You’ve just got engaged, and you are floating on cloud nine as you bask in the excitement of starting your journey towards marrying your best friend and spending the rest of your life with that person. After that magical moment, you spend the next few days thinking about what you’re going to wear, looking over your dream Pinterest wedding board, and talking to all of your friends that you are going to ask to be bridesmaids in your wedding.
There is so much running through your mind, but in that excitement things need to get a little serious and you need start planning out your next steps. From all the things that I have learned, I want to share with you a post-engagement checklist that is guaranteed to make your engagement less stressful and fully enjoyable.
Post-Engagement Checklist for the Exceptional Bride
- Get Your Ring Fitted – Most people advise that you go back to where your fiance purchased your ring and get it fitted to your exact size about the week after your engagement. I waited about a month or so because I could not bear to part with my ring, but I highly recommend doing it sooner than later. (I know it’s hard to give it up for a whole month, but it’s like a band-aid…the sooner and faster you do it, the less painful it will be). Having your ring fitted is especially importance because if it is too big, there is a higher chance that the ring may fall off and you may never see it again. Now, some jewelry retails include loss or theft in their insurance policies but some don’t. And your fiance may not have gotten insurance, and if he didn’t then you definitely want to go to #5 on the checklist and start there.
- Pick A Date – You don’t want to procrastinate on picking a date unless you are planning for a long engagement. If you are, then take your time. But if you are wanting to have your wedding within the next year or two, my advice is to pick a date now. My fiance and I chose our date and began planning two years ahead. That may sound like a lot of time, but it creeps up on you and then you start rushing around to get things done to guarantee that your day is 95% perfection.
- Search for Venues – The earlier you start looking for venues, the better the deal you’re going to get. My fiance and I picked a venue two years before our wedding date, and it saved us about $10 per person. Typically, when you sign a contract with a venue, they lock in the price listed with a maximum increase that the price would go to if their prices change. For our venue, the price did increase from the original price that was given. But since we had booked it two years ago, we are only paying a $3 increase from the original price, instead of the $10 increase.
- Look for Wedding Bands – Looking for wedding bands early has many benefits. One of the main benefits is that once your find your ideal styles at a certain jewelry store, you can track when they have sales so that you purchase the wedding bands at the right time. Another benefit is being able to put it on layaway. Some stores not only offer discounts up front, but after locking in the discounts with layaway, some stores even offer additional discounts during the layaway period in order to get you to pay off your rings sooner than later. There’s no credit for layaway. The total price is just split into a set amount of equal payments over a period of time and you just have to make sure to pay all of them on time. If you don’t, they give you a full refund and your rings go back on sale. To muss…no fuss.
- Get Your Ring Insured – I’m going to be completely honest with you…this is not a sale pitch. GET YOUR RING INSURED. This is one of the most important things when it comes to your engagement ring. Let’s face it, accidents happen. You may have read that you insurance protects and think: “I’ll never do any of these silly things”. I was that person. But I learned the hard way that things happen. I somehow achieved the impossible and chipped my diamond. Yes, I CHIPPED MY DIAMOND. But insurance helped me. So here’s the #1 piece of advice that you should take from this post – get your ring insured. My recommendation = Jewelers Mutual Insurance. Jewelers Mutual specializes in jewelry insurance, so it is guaranteed that your ring will be the top priority. They insure your ring for damage, loss, and theft! (And let me tell you, insurance from the jewelry story does not insure it on theft).
- Establish A Wedding Planning Schedule – In order to get yourself moving and avoid extreme stress right in the months before your wedding, set up a planning schedule and set due dates on what you would like to have purchased, done, planned, etc. by a certain date. By having things done early, avoid last minute stress and having to pay for rush order shipping which costs more than the actual item that you are purchasing. I used a sample timeline from a bridal magazine and adapted it as my own. Now, it’s basically smooth sailing these last two months.
- Choose Your Bridal Party – Choosing your bridal party early not only helps you, but helps them. By letting them know that you want them in your wedding as early as possible allows them to start planning ahead for your bridal shower and your bachelorette party. It gives them time to delegate responsibilities, do some research, complete any DIY projects that they want, and it allows you to start assembling everything you need for your bridesmaids.
- Create a Budget – Set up a budget and stick to it! The first thing we did is establish a maximum amount we are willing to pay for things using a budget tool. Then, we talked to family members to see who is planning to pay for things. Many family members actually are more willing to pay for something for the wedding as their gift. After that, start doing some research. Figure out what vendors are priced below your maximum and then start comparing them to see who you would prefer more. TIP: Make sure to factor in your honeymoon expense if you are planning to pay for it yourself.
One last tip that I have to go along with your post-engagement is to make sure that you take care of your engagement ring. Make sure that you clean and care for your ring to keep it sparkling. Jewelers Mutual has a great clean and care guide that you can use to keep your ring looking top notch. No need to head into the jewelry store and have them clean it (something that I did before and have stopped doing). Just use their specialized guide, clean your ring, and look into their insurance plans. You can thank me later.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.