wedding countdown checklistYou’re engaged! Congratulations! Now comes the fun part: planning. Use these handy lists to make sure you’ve got your bases covered.

If you’re thinking about DIYing any part of your big day, start making your DIY plan now. Why do you need a plan? Because a few “simple” DIY tasks can suddenly turn into a mountain of work if you aren’t careful. Making a plan will help ensure you don’t bite off more than you can chew. For example, you may be into making your own hand-tied bouquets to save some coin, but who is actually going to be making those the night before (or the morning of) your wedding? You? We hope not!

The good thing about most DIY projects is you can start them as early as you want. If you want to make your invitations, why don’t you start now? Sure, it’s more than a year before your wedding, but so what? As soon as you know your colors, your venues, and your wedding date, you can get going. The earlier you begin your DIY stuff, the longer you’ll have to casually chip away at it. Wouldn’t it be nicer to make your own wedding favors a few at a time while watching wedding flicks over a bottle of wine with your FI – rather than cramming in all that work a week before the wedding?

Keep working on your guest list. It will take time to get it just right. Aim to have it more or less finished in the next couple of months.

Start getting specific about your vision. The goal is to go from a vague idea of what you want (e.g. a winter wedding in the mountains) to a more specific one (e.g. a winter wedding in the mountains with a candlelit ceremony, hot chocolate and Bailey’s for the toasts, and a DJ for the dance following the buffet-style dinner). The more specific you can be, the easier it will be to figure out which tasks should come up next on your to-do list.

If you still need to hire musicians (and you probably do), hopefully your clearer vision of your big day should tell you what type of music you want where. You’ll likely need music for your ceremony, cocktail hour, through dinner, and for the dance. If you’re getting married in the church, you may want to inquire about using their organist or choir. If you’re having a DJ, he may be able to run the sound for all or most of the day. If you’re thinking of DIYing your music (i.e. the very trendy “iPod wedding”), read these tips first so you don’t end up regretting your decision.

Begin interviewing officiants, if you haven’t chosen one already. The ceremony is obviously a very personal and sacred part of the day (there wouldn’t be a wedding without it!), so take the time to get an officiant that you really love.

Add items from any website on the internet onto one universal gift registry

Interview and select a caterer. Take a look at their menus and packages to see who can offer the type of food/reception you really want. The food is always a very memorable part of any wedding, so make sure you select a caterer that you trust, who listens to wishes and does his best to accommodate them.

Order your save-the-dates. Get some extra for keepsakes (and also just to make sure you have enough). Want free save-the-dates? Your coupon is here.

Update your wedding website. One of the best ways to keep people tuned in to your site is to update it regularly (even if you’re just changing the pics). Here’s how to keep guests glued to your wedsite. Don’t have a site yet? See our favs (and get a coupon!).

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