendors for those roles as quickly as possible. From this step forward, you can relax while we handle the hard work!

Three-tier artisan cake by Vanilla And The Bean

Step Four: Venue + Date

While some clients come to us with a venue and date already secured, we recommend connecting with us before selecting a date. This way, you can make sure one of our team members is free on your wedding day. It also grants you an experienced perspective and trained eye on your venue hunt. When it comes to securing a date, a planner in the picture comes in handy as we check across each of your vendor priorities to find a day when (hopefully) your whole dream team is available! After this fourth and final component is complete, it all becomes real, and the true excitement begins! Let the color palette picking, dress shopping, and cake tasting commence.

It’s so exciting once you’re engaged, but it can be a little overwhelming too. We hope this post has helped you navigate the first and hardest steps in the unfolding of the wedding of your dreams! If you’re ready to begin the planning process with Whitewood by your side, reach out!

And if you’re in the market for a Savannah/Atlanta wedding photographer, say hello!


Photography: Izzy+ Co Photography 

Planning + Design: Whitewood Events 

Venue: Ships of the Sea

Rentals: Crush Event Design 

Linens: Nuage Designs 

Tableware: Crate and Barrel 

Food: Fit to Entertain 

Dress: Sakred Bridal 

Gown Overlay: Josette Tunic by Allison Webb

Suit: The Black Tux

Florals: Madeline Read Floral Design

Cake:  Vanilla and the Bean 

Models: Jane |Alejandro Pagen

Shoes: Steve Madden 


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