If your partner just popped the question, congrats. We'll let you in on a little secret: If you want to enjoy your engagement, you don't have to start planning your wedding immediately. Things like when to ask your bridesmaids to join your wedding party, dress shopping and general legal contracts can wait for the time being. Right now, it's about enjoying the moment, sharing your news with loved ones, and taking gorgeous ring selfies. If you're itching to get started, there are some things you can do right after being engaged (like picking your wedding style or starting a wedding planning checklist). Here are nine important wedding planning to-dos you can hold off on.
1. . Figuring Out When to Ask Your Bridesmaids
Of course, they were probably some of the first people you called after the proposal, but you don't need to rush to figure out when to ask your bridesmaids to join your wedding party. The rule of thumb is to ask one year to eight months before the actual wedding, so you have time to plan out related activities. According to The Knot 2019 Real Weddings Study, the average engagement length is just over 15 months. If you have the luxury of time, think over who you really want in your wedding party. (Read: you'll be less likely to ask someone in the heat of the moment).
2. Buying Your Wedding Outfit
Getting engaged doesn't mean you have to rush out and buy a dress in the next week (though you can if you want to). Take this time to browse magazines, social media and designer galleries to gather inspiration. This way, you'll discover silhouettes, styles, colors or accessories you like most. Extra research will help your consultant during your salon appointment too. However, don't wait too long to buy an outfit, as ordering and tailoring takes time. We recommend buying your gown six to eight months before your wedding to leave enough time for shipping and fittings.
3. Planning Your Seating Chart
You'll want to use this time to figure out a rough estimate of your guest list so you can plan your budget and book your reception venue, but don't worry about deciding specific seating assignments yet. That can wait until after you've received your RSVPs and you've finalized your reception setup. Psst: you can track RSVPs through your wedding website with The Knot—how cool is that?
4. Picking Your First-Dance Song
Your first dance song, and your wedding music, is one of those details you can keep tweaking closer to your wedding day (especially if you're hiring a DJ). So there's no need to stress. Find tons of inspiration from classic first-dance songs or modern, wedding-worthy hits.
5. Choosing Bridesmaid Dresses
Your wedding party attire is one of the most impactful ways to carry out your overall wedding style. But, similarly to your wedding gown, it's likely your theme or colors will evolve during your planning process. Save bridesmaid dress shopping for when you've decided on a final look and feel for your wedding, and preferably do it after you've found your wedding dress.
6. Planning Your Honeymoon
Fewer couples than ever jet off on their honeymoons immediately following their wedding, so it's okay if you need more time to plan your trip carefully—even if that means waiting a few weeks after your wedding to go. If you do want to leave for your honeymoon the day after your wedding, book your honeymoon travel plans six to eight months in advance.
7. Picking Out Your Smaller Decor Items
Details like linens, table settings, favors and escort cards can wait. Hold from moving ahead on these decor items until after you've made the bigger decisions, like booking your reception venue and securing a photographer. If you have the itch to plan right now, focus on the fun tasks, like tasting appointments with your caterer and cake baker or choosing your wedding colors.
8. Buying Anything Edible
You might have already found the perfect chocolate wedding favors, but you don't need to buy them just yet. Plan to purchase all food-related gifts as close to your wedding date as possible (no more than a month in advance) to get the freshest goodies for your guests. Of course, this still means you should plan accordingly with pastry chefs and other local vendors in advance to secure inventory.
9. The Legal Logistics
There are legal steps you need to take before getting married, but you don't need to worry about that just yet. Other than filing for a marriage license and signing it before saying "I do", changing your name, combining bank accounts, updating tax forms can all wait until after your nuptials.