Start the biggest year of your life off on the right foot! Here, ways to start planning your big day from Janaury 1 on.
Credit: Bryan Gardner

Maybe it's the festive spirit, or maybe it's all the wintery romance. Either way, holiday season is prime engagement time. If you're one of those lucky people who recently said yes to a ring, kick-starting your wedding plans is likely to be the number one priority on your New Year's resolutions list. Here's our best advice on getting started with your wedding plans so you can start the year on an organized path.

The A to Z of Planning a Wedding

Decide Whether to Hire a Wedding Planner

You don't have to decide right away whether or not to hire a wedding planner, but your life certainly gets easier the sooner you do this. Most wedding planners have been around long enough to know what you can expect to spend on a wedding, what venues are the best and what venues are difficult to work with, who the best vendors are, and so much more. This decision will likely come down to budget restrictions, but you should start having this conversation ASAP to minimize your planning stress in the new year.

Send Engagement Announcements

While many modern couples opt to send a save-the-date in lieu of an engagement announcement, some still prefer to send both. Since your engagement news may have gotten lost in the holiday shuffle, the beginning of the year could be an opportunity to check in with loved ones and send a note announcing your good news.

Customize Your Own To-Do List

Getting organized in the new year should be your top priority. There are endless resources available online that'll guide you through creating a wedding to-do list, but the best way to approach this whole wedding planning concept is to start a timeline that works for you. You might take bits and pieces of a few different guides and work them into a format that's easy for you to use, update, and edit on a regular basis. This will be the most useful organizational tool you'll have throughout the planning, so don't hesitate to include as much information as possible and update it with status notes on a weekly or daily basis.

Discuss Budget

Establishing a wedding budget isn't an easy thing to do, especially with the mass amount of information available online. The reality is that you can spend anywhere from $50-$2,500 per guest on a wedding and there's not a great way of determining numbers without a bit of industry experience. It's often easiest to work backwards by finding out what your families are willing to pitch in, what you have in savings, and making your wedding plans accordingly. However you go about it, having these conversations with your parents, grandparents, and each other is one of the most important tasks to get through early in the planning and the fact that the holidays have just passed may mean everyone's feeling a little extra generous.

Establish a Guest List

Post-holidays is a great time to start working on your wedding guest list. You've likely had a chance in the past few weeks to reconnect with family and friends you don't see as often as you'd like and with them fresh on your mind, it's a good idea to start jotting down a rough invitation list. You'll need to have a sense of guest count prior to shopping for venues and setting a solid budget, as every decision will be based on this number.

Start the Research Process

Sourcing vendors, venues, and attire will likely take you a few months to sort out. The beginning of the year is an excellent time to take advantage of the winter quiet and kickoff your wedding research so it doesn't feel like it's cutting into all your free time. Blogs, magazines, social media, and recommendations from friends and family should all be fair game at this point but be smart about not getting sucked into spending too much time on research. That wouldn't really fit in your new year goals of being organized and time efficient, after all.

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