Congratulations are in order for your engagement. You have officially entered the busy pre-wedding season that comes with being engaged. There are few times in life that are more fun, busy and exciting! It’s important to keep things moving in the right direction to ensure you enjoy the process and focus on one thing at a time. Here’s a sample to-do list to help you organize the first few month of your engagement and make progress toward your big day.

Schedule Your Engagement Pictures

Plan on getting your engagement photos taken early, especially if you have a specific location in mind for these photos. These will come in handy when it’s time to make save the date cards, your wedding slideshow and have photos printed as decor for your reception.

Set A Budget

Money speaks volumes and it’s too easy to become attached to the “perfect” venue, decor, photographer and DJ before even establishing your budget. It’s a good idea to do some research to get an idea of the costs involved in each aspect of your wedding and reception, but don’t start signing contracts and making purchases before you have an agreed upon budget. You will be able to set clear priorities, see areas you can cut costs and make priorities so you aren’t forced to scale back on the most important things as your wedding day comes closer.

Consider Hiring a Wedding Planner

If you are getting married in an area you are unfamiliar with or a city that is popular for weddings, it’s a good idea to hire a wedding planner. Meet with a few planners before choosing your wedding planner and be clear about your overall budget. Wedding planners can lead to a highly successful wedding and cut out a tremendous amount of stress during an emotion season and day. They can help plan the wedding and make sure the rehearsal and wedding day run smooth, while also taking care of issues that often crop up during the day.

Set A Wedding Date

One of the first things you will have to do is decide on a wedding date. This has to be completed first before you or your wedding planner can start making plans. Make a list of what may contribute to choosing the wedding date, such as making sure immediate family can attend, the venue you want is available and key vendors you want are available. Invite other decision makers in on the conversation, such as parents who may be contributing financially.

Decide on A Rough Number of Guests and Gather Contact Information

Gathering contact information early will save you stress later as you will need addresses for shower invitations, save the date cards, invitations and thank you cards. Having a general idea of the number of guests will also help ensure the venue and reception hall you have in mind will be large enough.

Choose Your Wedding Party

Asking friends and family members to be part of your wedding party is one of the fun parts of planning the wedding. Choose who you want to be in the bridal party and ask them early on so they can make plans. Think through how large of a bridal party you want to have and what’s best for you and your fiancé.

Decide On and Reserve Venues

After you decide on your wedding date and have a rough guest list you will want to reserve the ceremony venue and reception hall. This is critical so you will have a specific cost for budgeting and your date will be secure.

Start Wedding Dress Shopping

Wedding dress shopping can be a lot of fun, but it can also be stressful if you are still waiting for your dress to arrive days before your wedding. Go to a few area shops and choose a style. Keep in mind dresses that you fall in love with, but don’t purchase them on the spot. Visit the dress shops with your top few dresses after a few weeks and take your best dress critics who know you well and who will be honest and supportive.

Book the Videographer, Photographer and DJ

The best videographers, photographers and DJ’s book up quickly for the next wedding season, so start researching and interviewing vendors and consider reputable vendors who offer all three services. Choose the vendors who are willing to bring your vision to life and make sure they have the experience and are competent and professional.