We receive a lot of wedding-related emails and announcements for “Let Them Eat Cake.” A recent dispatch included an article on the top eight things an engaged couple should scratch off their to-do list first. Though we could argue that every part of a to-do list holds its own value, we didn’t completely agree with this particular list. So, we decided to share our thoughts (in no particular order) on what we think are the most important tasks to tick off the list.

We both agree that booking your wedding venue should be at the top of list. Melanie says it’s especially important to book your venue first if your ceremony and reception are in two different locations. Kelly here: I think it’s important because the venue (or venues) really set(s) the tone for a wedding. It’s also a major factor because churches, places of worship and venue locations can book up well in advance and you want to ensure you get your dream location.

Determining your budget is also crucial to the planning process and must be accomplished before most anything else. Your budget, as Melanie points out, will inform every other decision in the process. Kelly here: though this didn’t make my top three, I will agree that in order to do anything in the process other than picking a date, a budget will have to be set.

To round out her top three, Melanie also notes that if a couple plans on working with a coordinator, it’s essential to lock that person down as soon as possible. She continued, “Coordinators generally take on only a certain number of weddings per year so you want to get them secured fast. You especially want to secure a coordinator before reserving, booking or buying any other elements of the wedding, because often they have vendor agreements and can sometimes negotiate better rates with preferred vendors.”

For me, Kelly here, I am more of a dreamer and like to forget that finances are involved (wouldn’t we all want to live life like that). So, behind booking a venue, my suggested important to-do list items were to book your entertainment and to book your photographer. I personally do not come from a family that could provide a lavish wedding, but I do know that any good photographer can make almost any venue and other wedding elements look stunning. As someone who doesn’t like to see photos of themselves, I think a relationship with a photographer is important. You need to trust that that person has your best interests (and photogenic side) in mind. Also, like most things in the planning process, photographers are hired quickly as there are many events – like engagement photos and bridal sessions – that lead up to the Big Day.

Finally, I believe most people remember the food and the entertainment at a wedding. That may just be me and my family and friends, but if you have a band that rocks or a DJ that plays all the right songs it can make all the difference. I also put photo booths, cigar bars, live painters, and other fun extras in the entertainment category. In New Orleans, it’s all about the experience. It’s how you made someone feel — and there is no better way to accomplish that than through their stomachs and their souls.