couple looking at wedding cakes
Elizabeth Fogarty

Whether you’re a powerhouse planner or just a little neurotic, it can be tempting to try and tackle every single element of wedding planning the day after you get engaged. But take it from me, this approach will not work, especially when starting to plan a wedding. You’ll only get overwhelmed with your massive to-do list, and ultimately will feel too scatterbrained to make a dent on planning anything meaningful at all.

So make your mantra “Take it slow,” and memorize this list of details you don’t have to fuss over when you’re just starting to plan a wedding—it’ll save you some serious brain power that you can put into other, more pressing matters (like your engagement party outfit!).

Seating Charts

Maybe you’re already worried about where to seat your two warring uncles from opposite ends of the political spectrum, but listen, it’s not worth the energy yet. Seating charts are actually one of the last things you’ll work on, as you can’t make them until you’ve received all of your RSVPs and know your final guest count. (Which for most of us, will only be a few weeks before the wedding!) So just put it out of your mind till then. You’ll work through it, and dealing with those few problematic people won’t be as much of a struggle as you think it will be, especially since at that point, you’ll have a much clearer vision of what your reception venue will look like (and how you can arrange everyone so everyone has a great time). 

Dinnerware Rentals

Thanks to Instagram and Pinterest and the prolific rise of “wedding inspiration shoots,” one of the earliest images that might pop into your mind when you start picturing your wedding for the is an artfully designed table. One with, like, fifteen layers of plates, and more wine glass types than you ever imagined existed. It’s fun to muse, but don’t freak out about what to order just yet. Sure you can get inspired (the fun part!) but don’t start crunching numbers or getting anxious about the tiny details when starting to plan a wedding, because you won’t know what you need on your table until you’ve selected your dinner menu and your bar setup, and until you’ve got a more definite idea of your guest count. (You don’t have to wait till you’ve gotten all of your RSVPs for this part, but you also shouldn’t be ordering anything until you know whether you’re having 150 guests or 250). For example, if you’re serving dinner family style, you’ll need to rent different items than if you’re doing a buffet. The good news? Once you have more details locked down, ordering rentals is actually really simple. So no stress, please.

Your Wedding-Day Schedule

“How am I going to fit all of this in one day!” If that sentence is already keeping you up at night, just a few weeks into starting to plan a wedding, pump the breaks. You’re so not expected to plan your entire wedding-day itinerary ten months before the day even happens. There’s a ton of stuff that has to happen between now and then that will make scheduling your big day so much easier, and worrying about it now, before anything is set in stone, will only add unnecessary anxiety. Even better: Once you’ve booked your officiant, caterer, bar services and DJ, all of these professionals will come together to help you make your wedding-day schedule, so you won’t be planning it on your own! 

Paying for Everything at Once

The sheer cost of your impending wedding might be the first thing that causes panic after the engagement excitement wears off. But take comfort in the fact that you’re not expected to pay the full cost of everything upfront. Most vendors work in deposits, meaning you’ll pay 15 to 30 percent to book them and get them to work, then pay the remainder of their fees plus tip on your wedding day. Think of it like a payment plan! Should you book things that are probably out of your budget with reckless abandon and tell yourself you’ll come up with the money in eight months? No! But if you’ve already got some wedding money saved up, and are picturing it all disappearing instantly the first month of your engagement, don’t! You have more time to work out your payments than you think.


It can be fun to muse about your first dance and other important wedding-day songs, but don’t feel anxious about locking down each of these early on. Your DJ can change these pretty late in the game (thanks to the powers of the internet!) so you have plenty of time to work through all of your and your partner’s ideas, even test some songs out!, and change your mind before it’s no-turning-back time. Instead of getting caught up in picking your key songs when starting to plan a wedding, make sure you land the band or DJ of your dreams—no matter where you live, the best ones will book up early, and a bad wedding emcee is way more of a problem for your wedding than going back and forth on your processional song the day before you’re set to walk down the aisle.