This process doesn't have to be stressful.

By Jenn Sinrich
September 16, 2019
Milkos / Getty Images

Whether you just got engaged or are already several months into wedding planning, you're probably getting the idea that the process is quite extensive. To help you through each aspect of organizing your big day, it's a good idea to create a to-do list. This helps keep you on track and ensures that you don't miss anything along the way. "The key is to prioritize and put all priorities into a time-frame so you cover your bases in an orderly progression, get goals accomplished and keep stress levels low," explains Deborah McCoy, president of the American Academy of Wedding Professionals™. To help you through the process, here are wedding planner's best tips for keeping a to-do list that's both manageable and realistic.

Related: A Procrastinator's Guide to Planning a Wedding

Establish a "planning timeline."

A planning timeline that includes everything in total that needs to get done, established from the very beginning, can help streamline the to-do list throughout the planning process, explains Danielle Rothweiler of Rothweiler Event Design, who takes into account the couple's schedules, as well as the schedules of anyone else who needs to be involved. "For instance, if Mom needs to be at all floral appointments, then I need to know her availability and conflicts," she says. She suggests putting together a list of everything that needs to be done and assigning these three dates: when you will be researching, when you will be interviewing and when you need to book by.

Know that you don't have to do everything all at once.

Even if you have a six-month engagement, you still have plenty of time to check off every box on your to-do list, assures Amy Nichols of Amy Nichols Special Events. "The key is to make a little bit of progress each week. Leaving things until the last minute or the last month will ensure you feel overwhelmed!"

Expect to take time off from work to get everything done.

Wedding vendors are busy on the weekends working their other weddings, and weekend appointments are the first to go when they are available (because everyone else is planning their wedding, too), Rothweiler explains. For this reason, she suggests looking ahead at your calendars to see if you have time available to take off from work. "If not, be sure to carve out time in the evening during the week for appointments with venues and vendors," she adds.

Don't be afraid to delegate.

If you're not working with a wedding planner, it's still important that you enlist a team of friends and family to help you with all of your to-dos—especially your bridesmaids. Whether it's getting in touch with your venue or bridal salon, your friends will likely be more than happy to pick up a little slack so that you can tend to other aspects of wedding planning.

Revisit your checklist often.

This is especially important if you're someone who tends to procrastinate. "You don't have to look at your to-do list daily, but it's definitely worth it to check in with your list on a weekly basis," says Nichols. "Once you sign each contract, make sure you get a duly executed copy back, and save in a safe place—whether that's a paper file folder, or a cloud based storage system such as Google Drive or Dropbox."

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