You’re engaged! Now what? It is completely normal to become swept up in the emotions of your engagement and put off planning the Big Day, but the reality is planning a wedding — and not going crazy in the process — can take the better part of a year. It may seem daunting, but we're here to assist.
Plan to begin at approximately 10 to 12 months out. Keep this page handy, check the steps off, make notes and let the stress slip away.

1. Celebrate!
You’re engaged! Before you do anything, make sure you revel in the thrill before planning for the Big Day.

2. Pick the date
Remember to consult immediate family and make sure your day has no competition. (Are you getting married in the fall in the South? Consider checking the football schedules.)

3. Find a wedding location
Where are you getting married? Book the location. Look into ceremony and reception locations (if not the same venue) and make a decision.

4. Budget
What is the budget? Who is paying for what?

5. Guests
Realistically, how many guests will be invited?

6. Wedding Party
Decide who will be standing next to you and your fiancé on the Big Day. Optional: Plan an original way to ask your loved ones if they’ll be in your wedding party, and consider asking by presenting them with a small gift.

7. Theme
Before you get to the flowers and linens or bridesmaids dress, it’s important to pick a theme. This theme can be huge or it can just include your wedding colors. Think about the look you are trying to achieve with your wedding. Are you going for rustic-chic? Or do you want to throw a glamorous soirée in the city? Whatever it may be, your color scheme and theme will guide many aspects of your planning.

8. Officiant
Who will officiate your wedding? Whether it’s your favorite priest or your beloved parrain, make sure they have your wedding date on their calendar.

9. Take Engagement Photos
If you’re lucky, your preferred photographer will include an engagement session in the wedding package. These photos can be used for announcements, save-the-date cards and on your wedding site.

10. Thank You Notes
Usually, an engagement party is thrown for the couple in the first few months. This is a good time to gather thank you notes for every occasion. First, send any for engagement presents you may have received already. Then make sure you have additional cards for bridal showers and your wedding presents.



Note: This article has been modified from the original, which appears in New Orleans Bride Magazine. For all things bridal, visit New Orleans Bride Magazine’s official blog with daily updates, “Let Them Eat Cake,” at