Congratulations! You’re engaged and ready to dive into wedding planning! But where do you begin?!
Here are the first five things I recommend doing once you get engaged:
Get your engagement ring appraised and insured.
Don’t put this off! It could be easy to lose or misplace your ring if it hasn’t yet been sized perfectly or if you leave it somewhere inadvertently because you’re not used to having it on all the time! Better yet, if you’re the person purchasing the ring, get insurance as soon as you buy it, especially if you’re holding onto it for a while before proposing.
Your renters’ or homeowners’ insurance policy covers your jewelry to a certain extent, but more often than not, your engagement ring’s value is much higher than what the policy will cover. Getting additional insurance usually amounts to a nominal cost (sometimes less than $100 per year) and will ease the sting of losing your ring in case that ever happens. Check out this article on brides.com for more detailed information on getting your ring appraised and insured.
Create a separate bank account for your wedding expenses.
Open a separate account at your bank solely for your wedding funds. It will help you see much more clearly what money you have available and what you are spending. Have funds automatically transferred to this account as they are earned or gifted to you from family.
Speaking of gifts from your family…
Have conversations with your family about whether they are contributing to the budget.
Nowadays, many couples pay for their wedding entirely by themselves, but that is not always the case. If you think your family will be offering to pay for some or all of the wedding, initiate that conversation early on in the planning process so everyone is on the same page about the budget and expectations. Never make assumptions about what your family is willing and able to contribute!
Also, (touchy subject alert) find out if contributions from your family come with strings attached. For example, if your parents are helping to pay, do they expect to be able to make decisions about the wedding or add people to the guest list? If so, you may want to reconsider what you will accept from them if you don’t want them feeling they’ll have the right to dictate decisions about your wedding.
Decide on your budget and guest list.
These are the first two things I always tell couples to discuss before thinking about anything else regarding their event. You can’t (and shouldn’t) begin making decisions on vendors until you know what you can spend because your overall budget (including your and your families’ contributions) and the guest count will determine so many other decisions for your big day. You don’t want to venue shop first and fall in love with a place that can only accommodate half of your guest list, or alternatively, book a venue that ends up costing you a huge chunk of your budget which then requires you to skimp on other important vendors.
Hire a planner!
Jk, but not really. I am biased, but hiring a professional from the start will greatly ease the stress of the planning process because you will have someone guiding you 100% of the way. Many times, clients start planning on their own only to get overwhelmed with all the options they have and the decisions to make (and when to make them). Do yourself a favor and bring on a planner early so you can really enjoy the entire process.
Questions? Let me know in the comments below!
xo – Alicia