Q: My fiancé and I just got engaged, but now everyone is asking us about venues, catering and flowers. How do I even start thinking about wedding planning?

A: Yay, you’re engaged! But wait, now you have to plan a wedding, which is definitely no easy feat. While planning one of the most special days of your life may seem daunting, take it from someone who’s going through it with you (and who has talked to a lot of brides and grooms and vendors) and just breathe.

Start by talking to your beau about what you both want. Have you always pictured yourself getting married in an intimate ceremony along the beach, or do you have your heart set on a black-tie affair? Make sure you’re on the same page with your other half. You don’t have to have it all figured out yet, just knowing the difference between wanting a 500-person party versus a 50-person affair is essential to start planning.

Second, it’s time to have the money talk. It may be uncomfortable, and thinking about costs may make you want to just elope already, but everything comes with a price. You should have a ballpark idea of the money you’ll be able to spend so you can start looking for vendors in your price range.

Next, you’ll need to choose two vital things: your wedding venue and wedding date. Many popular wedding venues book up to a year in advance, so choosing one is the absolute first thing you should cross off your to-do list.

Once you have your wedding venue and date, you’re basically done! Well, at least you have the when, where, and who figured out. There are many sources for helpful planning guides such as timelines on when you should do what and organizational tools (spreadsheets will be your best friend).

My general advice is to take your priorities into consideration - for me, photography is a huge priority, so that’s the second vendor I booked after the venue. Photographers do generally book around a year in advance, so that, as well as wedding dress shopping, should come next. Then, fill in the holes by researching all of your other details. Get a big wedding binder going, or go pin-crazy with Pinterest boards.

If it gets overwhelming, just remember that at the end of the day, you get to marry the person you want to spend the rest of your life with – and to me, that’s all that matters.

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