You're engaged! Now what?

Life gets really busy and before you know it your wedding day will sneak up on you! These tips will keep you organized while planning the big event.

As soon as your friends and family hear the happy news, the questions start rolling. “When’s the big day!? Where’s it going to be? Do you have a theme already!?” Before you can make the big decisions, the two of you need to confirm a date. Selecting the date impacts other wedding choices including theme, dress style, venues, and more.

Keep these three things in the back of your mind while planning the date:

  1. It takes anywhere from 8-10 months for your dress to be shipped and altered.

  2. Most professional photographers, as well as some venues, can be booked 8-12 months in advance.

  3. If you have family or friends traveling, they will need proper notice to get time off work.

Once you’ve confirmed the date, choose your theme and basic color scheme. These two items won’t impact much besides décor, which you can start planning as the date gets closer. The biggest step is discussing and deciding on a budget. Setting the budget determines a lot of things, much like the date. Three big questions to ask during budget planning are: do you want a formal or informal wedding, is it going to be big or more intimate, and how many parties are going to be involved in the expenses? For more tips on budget planning, check out Bridal Budget 101.

Moving forward, compile your list of guests so you know how much room you will require from a venue. While compiling your guest list, we recommend putting together a document (a spreadsheet works best!) with the total number of guests per invite, along with addresses. This way you will have the addresses for the whole process, from save-the-dates to thank you cards! Booking your venues, photographer, and caterer are next. Some reception venues offer catering too, so you may be able to kill two birds with one stone depending on your selection! All of this should be done no later than six months ahead; it’s highly recommended that you book almost a year in advance of the event.

Other items to check off at least six months in advance include booking an officiant, hiring a florist, deciding on music, arranging transportation, and ordering your attire and accessories. It’s also a good idea for you to book accommodations for out-of-town guests as well as yourself. Putting together your gift registry is another important task to complete four to six months out.

As the countdown to the big day grows shorter, finalize small details such as the readings during the ceremony, the menu served at the reception, décor for both locations, etc. Waiting until the last minute to get all of your décor can be stressful. To help with budgeting, purchase some of the décor a little bit each month until you’re satisfied with what you have.

If you’re looking for a complete timeline and wedding checklists, click here.

Written by Sarah Richards

Pro tip: It’s easy to get lost in the planning and let your engagement go by without really enjoying it. Make sure in the midst of all the scheduling and decision-making the two of you are taking time to focus on yourselves.