Engaged? Must-Dos for the Best Wedding Ever

By Natalie Gitt

With the question popped and a ring on your finger, it’s time to start planning your big day. Embarking on the path to matrimonial bliss is exhilarating, but can also feel daunting—especially if it’s unfamiliar territory. Whether you’re hiring help to plan an extravagant 150-person affair or taking a more budget-conscious DIY route, we’ve compiled a list of must-dos to put together the celebration of your dreams.

1. Envision your day.

Before you do anything, soak it in. Share the news, host an engagement party, then start daydreaming about your special day. As you revel in the joy of being engaged, envision what your dream wedding looks like. Maybe you've made a Pinterest board for wedding dresses and cakes; maybe you're researching eco-friendly wedding ideas or honeymoon destinations. Of course, there are certain factors—budget, venue, guestlist, whether you’re hiring a wedding planner or tackling it on your own—that determine what’s realistic. With these in mind, you’ll have a solid foundation to start planning.

2. Set the date.

Consider your timeline. Are you getting hitched in a few months, or waiting a year? Will it be local, or are you planning a destination wedding? (If you’re asking guests to travel, give plenty of notice so they can plan accordingly.) From there, choose a few ideal dates to keep things flexible when booking your venue and vendors. Find out if your dates align with any big events, which could impact things like accommodations and traffic. Once your date is set, it’s time to get your invitations out the door—but first, you’ll need a guest list.

3. Curate the guest list.

Guest lists have many variables—plus ones, children, and extended family, to name a few. Already have a number in mind? Great, all you need to do is fill the spots—all the easier if there’s flexibility to go over. If you don’t, your budget and venue’s capacity can help you narrow it down. If either is limited, you’ll likely need a few rounds of revisions to get to your final head count. (Remember, if your wedding costs $100 per person, shaving 10 people off your list can save you $1000.)

4. Create a checklist.

There’s no shortage of comprehensive wedding checklists out there, and while they’re great to pull from, we suggest making your own so it’s custom-tailored to your wedding’s needs. A good way to start is to break out a timeline to spread your to-dos over. For example, finding wedding planner services and a venue will come in first; shopping for wedding dresses, arranging flowers, catering, and a wedding photographer will fall somewhere in the middle; making a dance playlist or grabbing favors for your wedding party might happen closer to the big day.

5. Craft your registry.

Arguably the most fun part: working on your wish list. When else do you get the opportunity to ask for that shiny new espresso machine or the set of dinnerware that’s been sitting in your cart for months? Just be sure to work on it as a couple so you’re both aligned on what you’re asking for. Don’t just register big-ticket items, either—having a range of price points is helpful for your guests. Have fun with it, but remember to keep it practical, too. Need wedding registry gift ideas? See our ultimate wedding registry checklist here.

6. Fine-tune the details.

As they say, it’s all in the details. As you make your way through your wedding checklist, you’ll likely encounter certain items that need a little extra attention. Are you hiring a DJ, or entrusting your best friend? Is the wedding planner handling decor, or are you turning it into a DIY wedding decoration project? Who’s printing your wedding invitations? From food to florists to favors, the success of your dream day lives in the details; leave yourself ample time to make sure none are overlooked.

7. Wedding favors.

Whether you have a full-on bridal party and group of groomsmen or just a single maid of honor and best man, it’s always nice to treat the people showing up for you. While the thought of bridal party gifts may conjure up images of robes and plastic wine cups adorned with “bride tribe” or “I do crew”, there’s a world of options beyond personalized wedding favors. For example, you could swap in crystal wine glasses for your entourage and The Rocks Glasses for the groom’s, because nothing says thank you like a long-lasting, well-made gift they’ll cherish and use. (If you’re looking for wedding party gift ideas, we’ve got plenty here.)

As you start planning, remember to embrace the excitement, the love, the challenges—all of it. While it’s not always smooth sailing, this period leading up to your forever together is a sweet one that you’ll look back on fondly. Don’t forget to enjoy it!

Want to win up to $1750 in Fable pieces on your registry? Enter our Wedding Gift Giveaway—and if you haven’t yet, start your wedding registry here.

Wedding party gifts your crew will love.