Start Here

You’ve decided to make it official and permanent. Now the big question is where to begin so that your wedding will be the wonderful day that you’re hoping for.

What you need to do first is to sit down with your fiancé (and perhaps your family if they will be contributing financially) and discuss your ideas.

Think about the general feeling for your special day. Do you want a traditional, formal wedding, or something more casual, perhaps with a theme? Or does a destination ceremony on a tropical island sound like what you have in mind?

Although it may seem unromantic, set down a budget that you feel comfortable with. If relatives are offering to contribute, get a realistic dollar amount of just how much. Does Grandpa Harry’s promise to pay for the drinks at the reception mean hosting an open bar, or is he just thinking of a keg and a few cases of wine? It’s good to know these things up front.

Consider whether or not you will have the time or knowledge to find all of the services necessary to make your dreams come true, or whether it might be prudent to hire a professional wedding planner to help you.

Determine an approximate date (at least the month) for the wedding.

Make a list of the guests to be invited and decide whether or not you wish to include children…

Think about where the ceremony will take place as well as the reception. Finding a venue that will accommodate the number of guests and the date you have chosen can be a challenge, so begin looking as soon as possible.
Another time consuming task (although it can be one of the most fun) is finding the perfect dress.

Bridal salons have sample dresses for you to try on, however the dress for you will probably have to be ordered from the manufacturer and this may take several months.

Selecting music, entertainment and a photographer should happen early in your planning process, since good vendors book early.

Most Important—Enjoy the planning process.

Alice Goetschel is the owner of Memorable Occasions by Alice and the co-author of The Simply Elegant Wedding Planner.