There is a lot that goes into planning a wedding. From finding the perfect dress to getting photos taken and sending out announcements as well as finding vendors and getting everything scheduled, it’s hard to keep everything straight. Rather than trying to remember it all off the top of your head, try spreading out different tasks over the next few months leading up to your wedding. Here’s what we recommend doing one year, six months, three months, and one month before the big day:

1 Year Before

Pick a date – After you’ve shared the news with family and friends and started thinking about things like colors, menus, etc., it’s time to pick a date. Whether you’ve always dreamed of a summer wedding or have found that the least busy time of year will be during the fall, it’s time to choose the date for the big day.

Make a Budget – Weddings can be expensive, so it’s important to sit down and make a budget that you want or need to stay within. This will help you know how much you can spend on the venues, cake, dress, etc. without putting yourself in a tight situation or getting yourself into serious debt.

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Start looking for venues – After you’ve chosen a date, start looking around at the different venues in the area you’ll be getting married. Perhaps you’ve known where you want to get married since you were young, or perhaps you just want as specific ambiance—either way, you’ll want to find both the wedding and reception venues as far in advance as possible.

Start a guest list – Your guest list won’t be finalized until it’s time to send out invitations, but writing down who you want to invite now will help you make sure you don’t leave anyone out when things start to get a little crazier.

6 Months Before

Start shopping for a dress – The wedding dress is one of the most important aspects of the wedding for many brides. Because they fit so specifically and alterations may sometimes be required, it’s important to shop early, leaving yourself plenty of time. One of the best places to find beautiful, well-fitting, affordable wedding dresses is through Azazie.

Find your vendors – After you’ve chosen a venue and the planning is underway, it’s time to pick out your vendors. You should already know which vendors you’ll need—DJ, caterer, chairs and tables, bar, etc.

Start a registry – Whether you want to register online, in a store, or both, now is the time to start the registry or registries you want to have. This will give you the chance to make sure everything you want and need is on the list so that guests will know what to purchase.

Take engagement photos – If you plan to include a photo or photos with your announcement, or just want to have some engagement photos taken for personal use, now is the time to get those done.

3 Months Before

Order invitations – As the wedding gets closer, it’s time to order invitations. You’ll want to make sure you go over the proof a few times before placing your order, and make sure everything looks good when they arrive.

Order the wedding cake – You might want to do a few tastings before you make your final order, but now is the best time to get the cake checked off the list. It will give your baker enough time to ensure they can schedule you and that you get the exact cake you are looking to order.

Take care of all the bridesmaid dresses and formal wear – Tuxes, bridesmaid dresses, dresses for the mother of the bride and mother of the groom–those should all be taken care of well enough in advance of the wedding that there’s time for alterations and returns if necessary.

1 Month Before

Send out invitations – About a month before the big day, it’s time to address and send out wedding invitations. You might want to consider printing addresses on stickers or purchasing a stamp so that you don’t have to write every address and your return address by hand over and over.

Write your vows – As the big day approaches, it’s time to take care of the little details. Although writing your vows might be a seemingly small task, the meaning behind it is huge so make sure you take your time and make as many revisions as needed.

Get your marriage license – You can’t get married if you don’t have a marriage license. Now is the best time to head down to the courthouse or county clerk’s office and get the certificate signed and approved and ready to go.

Write out any necessary checks – As it gets down to crunch time, vendors may require a deposit or the partial payment upfront. You may also have to write checks to friends and family members who picked up supplies for you. Instead of handwriting and delivering checks, use eChecks to save you time—all you have to do is fill out the check, then email it and you’re done.

Final Thoughts

After you get into the last few weeks leading up to the wedding, things are going to get busier and move faster than before. Between the rehearsal and the final fittings and putting the finishing touches on everything, you’ll be glad you spread everything out and completed it in steps instead of trying to get it all done in a short amount of time. What do you still have left to do?

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