to-do list

When it comes to wedding planning, there’s the fun stuff, and then there’s the necessary stuff—aka those items on your checklist you might be putting off or simply dreading, dentist-style. These will differ for everyone, of course, but here are a few you might be stressing over—and why there’s really no reason to.

1. Making Your Budget

You can dream about drone photographers and sugar flowers all you want, but until you set your budget—a realistic, healthy budget—there’s very little you can accomplish in the way of wedding planning. Sit down with your partner and hash it all out. Pick a night, order some takeout, open a bottle of wine and have a solid, constructive conversation (sounds sexy, right?). We promise it won’t be as bad as you think—especially with such amazing budget tools right at your fingertips to keep you on track throughout the entire process.

2. Talking to Parents About Money

Again, no one’s excited to bring up the bill with their parents and future in-laws, but it’s a necessary evil for any couple not covering costs on their own. As long as you keep the dialogue open, honest and respectful, this interaction won’t be as bad as you expect it to be. (Get more advice on this often-dreaded to-do here.)

3. Researching Vendors

We know, we know—you want to know your dream team right now. But finding ideal pros within your price range takes a little time and energy. Don’t think of it as homework—the best thing to do is treat it like a treasure hunt. Get lost on social media or in our vendor marketplace. Research styles, scroll different websites, read customer ratings and reviews, and then narrow down your favorites. It’ll be worth the effort when you finally find the pros for you.

4. Creating a Wedding Website

You might be wondering if you actually need to take the time to make a wedding website—and we say you absolutely should. It’s the perfect way to share important wedding information with all your guests in a pretty and convenient place (while also keeping yourselves organized). Even if you’re not a design whiz, it’s easy (like, almost too easy) to create a website that’s just right, whether it’s minimalistic or decked to the nines. Share everything from the essentials (wedding time, date, location) to the extras (dress code, wedding party blurbs, engagement photos and more). For more on what to put on your wedding website, head here. Seriously, this is one planning detail you’ll enjoy.

5. Registering for Gifts

Please don’t be afraid of this to-do. It’s all about hand-selecting the exact wedding gifts you want, need and love—how bad could that be? And if you’re feeling lazy (no judgement) you can always register for cash gifts to fund amazing experiences and important future expenses. Thanks to The Knot Registry’s cash fund, cash gifting is officially cool and classy (you’re welcome). And if you’re uneasy about asking for presents, turn the tables and let your registry help someone in need. Set up your registry through The Knot Gifts Back so charities of your choosing receive donations every time a guest buys a gift (at no extra charge to you or them).

6. Cutting Your Guest List

The guest list hurdle is real, but it’s not impossible (seriously!). Part of the reason you’re dreading this piece of business is because it touches so many sensitive topics, namely budget and family expectations. But it’s also something you just need to sit down and do—together. Bite the bullet and start trimming your guest list until your celebration is the perfect size. Plus, getting your head count down to the right number will be so satisfying.

7. Figuring Out Your Seating Chart

There’s no way around this one, but we promise arranging your seating chart is never as bad as you think it’ll be. Imagine your reception tables like a puzzle you need to solve—there’s a great seat at a great table for all of your guests. It takes a little finessing, but most of it comes from following a rough formula (check it out here). Most importantly, try to tackle this task together. And at the end of the day, does it really matter who sits next to whom for an hour of dinner? You’re all headed to the dance floor later anyway.

8. Writing Thank-You Notes

Cringing at the thought of putting pen to paper? You’re far from the only one. This task will be so much easier if you keep track of who’s sent what and when. It also helps to write your notes as gifts come in so they don’t pile up. Use your guest list manager to store everyone’s addresses, record gifts received and thank-yous sent. When the pile does get high, divide and conquer. You’re partners for life now, so you might as well start with thank-you notes.