Weddings have a reputation for being one of the most stressful events of your life, and with all the various components and factors that go into this supposedly joyous celebration, it’s easy to see how things can spiral out of control. Between figuring out the venue, the catering, the music, the wedding party, the dress (the DRESS!), appeasing family on both sides, all the while trying to stay on budget, wedding planning can certainly be a beast. But thankfully, it doesn’t have to be.
Follow our handy wedding planning guide below and you’ll be well on your way to lowering your stress levels as you head toward nuptial bliss.
If you’re just starting your wedding planning adventure, don’t be afraid to skip certain details. And for the things that truly deserve your attention, here are five wedding planning tips to help streamline the process.
1. Make it a team effort
Great ideas will come when you and your future spouse are together as well as when you’re apart. Either way, remember them by keeping them all in one place. Rather than jotting down wedding ideas on scattered scraps of paper, create a “Wedding” notebook in Evernote and use our party brainstorming template to house all of your ideas. You can then share it with your fiancé, and literally get on the same page.
Evernote syncs across all your devices, so your partner can see right away when you’ve added something. You can assign tasks to them, tag notes to organize them by category (think: “photographer,” “entertainment,” and “honeymoon”), and link your calendar so that key planning events and appointments never slip through the cracks. This makes it easy to share timelines and checklists with vendors, venues, and even your entire wedding party.
2. Create your wedding checklist
When you’re newly engaged, keeping the important stuff on your radar can be tough. Creating a checklist helps you divvy up tasks with your partner and avoid feeling like you’re forgetting something. Wedding experts at Brides magazine have a full wedding planning outline, starting a year before your wedding date, which you can clip and save in Evernote. In addition, this party planning checklist can help you focus on what matters most. Try it out and include the details you have in mind for your big day.
Power tip: Use Tasks in Evernote to add due dates, times, alerts, and reminders, and even make them recurring to ensure you’re staying on top of all your to-dos for your big day!
3. Decide on your vision, theme, and color scheme
What’s your entertaining style? A luxurious, upscale affair at a five-star hotel? A homegrown DIY wedding? Or are you more of a relaxed backyard barbecue couple? Whatever your vision, gather inspiration from things around you, rather than trying to dream it all up from scratch. If you’re at a restaurant and see a place setting that inspires a theme idea, take a picture and save it to a note shared with your fiancé. If you find a color scheme you like online, Web Clipper can save it alongside all your other ideas.
Power tip: Create a “Wedding Vision” or “Dream Wedding” notebook, with separate notes for all the various components of your big day. You can easily paste images and links with examples of your dream wedding dress, or cake inspiration pics, and refer back to them later. You can even link those notes to your calendar for quick access when you have your dress appointment or meet with bakers.
4. Set your budget and guest list
Many of your decisions will depend on how much money you can afford to spend and how many people will be attending the wedding. The Knot has a quick and easy wedding budget planning tool to help you break down your wedding costs, and Evernote also has a free budget planner template you can utilize. Draft a guest list with the approximate number of people you want to invite, then create your budget. Once you know how much you have to spend, you can plug the details into our event budget template and move on from dealing with finances to enjoying the fun stuff.
5. Finalize your date and venue
Once you have a clear vision for your wedding day, start thinking about which season would be ideal. Avoid dates close to major holidays and choose times of the year when the weather is appropriate. For example, a beachfront wedding won’t be as much fun in mid-winter. The most popular times for weddings are late spring, summer, and early fall. The Wedding Spot is a great resource to find venues within your price range, and The Knot has an extensive reception venue database as well.
Power tip: Keep track of your venue and vendor options by forwarding quotes to your personal Evernote email address. The emails will automatically be formatted as a note, so you can add whatever additional information you like, then easily tag it or search for it again later without having to sift back through your inbox.
6. Make time to relax
Almost as important as making sure you have your wedding planning checklists, budgets, guest list, and all the other planning components in place, is ensuring that you’re taking care of YOU. Wedding planning can get emotional (this day is a big deal, after all!), and stress levels can ramp up quickly and sometimes seemingly without warning. Utilize Evernote’s Personal Stress Log template to keep track of your mood, note your emotional highs and lows, and know when to take a little extra time for self-care.
Power tip: Getting lost in the nitty-gritty details of wedding planning can also sometimes mean accidentally neglecting the very relationship you’re planning to celebrate! Use Evernote’s Weekly Planner template to schedule weekly date nights with your partner—or at least to be aware of when you have windows open so you can spend quality time with one another (even if it just means walking through the wedding planning checklist together.)
Your wedding should be one of the happiest days of your life. Keep it low stress by following these wedding planning tips, and remember: the more you can check off before the big day (or the big week, or even the big month) arrives, the more relaxed you’ll feel walking down the aisle.
Originally published on June 13, 2019. Updated on January 17, 2023.