Just Engaged and Completely Overwhelmed? Read This Now!
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 do decide that you're 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...
This one's pretty obvious! The more organized you are, the less chance there is that something will go wrong. 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—everything. If you're more of a smartphone addict or just always on-the-go, the amazing The Knot apps work in place of (or in tandem with) the binder for all of your wedding planning needs, including managing your guest list and website details, finding fashion inspiration and more.
Start Your Personalized Checklist
Once 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 to-do dates that might prove to be unrealistic—let us guide you on which essential tasks to do when. PS: 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 Plan
Choose 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., the groom thinking he's supposed to call and check on hall rentals when the bride already has it narrowed down to what will suit their needs. Even if you're just perusing The Knot Real Weddings page 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 groom may not be concerned with exactly which flowers you carry, and maybe you're not picky about what tuxedos he and his guys wear (or maybe you are!). But even though you have your checklist, it's good to over-communicate. Be sure that if you're sharing duties that you're also sharing the details. It's okay to take care of certain things by yourself, just make sure you're telling each other about it so the caterer isn't contacted twice. And when the planning gets tough, create your official wedding website with us! It's free and a fun thing to do if you can't look at any more cakes for the day.
Be Flexible and Fair
So, 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 that the other doesn't care for, but flexibility is a must. Be willing to bend. If you really object to something, let your objection be duly heard and noted. 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.
Details, Contracts and Negotiations
When 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 get a contract specifically stating dates, times and locations, and spell everything out; it's not about being difficult, 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).