Congratulations! You're engaged and feeling giddy and excited and you are more than ready to start planning your dream wedding! Here are some wedding planning tips on how to get started without going crazy... because it doesn't have to be that way...
1. Determine your budget. Figure out the type of wedding you want. Do you want a destination wedding, a church wedding in your home town, a small and intimate wedding, a rustic wedding, a grand wedding? Also, starting your guest list will help in setting your wedding budget.
Additional Resources: "How to Find Your Wedding Style"
2. Select a handful of date possibilities, be careful to watch for holidays, and check to see if there are any special events going on in or around the town where you'll be getting married, as that can affect travel, vendor availability, and lodging. Always better to be aware of these types of things than running into problems as you get further into planning. Here are some tips on "How to Choose a Wedding Date" from Bridal Guide.
3. Select your Wedding Party. Here are some tips from Lauren Conrad.
4. Vendors. Inquire with vendors such as wedding venue, wedding planner, wedding photographer, cinematographer, band or DJ, florist, cake designer, caterer if your venue doesn't offer one, hair/make-up artists, officiant, and any vendors you would consider "must haves" before you finalize or make any deposits. Set up meetings and visit your wedding venue possibilities. Many popular wedding vendors book up to 12 months in advance.
Additional Reading: http://theeverylastdetail.com/what-a-wedding-costs-use-professionals/
5. Say Yes to the Dress. Once you've booked your wedding venue (and what season you'll be getting married) then you are set to start looking into your wedding dress. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to schedule fittings and alternations. Important to coordinate with your seamstress and wedding photographer so you'll have enough time to do your bridal session before the big day. Also consider bringing your bridesmaids along and decide on bridesmaids attire.
Additional Resources: "What to Expect from your 1st Wedding Dress Fitting"
6. Book your engagement session so you'll have enough time to order and send our your Save the Dates. It's recommended to get the Save the Dates out by around 6 to 9 months before the wedding day once you've finalized the guest list. Try to book your engagement session around the 10 month mark. If possible, also check into setting the date for your bridal session.
9. Create your Wedding Website. Here's one on The Knot, and also on Wedding Wire! Guests will have lots of fun seeing your photos, reading your story, and it will be easy for them to have all of the information all in one place.
10. Around the 4-6 month mark, nail down things like wedding day transportation, the final guest list, pick out wedding invitations, discuss with your planner any rental items you'll need for the ceremony or reception, finalize rehearsal dinner and lodging planning, and schedule a meeting with your officiant to discuss ceremony readings.
11. Mail wedding invitations. It's recommended to mail these out 2-4 months before the wedding day. Here are some tips on how to address them!
13. Inquire about getting your Marriage License around the 6 week mark. According to Martha Stewart, "Marriage License and Blood Test: The groom is traditionally responsible for making the appointment to get the marriage license, arranging for the blood test (if required), and calling the marriage-license bureau of the local government where the marriage will take place to find out what must be done and how far in advance."
15. Groomsmen Attire
Additional Resources: "Groom's Suit Guide"
16. Around 3-6 Weeks before the big day, meet with your wedding planner to decide on wedding favors, thank you gifts, seating chart, wedding day timeline, and figure out any tasks you'd like to delegate to wedding party, friends and family (as many as possible if not all of them). Now is the time to finalize all of those little details so you don't have to stress over them as you get closer to the big day.
17. Bridal Shower - 1 month prior to the big day. Here are some "Bridal Shower Do's and Don'ts"
18. Around the 2 week mark, be sure to confirm the final plan with wedding vendors (or delegate to your wedding planner) and plan for any final payments. Give final family group photo and wedding day shot inspiration list to wedding photographer.
19. The Week Of.
20. The Wedding Day!! Try your best to relax as much as possible, take it easy, drink lots of water and eat something so you'll have energy. Delegate as much as possible. And last but not least..... enjoy your day and don't stress if there are any last minute things that come up because remember....