Congratulations and Best Wishes!
According to the old fashioned etiquette rules, when you heard a couple were engaged you would congratulate the groom, because he had talked some woman into the drudgery of becoming an unpaid cook, housekeeper, child birther/raiser and bed warmer. You were to offer the bride your best wishes because she would need them to get through the next decades of unpaid drudgery. Fortunately, times have changed and brides and grooms are living on a more equal plane.
With that I would like to offer my Congratulations and Best Wishes to all of the couples engaged over the winter holidays. Now the planning begins for everyone. I used to think being engaged was so corny, and I never did use the term fiancée myself, now I wish I had. Embrace the corn!
My fiancée, now husband, seriously suggested we elope to Reno, he still secretly kind of loathes elaborate weddings, which I think a lot of men do. I insisted we have a full-on mass and reception. You would have thought we were water boarding people when we told them there would be an hour long church service instead of a quick exchange of vows. I still think it’s good for everyone, no matter your spiritual leaning, just to sit for an hour and contemplate what a commitment like a wedding means. But totally your call on that.
Finally regarding venue and décor; when making choices keep in mind not leaving a big carbon footprint, avoid using things that will be thrown out the day after.
Choosing eco-friendly, sustainable, everlasting silks bouquets from www.DestiantionBouquetByDorian.com is a good start. First you will know exactly how gorgeous the flowers you are carrying down the aisle will be because you will have received them way before the ceremony. Afterwards the bouquets make wonderful keepsakes for the bride and wedding party, or you can even resell them! Destination Bouquet also has extremely high quality venue décor; including arrangements and garlands, all in eco-friendly quality silk.
I also will be letting you know when I find a good wedding planning site. I just came across WeddingSparrow.com, it is full of venues and ideas, beautifully arranged and photographed.
The Brits of course, seem to have something special when it comes to weddings. I like Hitched.co.uk, it can be a little wordy, but a lot of romantic ideas.
So again, Best Wishes and Congratulations to you both! May you have a corny, joyful engagement, beautiful wedding and a long and happy marriage.