Check it out — you've got a new engagement ring, a new fiancé and you're floating on Cloud 9. Congratulations! Enjoy this special time. You don't have to plan the wedding right away — you can enjoy a lengthy engagement honeymoon if you like — but there are a few things that you have to do as soon as you get engaged.
If your fiancé didn't insure it before he gave it to you, that's the first phone call you have to make the next morning. You'll need to fax a copy of the appraisal to your insurance company and they'll create a rider for your policy to cover the ring. It's not that expensive, but it's priceless if something unfortunate happens. Do not wait. And if you cannot insure it immediately (perhaps it's a family ring and you need to have it appraised first), don't start wearing it out of the house yet, and keep it in a safe or hidden when you're not at home. Especially if you've posted photos of it on social media sites.
2. Get two ring holders.
One for your dresser and one for the kitchen. Never set an engagement ring on the kitchen counter — too many have died in the garbage disposal that way.
3. Tell your parents and other immediately family before you tell the rest of the world.
In person when possible, via phone if not. Don't let somebody who loves you find out you're engaged via the social media grapevine. Just because your grandmother isn't on Facebook doesn't mean your aunt won't call her the minute she sees a picture go up. Don't text the news. Don't send them a private message via email or any form of social media. Let your fingers do the walking and actually talk to them so they can hear the joy in your voice.
4. Start making a guest list as you think of people you want to invite — although not everybody will make the final cut.
This will give you a better idea of how many guests each set of your parents can invite and how many guests total you'll need to be budgeting for at the reception when you start planning.
5. Get a big picture view of the next 12 months — personally and professionally — for you and your fiancé.
Block out the time periods when you can't get away from work. Eliminate weeks that you're already committed to other weddings and family events. If you have siblings graduating, block out those times too. When you're ready to choose your wedding date, you'll be able to look at the whole year or more ahead of you and figure out potential wedding dates that work for both of you and your families.
Owner of Weddings in Vieques, a destination-wedding planning company off the coast of Puerto Rico, Sandy Malone has helped countless couples plan their big day since 2007. Here, she reveals the biggest wedding-guest wardrobe mistakes.