Congratulations!

You just got engaged… now what?

You're probably feeling a little overwhelmed by all of the planning ahead and not sure where to start. So, to keep you on track, here are the top 11 things you need to do right after you’ve said YES!

1. Share the news! Grab your cell phone and call your loved ones and closest friends to share the great news. Make sure to tell your close friends and family right away; don’t let them find out from Facebook or Twitter. They all want to hear from you first.

2. Float on Cloud 9! Enjoy being engaged before you dive into wedding planning. Celebrate with loved ones and flaunt that ring! (Check out other local brides’ Ring Bling here.)

3. Set a date. As soon as you announce your engagement just about everyone will ask you if you have set a date. Don’t set it for them though. The date you choose may impact decisions you make on the venue, flowers, theme, attire – and budget. Also, think about your work or school schedules, and when you can easily take time off work to be able to really enjoy your wedding and the honeymoon to follow. Also, try to avoid conflicting dates such as your brother’s graduation, or large crowd-drawing events if you’ll have visitors in need of hotel rooms. Keep these things in mind when picking this important date.

4. Set a budget. The number you set will impact every decision you make from now until your big day. Sit down with family and determine who will be contributing to the budget and for how much. (Traditionally, the bride's side pays for: church costs, flowers, invitations, reception/venue, transportation, wedding dress; while the groom's side pays for: honeymoon, liquor, marriage license, officiant fee/gratuity, rehearsal dinner.) Do you want a big wedding with all the bells and whistles or a smaller affair with just your closest friends and family? What can you really afford? These are questions you need to consider before you start moving into the actual planning phase. It’s important to nail down a solid overall budget before making any big decisions, and definitely before signing any agreements with vendors. (To help you allocate your expenses, check out our Wedding Budget Worksheet.)

5. Consider hiring a wedding planner. Are you a busy couple? Do you have the time but not sure what you want your big day to look like? Do you know exactly what you want but some professional assistance would ease your mind? A wedding planner can give you ideas and suggestions to help bring your vision to life, help with the planning details and appropriately allocate your budget to give you the most bang for your buck. (For a list of wedding planners, click here.)

6. Start working on a guest list. Prior to looking at wedding venues, you must have an idea of approximately how many guests will be in attendance. Helpful hint: 10-20 percent of the RSVPs may decline – remember this when giving a minimum guarantee to your venue.

7. Determine your wedding theme or style. Modern, classic, romantic, rustic or all-out glam? Formal, casual or somewhere in between? To help you get a better idea of what you want (and what you don't want), spend some time gathering inspiration. Having an overall style in mind before you research potential wedding locations will help eliminate wasting time on venues that do not fit within your vision. It will also help you better communicate your vision to your vendors so they can create the event of your dreams. Not quite sure about your style? Look through Alaska Bride & Groom magazines and AlaskaBride.com for inspiring photos and planning articles. And, of course, start pinning! Pinterest offers a wealth of information and creative ideas at your fingertips. (Check out pinterest.com/alaskabride.)

8. Begin researching and visiting reception sites. Keep your budget, the size of your guest list, and the formality of the event in mind. (Our Reception Guide will help you determine the local facilities that meet your needs.) Make sure to determine and book your venues as far in advance as possible, as many popular wedding and reception venues can be booked a year or more out.

9. Say yes to the dress. Start thinking about the type of gown that would look best on you and fit your wedding style. And now for the best part: gown shopping! Take one person whose opinion you trust, and have a great time. (For a list of local gown shops, click here.)

10. Register as soon as you can. It is not unheard of for close family members to start buying gifts as soon as you are engaged. With all the engagement parties and bridal showers in your future, they will appreciate your forethought. But keep in mind that engagement gifts are not required and should not be expected. Don't include registry information in your engagement party invitations or in any other formal manner. Stick to using word of mouth or links on your wedding website.

11. Choose your wedding party. Now it's your turn to propose to your bridesmaids and groomsmen. Remember, the earlier you ask, the sooner you can enlist their help. But keep in mind that your wedding party is agreeing to spend their hard-earned money and donate their precious time, so be sure to explain how elaborate – and how expensive – this involvement might be. Along the way, show them a good time and make sure they know how much you appreciate them.

For a complete wedding planning timeline, download our checklist. And for all your nuptial necessities, check out our Resource Directory and Reception Guide.