Planning a wedding is a process that can take as little as a couple of months or as long as a couple of years. While you'll probably aim for somewhere in the middle of that range, it's a good idea to get some other peripheral things in your life sorted out before you dive into the details of your big day. Here are five easy ways to get your life in order now.
Organize your finances.
One of the first steps of planning a wedding is determining what your budget will be. After you've discussed whether or not your parents or other family members will be contributing, you'll need to take a hard look at your own accounts and decide what would be a realistic amount for you and your fiancé to spend on the celebration. Organize your spending and saving habits in a spreadsheet, make note of any constant bills due (like student loans, food, utilities, or mortgages), and then start discussing a budget based on what's left.
Clean your house.
This one isn't directly related to planning a wedding, but a clean house does wonders for the mind. When you're too busy running from vendor appointment to vendor appointment to clean, you'll be glad you got your home neat and organized months before. You might also want to clean out a closet for any wedding necessities, like accessories, your groom's outfit, signage, and décor, as well as make a space at your desk for those important vendor contracts.
Organize the kitchen.
This one goes hand in hand with cleaning. Before you even think about registering, organize your kitchen and take inventory of everything you have, need, or want to replace. You'll be glad you did when the gift boxes start arriving.
There's no shortage of inspiration available on the internet, but knowing you'll have a fresh batch of ideas showing up on a regular basis is surprisingly helpful. Sign up for a few wedding magazine subscriptions and online newsletters.
Make a schedule.
You and your partner should establish how you want to plan the wedding: Do you want to tour venues after work, or save all the meetings for the weekend? When will you sit down together to create your wedding website? Can you give up an hour of each Wednesday evening to discuss the details, or does Monday work best for your partner? Whatever you decide, make a planning schedule that works for you both. Just slot in some free time for fun when planning gets tough. Maybe a Sunday morning hike every other week, or a weekly dinner date at your favorite restaurant.
This story originally appeared on Martha Stewart Weddings.