How to Prioritize Your Wedding To-Do List

Happy Monday, everyone! This is our first Amarvelous Wedding blog post of 2020. As we mentioned in our last Amarvelous Honeymoon post, we have an exciting lineup of topics scheduled for you this year. However, if you have a topic that you’d like us to cover, feel free to write a comment and let us know!

As with 20/20 eyesight, the year 2020 will be one of clarity. Let’s begin the year with bringing everything into focus by centering yourself, reevaluating your priorities, and updating your to-do list. Hopefully, by the end of this post, you’ll be inspired to begin a de-stressing organizational process.

I personally operate with lists, and if it’s not on a list then it just won’t get done. On a normal day, one could have multiple lists either written down or in their head that cover both personal and work to-do items. Add planning your wedding or event on top of regular priorities, and it can become overwhelming since there are even more to-do lists in the mix.

In our December 2019 newsletter, we teased a method of prioritizing, called the Eisenhower Matrix, that we’ll further elaborate on in this post. But first, let’s discuss how we currently track to-do lists, how to clear your mind, organize your papers, delete the digital, and prioritize those lists into one cohesive method.


Typical Methods of Tracking To-Dos

Each person has their preference on to-do lists, or a combination of a few methods, that work best for them to get tasks done. The most common methods of tracking to-do lists are:

  • Making mental notes
  • Writing them out on paper
  • Setting calendar reminders
  • Using a smart phone “notes” app
  • Using a smart phone “reminders” app
  • Using sticky notes on paper or digitally on your computer

Clear Your Mind

If you don’t write down your tasks the second you think of them, but instead have an internal list, then this section is for you. To combat the stress of an endless list of tasks, I like to take a few quiet moments to sit down and write out all the to-do items floating around in my head. Think of this as a way to center yourself by clearing your head of all the racing thoughts. For now, include everything from all facets of your life: personal, work, event.

I actually can’t think of a single advantage of keeping exclusively mental notes, unless you’re worried about confidentiality of some of your to-dos. Disadvantages of mental-only lists would be that you can forget items, most people won’t be able to have an extensive list just floating up there, and you may pick more enjoyable or easier tasks to do first over actual prioritized tasks.

Organize Your Paper

If you are like me and have ongoing written out to-do lists, then collect all those lists as well. You’ll want to add these items into the first list you compiled from your head. This could come from a notebook, scratch papers, sticky notes, or otherwise. The goal is to have only one sheet with items listed out by the time you finish.

Advantages of a paper to-do list are that you can take it anywhere you go, and there is something quite therapeutic or cathartic to physically cross items off of your list with a sharpie as you achieve them.

Disadvantages of a paper list are that as you cross off your list, you may not enjoy looking at a half blacked-out sheet—so there may be some chaos as you organize your life with this method. If you get sick enough of it, then you may want to clean it up and rewrite the list a few times as you cross off big chunks. Another thing to consider is that these are running lists. You may need to add in new items as you think of them. If the lines are being filled with completed tasks, then you may need to rewrite the paper to allow room for new ones.

Delete the Digital Lists

With computers at work and home, and with sophisticated smart phones with user-friendly apps, there are many ways to track to-do items digitally. It’s awesome to have a digital list that you can take with you on-the-go via smart phone. Go through all your technology, and similar to what we did for the paper lists, compile all of your tasks into one master list.

Advantages of a digital list are that it can stay clean, since you can delete items as you go, and just type in new ones to replace them. You can also print a paper if you’d like, cross things out on paper, then later update the master list on the computer.

Disadvantages of digital lists are that because technology is all around us, you may have ongoing lists in too many places. Beware of making a list on your computer at work, as you may not have access to it at home (or vice versa) without some type of cloud syncing.


The problem with all of the methods listed above is that they’re just lists. Tasks are not all equal in importance or deadline. Sure, deciding a color palate for your wedding could be hours of fun spent on Pinterest and the most exciting project, but there are most likely other things on that list that are more urgent than browsing social media. Allowing yourself to pick and choose from the master list is like inviting a child into a candy store and saying just choose one. Of course, they are prone to picking the largest rainbow lollipop.

Focus on prioritizing your tasks, and begin to think of what is important in your life right now, what has deadlines, and what can wait to be done (even if it is the most fun or the easiest and you would prefer to do it first). Then take all your written-out items and break them down into a time management matrix. The Eisenhower Matrix below will help you prioritize your time into four quadrants broken down by urgency and importance:

Quadrant 1 tasks are most urgent and most important—these are your top priorities with the soonest and strictest deadlines. These tasks should be worked on, or at least started, before all other Quadrants.

Quadrant 2 tasks are still important but less urgent—these are just as important as Quadrant 1 tasks, but they are not as time-sensitive, so you can schedule them for later.

Quadrant 3 tasks are still urgent but less important—these are just as time-sensitive as Quadrant 1 tasks, but they are not as important, because only a few other tasks should depend on these tasks getting completed. If possible, you can delegate these tasks to others such as your fiancé, a close family member, a maid of honor, or a best man.

Quadrant 4 tasks are the least urgent and the least important out of all. They are not time-sensitive, and little-to-no other tasks rely on whether or not these tasks get done. These tasks should be left for dead-last, and if you get too close to wedding day then you may be able to cut some out and avoid them altogether (remember, they weren’t important in the grand scheme of things).

Although some wedding planning tasks will belong in Quadrant 1 no matter what, you should avoid putting too many in that Quadrant—that would mean that you aren’t prioritizing! Your goal is going to be to push as many tasks as you can think of into Quadrants 2 and 3. For the purposes of examples, let’s specifically discuss a wedding to-do list. The below comprehensive wedding checklist is an example from Zola.

No knocking Zola, because I absolutely LOVE them as a modern registry option, but this checklist doesn’t really work for me. For example, I had an 18-month engagement, but most checklists like this begin at 12 months out from the wedding day. People—that does not mean that you can afford to spend the first six months inactive! I recommend you begin tasks right out the gate and get as much done prior to wedding week as possible.

That leads me to my second reason why these checklists don’t work. You should have an empty schedule on the two weeks leading into your wedding. Naturally, last-minute unexpected things will come up. So why would you purposefully schedule yourself the same number of tasks 12 months out as you do two weeks out? Seriously bananas. Your goal should be to just enjoy yourself with your family on wedding week. By this point, all Quadrant 1 and most Quadrants 2 and 3 tasks will be complete, and you can ease up and let the professionals take over and run the show.

So, since we now all see why this typical wedding checklist doesn’t work, let me do you a solid and provide you with the same wedding checklist tasks broken down into “a marvelous” prioritized Eisenhower Matrix. This list, inclusive of 100 tasks, will break down your hugely overwhelming wedding tracker into prioritized manageable chunks. If followed in the order that we have provided, then you will be in good shape leading into wedding day. Begin with most urgent and most important, followed by important but less urgent, then urgent but less important, and finally the least urgent and least important.

Along the planning process, if you think of additional tasks, just add them into whatever Quadrant you feel they belong in your priorities, but use your discretion—not everything is Quadrant 1!

This document was created by Amarvelous Event and is downloadable by clicking the button below

If you would prefer to create your own list, then below we have provided a blank downloadable Amarvelous prioritized Eisenhower Matrix template. There may be several reasons why you would want to design your own prioritized list:

  • You feel you may have prioritized something differently in the chart (example: taking engagement photos may be important and urgent to you whereas we placed it as important and less urgent)
  • You saw items in our prioritized list that you didn’t plan to do (example: you may want to remove speeches or party favors)
  • You wanted to add in new items (example: you and your fiancé may want to take dance lessons, or you may be doing a hair and makeup trial)
  • You wanted to specialize items (example: putting vendor company names and contact info)
  • You want to condense the list as you cross items off (example: perhaps halfway through planning, you redo the list and reevaluate high priority through low priority)
  • You want to use this method of checklist for things other than a wedding (example: personal, work, and event all in one, or three separate lists with the same method)

This document was created by Amarvelous Event and is downloadable by clicking the button below

Something to note is that the list above ends on wedding day. Since there are just a few tasks that extend past wedding day, you should track those in a smaller list elsewhere. Below are ideas of some post-wedding to-do items:

  • Enjoy your honeymoon as a married couple
  • Create a wedding album
  • Post wedding photos online
  • Finalize the wedding video
  • Return your rentals
  • Bring wedding attire to cleaners
  • Send thank-you notes to guests
  • Submit online reviews for your vendors
  • Change your name (social security, driver license, passport, work, bank/credit cards, bills, online accounts, stores, and more)
  • Add your new spouse to all important services (beneficiary or joint bank accounts, retirement plans, health insurances, and more)

The Amarvelous Prioritized Wedding To-Do List and blank template are available for download above so you can de-stress and get that clear vision for 2020 and years to come. No matter your preference of digital or paper lists, this checklist is for you. If you prefer paper, then you can download and print the handy pre-designed wedding checklist and check off the heart bullets as you go. Or you can download the blank template and handwrite in your tasks and check off as you go. If you prefer digital, then you can download the blank template and use Adobe Acrobat to add text to the document, then use it on your computer to edit as you go by striking through text or deleting text boxes and adding new ones. Feel free to save either document to your smart phone for quick reference.

Cheers to an organized, stress free, and productive 2020!

DISCLAIMER: Any brands listed above are not sponsors.

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