Pulling off your dream wedding takes planning. Sure it's stating the obvious, but how many times have you heard about couples who opt to take up to six months to 'just enjoy' being engaged, to then have to pull everything together on a tight timeframe? While we're not suggesting that you immediately rush out, hire a planner, and become a professional bride, you should have a plan. Because we know the hardest part of organizing is getting started, here is some helpful advice to make it a bit less overwhelming.
As soon as you set the date of the big day, buy yourself a calendar or planner that you will use solely for wedding-related tasks. Determine rough dates by which you need to accomplish certain things. Doing this will help you to create a schedule.
Although it may be tempting to relax first and simply anticipate crunch time later, brides who've been there and done that will disagree. Try to get as much as possible done turing those first few months. You'll have so much going on by that point, anything you can do now will aid you in being as stress-free as possible.
You get one full full day of planning per week... okay, several, if you're pressed for time. You and your groom need to decide together which day of the week to designate as being 'wedding planning day'. This will eliminate any confusion over what has/hasn't been completed because the only thing to remember is that it takes place on a certain day of the week.
Next comes the really hard part: flexibility. If he vetoes your idea for lemon cake with lemon buttercream frosting, while you tell him there is absolutely no way you'll allow his groomsmen to wear top hats and tails, it's going to be important to remember that marriage is all about compromise. If you just can't stand something, certainly voice your opinion, but also be sure to let your soon-to-be spouse explain why he's so set on x, y, z.
On to the details...
When planning a wedding, you're working with numerous event professionals from caterers and florists, to clergy and many more. Be sure to clarify all details and expectations during your initial meetings. Getting a contract that has specific dates, times, and locations is a must. If you have a certain dress code in mind, let them know exactly what is (or isn't) appropriate. This is not the time to operate on the assumption that people will know what you mean.
This should go without saying, however, always, always, always read the fine print before you sign any of the contracts. Make sure you're well aware of cancellation policies, fees, and any other clauses that may prove important. In addition, ask if there is any kind of a grace period in which you will be able to cancel. While few want to think their dream day may not come to fruition, life happens. One of you could get cold feet, there may be a tragedy, you may need to postpone. The point is you never know. When you're sinking tens of thousands of dollars in to an event, it is important to cover all bases.