After Six Wedding Dresses Style 1038You’re engaged! Congratulations! Now comes the fun part: planning. Use these handy lists to make sure you’ve got your bases covered.

Start budgeting. Once you have a good idea of what you’ll be able to spend on your wedding, it’s time to set a real budget. Expect to spend about 40% of your budget on your reception; 10% each on ceremony, attire, photography, and music; and 5% each on your flowers and stationery. The remaining 10% will be for more “miscellaneous” expenses such as gifts, transportation, etc. Plan to spend way more or way less in a certain category? No problem. Use your savings in one area to subsidize the other.

Your budget will help set parameters for your wedding planning. If you have only $10,000 to spend, engraved invitations are probably out. That’s just fine. If you need to spend $1,000 on a lavish cake, that’s fine too; just remember you’ll have to make up the extra expense elsewhere. See our category of articles devoted to your wedding budget.

Work on your guest list. You should have an easy enough time coming up with your “must invites,” but it can be trickier to decide on the others. It’s okay to use an “a” and “b” list when deciding on whom to invite. Your guest list may take some time to create and will probably evolve over the coming months. Start early so there’s no pressure.

Start dress shopping. It can take a long time to find a dress you love and then another several months for it to be made, shipped, and altered.

Create your wedding website. The earlier, the better. In the beginning there won’t be a lot of details, which is no problem. Post your engagement story or the tale of how you two met. Be sure to include pics. Here’s how to keep guests glued to your wedsite. Don’t have a site yet? See our faves.

Start looking for your save-the-dates. This could be your first window into your stationery choices and may help you nail down a theme/color scheme for your entire wedding. Plus, save-the-dates are just so fun!

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

Get your engagement photos taken, if you’re having them. Many photographers will do them for free if you’re hiring them for your wedding.

Keep working on your engagement party. Set a date and work on a guest list. Remember it’s not usually okay to invite people to your engagement party but not your wedding, so don’t actually invite anyone until you’re sure you’re also going to invite them to the big event.

Be sure you’ve sent in any deposits and/or contracts required to secure any must-have vendors you’ve already been in touch with.

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