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Congrats! You're Engaged! (Now What?)

Three paths—plus shortcuts to tackle the major tasks on your to-do list.

 
Book it to City Hall
Forget the venue searches, gown fittings, and stationery samples: Hightail it downtown.
Plan it all yourself
Hunker down with your partner and prepare to obsess over linens, centerpieces, and who sits next to Grandpa.
Hire a Pro
Write a few checks, attend tastings, and let the wedding planner handle the details.
12 – 9 Months
  • Create a budget with your partner and feel out your parents to see if they're chipping in
  • Leaf through bridal mags and bookmark wedding blogs for inspiration
  • Plot the initial guest list
  • Set date and venue; You can't do one without the other. Decide if the ceremony and reception will take place at the same location.
  • Book an officiant
  • Lock in stationer
  • Meet with caterers; In this town, you can take the traditional caterer route, consider a top-notch restaurant, or go completely off the grid.
  • Start a registry!
  • Peruse wedding sites and note planners of weddings you adore
  • Focus on dress search
  • Set up meetings with top planning candidates
  • Adjust budget to accommodate
  • Hire a planner!
9 – 6 Months
  • Plan to take day off from work.
  • Hire photographer and videographer
  • Order dress!
  • Plan honeymoon!
  • Book florist
  • Hand over payment No. 1
  • Order dress!
  • Check in a few times per week to approve vendors
6 – 3 Months
  • Buy dress
  • Purchase your rings
  • Send out save-the-dates
  • Arrange transportation
  • Purchase your rings
  • Order cake!
  • Send out save-the-dates
  • Breathe easy knowing everything is being handled
  • Purchase rings!
  • Order cake!
  • Hand over payment No. 2
3 – 1 Month(s)
  • Reserve a band or D.J.
  • Mail invitations!
  • Get marriage license (it's good for 60 days)
  • Tasting with caterer!
  • Mail invitations!
  • Get marriage license (it's good for 60 days)
1 Month – 2 Weeks
  • The city requires you to wait 24 hours before you say your "I do's."
  • Make a fancy-dinner reservation
  • Invite a witness (make sure he or she brings ID)
  • Discuss shot-list witht he photogs, review the playlist with band or D.J., and confirm transportation details.
  • Track down delinquent RSVPs
  • Finalize readings and vows
  • Work on seating arrangements
  • Have fight over seating arrangements
  • Your planner will track down late RSVPs, but she won't do your seating arrangements
  • Have fight with fiancé over seating arrangements
Less than 2 weeks
  • Get marriage license
  • Pick up a bouquet (at a bodega, a florist, or you can get one at the city clerk's office).
  • Tell friends and family to come!
  • Send out final payments
  • Buy bridal-party gifts
  • Pick up dress!
  • Go for a massage
  • Delegate
  • Get mani-pedi with bridesmaids, sip Champagne in the bridal suite, and get ready to party!
  • Buy bridal-party gifts
  • Pick up dress!
  • Hand over final payment

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