If you’re the type of person who needs to make lots of lists to keep their life organized, you’re in luck. When planning a wedding, the best way to keep yourself and your planning information in check, you’re going to need to be the queen (or king) of list-making.

In order to stay on top of the planning process, there are several important lists you’ll need to make. In order to help you manage them, we’ve arranged them into a general timeline of which lists you’ll need to make during your planning process.

WISHES AND NON-NEGOTIABLES

Perhaps this is what you’ll consider the “fun” list. At this point in your planning endeavors, you’re probably newly engaged and aren’t quite sure what you really want for your wedding. That’s okay! You should start with a list of all of your crazy, fun ideas. Chances are, you won’t be using each and every idea, but while your creative and imaginative juices are flowing, it’s important to document them for when they really matter.

As you narrow down this list, you’re going to want to figure out which of the items are non-negotiable. If you’re set on a certain color scheme, you might want to indicate that on your list. We know it sounds tedious and unnecessary, but keeping a list of the most important things is a great way to ensure that you keep your sights on them throughout the planning process.

A CLASSIC TO-DO LIST

This list will grow and change throughout your planning process. Once you’ve figured out what vendors you’ll need, you should make a list of the calls and appointments you’ll have to make. This to-do list can be as minimal or in-depth as you’d like. If your workflow requires you to include items such as “have coffee with maid of honor to discuss wedding stuff,” then add it to the list! Keeping a list like this is merely a way to ensure you do all that needs done, so you can compose it however you want.

GUESTS AND RSVPS

At this point in the planning process, you realize how many friends you really have—literally. As you start to create the list of people you’re considering sending an invite, you’ll have to make decisions about which people are most important to you and your fiancé. Like the other lists, this one will go through several drafts.

Once you’ve made a master list of everyone you know, you’ll inevitably cross people off. Once you’ve generated a guest list that is agreeable to you both, you’ll send out your save-the-dates and eventually your wedding invitations. As guests RSVP, you’ll want to establish a system for keeping track of how guests respond. This will consist of a system to indicate whether guests will be attending or not, but may also need to include dietary choices if you presented entrée options on your RSVP card.

Being very organized at this point will serve you well when you sit down to arrange the seating chart a little later on.

WEDDING DAY CHECKLIST

To keep yourself as organized and prepared as possible, you will want to create a list of the necessary items to bring with you on the big day. Even if you’re adding small things such as tissues or cotton balls, you’ll likely thank yourself later. Consider keeping this list on something accessible, like a note on your phone. That way, if something randomly occurs to you, you can add it to the list without the risk of forgetting.

Depending on how organized you’d like to be, you may also want to compose a list of what needs to be done on the day of the wedding, and when. We’ve seen weddings where the wedding party didn’t know where to be throughout the day, and it was like trying to herd chickens! In order to avoid this, you may want to create a basic itinerary for you and your wedding party, so that everyone knows what needs to be done, and when.

GIFTS

As a child, you probably dreaded writing thank-you notes. Now that you’re a bit older, you realize that it’s an important part of receiving a gift—especially something as meaningful as a wedding gift. When you and your new spouse open your gifts, be sure to keep a list of which guest gave you what.

Unfortunately, there may be some overlap, or you might have received an item that you already own. If this is the case, you may want to create a system of indicating which gifts will need to be returned to the store.

As you write thank-you notes to the people on this list, you can use it as a guide for telling you whose note has already been written. This level of organization will keep your mind clearer and ensure that you don’t do more work than you need to!

We hope that your wedding planning process is as stress-free and enjoyable as possible. For more wedding planning help, check out the rest of our helpful articles. Happy planning!