Call Your Relatives (Even the Ones You Never Really Talk to)
Engagement DOs and DON’Ts start almost the second you say yes. Your first task? Sharing the exciting news with the world. And how easy would it be to do so in 140 characters or fewer or with a quick status update? No matter how tempting, it’s an engagement no-no to not pick up the phone and call your family members and friends. All of them. No one likes to be the last to know—and getting the news via mass e-mail, Twitter update or Facebook is especially rotten. So set aside a few hours and plow through your phone book (you can enlist your mom, sister, aunt or another family representative to help you out).
Get Your Ring Sized
Your stunning sparkler is perfect in every way, except for the wiggle room (or maybe it’s a little tight and turning your fingertip a not-so-Tiffany-blue). Get it resized ASAP—after all, you’ll be showing it to everyone and the last thing you want is to lose the thing an hour after you get it. The process can take just a few hours or, at most, a few days.
Get Your Ring Insured
Nothing can replace the sentimental value of your ring, but if something happens to it, at least you can get your (or his) money back. If you have home owner’s or renter’s insurance, call to add the ring to your policy. You may need an official appraisal before you can officially add the ring, so call the insurance broker to see what paperwork is required. If you don’t already have renter’s insurance, it can be cheaper to buy it (you should have it anyway) and then add the ring. Your broker will be able to help you find the right option.
Set a Date—Even If It’s Not the Date
After “congratulations” and “let me see your ring,” here’s the first thing people will ask: “When’s the wedding?” It’ll save you lots of headaches if the two of you come up with a vague-yet-specific answer, like “We’re shooting for early 2011” or “We like the idea of next fall.” People appreciate feeling like they’re in the loop, and they’ll also put the event into their mental datebooks. Plus, it’ll give you and your guy a little direction as you start planning.
Create a Wedding Blog
Now that you’ve told everyone the good news (on the phone, missy—see step No. 1), set up a wedding site or blog to keep everyone apprised of your nuptial news. Post photos, write your “how we met” story, have a guestbook—make it as personal and interactive as you want. Get the bare bones up first; later on, you can get fancy with wedding details, hotel advice, maps, quizzes, daily thoughts and whatever other wedding whimsies you want to share. Send it around to those who ask, but be prepared for the fact that your mom and your BFF may be the only ones who want to read it.
Daydream (a Lot)
Get a bunch of wedding magazines, watch Father of the Bride for feel-good tears, look at maps for honeymoon ideas, blog-stalk engagement sites and Glamour Weddings. Give yourself permission to let your brain turn into its own wedding channel. If you haven’t been planning your wedding since you turned five, that’s OK; now’s a good time to collect ideas that inspire you and to learn what you want—and don’t want—in your wedding.
Plan a Night Out With Just Your Fiancé
Until the celebrations and parties and wedding are finally over, there’s not going to be much “just the two of you” moments. Get in some good face time with each other now—and make it a point not to talk wedding details. Yes, there’s a ton to do, but for now, it’s perfectly OK to hit the town and celebrate—just you and him.
Get a Wedding Planner
No, not a wedding planner person—at least not yet. Get an iPhone app, a datebook, a calendar or some other kind of keep-organized device to help you create a timeline for major wedding-related tasks. While you’re at it, pick up a wedding-planning binder to keep all those inspirational ideas you found in step 6.
Think About Whether You Want a Wedding Coordinator or Want to Go It Alone
Review the elements of your wedding that’ll take a little planning—negotiating with bakers and caterers for the best prices, finding the ideal venue, organizing party favors—and figure out if those are tasks you want to tackle alone or if you’d rather hire a wedding planner (stress reduction and a little time-saving sounds nice, right?). Keep in mind that a wedding coordinator will cost extra money, so make sure the option fits into your budget before you give it serious consideration.
Start a Wedding Savings Account
Remember that even a simple, small wedding costs money (and sometimes a lot more money than you would ever imagine). A wedding savings account is an easy way to keep cash accumulating for the big day, so you don’t have to rely on plastic to bear the brunt later on. Open a basic savings account at any bank—or look online for higher-interest accounts at sites like ally.com and etrade.com—then deposit a set amount every paycheck that’ll go toward wedding-related expenses only.
Ask Your Parents (and His) for Their Ideal Guest Lists
Before you start putting a number on how many guests you want, it’s time to ask both your parents about whom they’d most want to invite. Be sure to tell them this is just a preliminary list and things might change—it’s on paper, not set in stone. After you have their “dream” lists, you can add and edit and trim. Helpful hint: Ask them to help prioritize their wish list by breaking it into tiers—it’ll help you make cuts later on.
Chill Out and Have Fun!
Take time to relax—get a massage, sleep in when you can. This is a once-in-a-lifetime event purely about you and your fiancé. You are allowed to enjoy it!