Congratulations if you are finding your way here as you are newly engaged and planning all the fun of a destination wedding! We’ve asked our resident planner expert Elian Concept Weddings and Events to share their Top tips for the newly engaged!
It’s the day after Christmas and some of you are waking up as ‘newly engaged’, having received the best Chrismas present of all: an engagement ring. You feel the happiest person in the world right now, but after all the excitement of the proposal as well as the festive holiday you may find yourself puzzled, wondering what to do next.
Should you set a date yet? Should you start planning your wedding? Well, not really… In fact there is no rush to do anything straight away apart for savouring these moments. When you are ready, announce the big news to your very close family and friends. Keep that big smile on your face, admire the ring on your finger, take selfies, post to your heart’s content and inform the world if you wish to. But above all enjoy this special time with your fiancé.
Photo credit: Pictours Paris
There is no rule for how long the engagement period should last. Commonly between 6 and 18 months, the average is about 12 months. There is no minimum or maximum, the decision is yours as it is very personal and depends on your circumstances. How long do you think you need to organise your day without stressing yourself too much? How much notice do your family and friends need to get themselves organised to attend your wedding. This is particularly important to take into account for a destination wedding.
Photo credit: Style Inc Photography
Things you could be doing in the not too distant future:
- Make a special gift to your fiancé. It is traditional that men pop the question with a ring, but it has become more and more popular for the women, or the other partner in same sex marriage proposals, to make an engagement gift. And why not a ‘mangagement’ ring.
- Throwing an engagement party to celebrate the good news. It can be a simple affair for your families to meet and have the chance to get to better know each other. Or a bigger event. For the later, do not leave it too long so it does not interfere with the planning of the main event… the wedding!
- Treat yourself with an engagement shoot by a professional photographer. There are so many choices to be creative and to arrange a session which will reflect who you are as a couple and capture your personalities. As well as creating beautiful memories of this special time in your life together, you could use the pictures to make very personal and unique save-the-dates, invitations, website etc.
Photo credits: Rachel Movitz Weddings (left)– Keith Flament (top right)-Priscilla Herbier (bottom right)
Once you have soaked in the implications of such a major milestone and taken the time to pause to simply enjoy being engaged, you can start thinking about your wedding and more precisely your French wedding. Note that I did not say, “Start planning”. Before stepping into the organisation as such, there are first a few decisions to make that are important for the rest of the process to run as smoothly as possible.
Discuss your priorities and vision as a couple and share your expectations as individuals. What is important? It’s a good idea to list anything and everything you envision without reserve as they come to mind and then to sort them by order of importance, which will familiarise you with compromise for example is having a Champagne reception more important than having white hydrangeas, or is having an outdoor ceremony more important than having a live band?
Photo credits: Eva Martinez
Things to examine sooner rather than later because they can influence your choices from the start, in particular the venue, and potentially your organisation time scale:
- The location in France. Do you have a region in mind?
- The style of wedding you envisage: Intimate, City, Countryside, Outdoor…
- The type of ceremony: symbolic, religious (not always possible in France, depending on the religion or the location).
- The legalities, starting with your own country requirements, but also if you want to get married legally in France. Check if you are in a situation where you can e.g. one of you is French, or you are living in France, or your parents have a French residence etc. as you will have to take the legal ceremony into account as well (timings, paperwork, location)
- The budget. Without getting too strict about this, it is essential to define some guidelines and to discuss where you intend to spend it (refer to your priorities). Don’t assume it will be cheaper because it is in France. Even if you are not expected to provide for travel and accommodations, a destination wedding extends over a couple of days at least and often couples like to host pre-wedding and post wedding parties. All needs to be figured out. And as everybody has made the trip to attend your wedding day and is staying locally, it is difficult to limit the number of guests invited to these extra events.
- The number of guests. This is a critical point to review early. It has the biggest impact on the budget, and is essential to know when you will be looking for your ideal venue. Try to estimate your guest count.
- The wedding date. Pick your preferred date or range of dates, but keep an open mind if possible, so you don’t end up disappointed if your dream venue is already booked on the day you have chosen.
- The need for professional help. Do you have a busy professional life? Do you have very little time? Do you feel overwhelmed by the prospect of planning such a big event? Or is it simply not your thing? You may consider hiring a wedding planner to help you along the way. It does not have to be a set in stone decision. Make it your first point of action only if you feel you would require assistance from the very beginning, especially if it includes sourcing the venue. Otherwise, partial planning, final weeks or on the day management can be arranged further down the line.
Photo credit: Fanny Tiara
When you are ready to start planning your French wedding, don’t try to do it all at once. You have set your priorities and identify your key points, so step back, now you can browse the internet for inspiration, create Pinterest boards and Instagram collections to save ideas and contacts.
In the following posts, I am giving more advice and recommendation, which you may find useful as you start your journey.
- First steps to getting married in France
- Guide to getting married in France
- Discover your ideal French wedding location
- Do I need a wedding planner for my wedding in France
But for now, huge congratulations and remember to enjoy the feeling!!!
FABIENNE IS OWNER OF ELIAN CONCEPT WEDDINGS AND EVENTS, WHO IS A BI-LINGUAL WEDDING PLANNER AND IS AVAILABLE FOR WEDDINGS THROUGHOUT FRANCE. FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT: WWW.ELIANCONCEPTWEDDINGS.COM
Top Image by Style Inc Photography