Just Engaged? 5 Things to Do First

Don't let the idea of wedding planning intimidate you. Start off easy by tackling these simple tasks.

5 things to do first1. Make the announcement.

Some couples don't feel "right" if anyone knows their big news before parents and other close family. If possible, tell the folks in person. If your parents don't live nearby, put in a special phone call.

For ideas on how to make the big announcement, check out Your Engagement Etiquette Guide.

2. Delve into dreams.

Sit down with your fiancé—preferably over a candlelit dinner—and let the ideas, dreams, schemes and pie-in-the-sky plans fly. Think about the style you'd like, whether it's a beach bash, a sit-down dinner in a ballroom or a ceremony on a mountaintop. No talk of money. Yet.

Get ideas from other couples' weddings in our Real Weddings section.

3. Talk money.

Oops, sorry. Dreamtime over (for now). It's rare these days that the bride's parents pick up the whole bill, so decide now on your bottom line. Find out from both sets of parents if or how much they can contribute.

Read How to Save for Your Wedding to find out how to plan a wedding without going into debt.

4. Rough out the timing.

While you don't have to set a firm date now, it's smart to at least have an idea of what month or season you want to marry in. That'll give you a sense of how long you have to get things organized.

Check out Wedding Themes for Every Season for some great seasonal wedding ideas.

5. Create a guest list.

Because your wedding's size determines where you'll hold the party, how much it will cost (prices usually rise by guest) and whether travel will be involved, creating a guest list is one of the first and most important things to do. So make your list; your fiancé and both families should do the same. You can, and likely will, cut later, but this first number will be your base.

Learn to trim your guest list with these Wedding Guest List Strategies.