Just Engaged and Completely Overwhelmed? Read This Now!
Simply put, the key to a glitch-free wedding is smart planning. Spare yourself multiple headaches by making a plan and sticking with it—and our helpful wedding planning tips, tools and apps are perfect for staying organized and minimizing stress.
by The Knot
First of all, congratulations! If you haven't started basking in the glow of being engaged yet, we highly recommend it. And while family members and friends will definitely want to know all the details and plans (you know, the ones you haven't made yet), don't be afraid to tell them you're just enjoying this special time together for now. And when you're finally ready to start wedding planning, let us help. Not to brag or anything, but we're kind of pros at this. So, first things first...
Stay OrganizedThis one's pretty obvious. The more organized you are, the less likely something will go wrong. That means your first to-do is to check out our All-In-One Wedding Planner app, where we'll keep track of anything and everything, from defining your wedding style to managing RSVPs and all the details in between. Start by taking our fun Style Quiz, then search and book amazing vendors, manage your budget, guest list and registry, and even create a detailed, day-of timeline (although you don't need to worry about that detail quite yet)—and that's just the tip of the iceberg. If you're someone who likes to handwrite your plans, pick up The Knot Ultimate Wedding Planner & Organizer. Keep all your wedding information in it: receipts, contracts, ideas, dates, times, locations—you name it. Bottom line: We're here to keep you sane and organized every step of the way.
Start Your Personalized ChecklistOnce you determine your wedding date, create your personalized wedding checklist on The Knot to figure out what your to-dos are on a month-by-month basis. Don't stress yourself out in the beginning by setting deadlines that might prove to be unrealistic—let us guide you on which essential tasks to do when. And we know that it may seem a little scary to try and get as much done as possible in the first few months, but that way, the last few months won't be as hectic. You'll thank yourselves later—promise.
Set Aside Weekly Time to PlanChoose a day or two during the week when you'll focus on wedding planning (or choose a time to do one or two things every day if you're pressed for time). It's also good to sit down together and plan. This eliminates confusion—i.e., one of you thinking you're supposed to call and check on hall rentals when the other's already narrowed it down to what will suit their needs. Even if you're just perusing The Knot Real Weddings page and Pinterest boards for real inspiration, finding local vendors or booking a venue with our Venue Concierge team (it's free!), clearly allocating time for wedding details can only help you in the long run.
Divide and Conquer (While Communicating)This is the best way to get things done. You and your partner should both be involved every step of the way. Make a list of details to be taken care of, then divide the list in half and choose what you each want to do—your partner may not be concerned with exactly which flowers you carry, and maybe you're not picky about what your partner's wedding party wears, but even though you have your checklist, it's good to over-communicate. If you're sharing duties, you should also be sharing the details. It's okay to take care of certain things by yourself, but don't neglect to tell each other about it so the caterer isn't contacted twice. And when the planning gets tough, take a break from contracts and seating charts to create your official wedding website. It's free and a fun thing to do if you can't look at any more cakes for the day.
Be Flexible and FairSo, you really didn't want the ushers in tails and top hats. And maybe your partner doesn't want the wedding cake to be lemon with pecan icing. Each of you is going to want things the other doesn't care for (or care about), but flexibility is a must, so be willing to bend. If you really object to something, let your objection be duly heard and noted—and have a good reason for it. This may come up the most when you start deciding on your guest list and budget, but with our Wedding Guest List Manager and Wedding Budget Calculator, it's easy to keep track of each choice you make and make adjustments along the way.
Details, Contracts and NegotiationsWhen dealing with wedding professionals (caterers, florists and so on), be sure to clarify all the details and your expectations during the initial discussions. Make sure you always, always get a contract specifically stating dates, times and locations—in other words, spell everything out. It's not about nitpicking, it's about paying for and receiving exactly what you want to make your day spectacular. Try to negotiate the best deal for goods and services, but don't sell yourself short on important things just to get a better price.
Most importantly, be sure to read the fine print on every contract before you sign it, and make sure you're aware of cancellation policies and fees. Also ask if there's a grace period to cancel just in case you change your mind about the service or vendor, or something happens and you need to postpone the wedding (better safe than sorry).
Crystal Vandegrift is a wedding photographer covering Virginia, D.C. NC and Maryland.