Yaaaas, you're getting married!!!

You did it! You said yes and put a ring on it.

Now what?

Congratulations, this is such an exciting time in your life! After the initial excitement wears off, it's time to start thinking about what to do next. Getting engaged is just the first step in a long journey towards the big day. It's important to take the time to plan and prepare, so everything goes smoothly.

I know how stressful it can be to figure out what the next few steps are to take in planning your big day. I want to bring things back to the basics to help you breath and slow down. You can take things one step at a time to plan your wedding stress-free!

First-- RELAX. It seems like a lot, but if you break it down, you'll see that it is doable and can be easy.

1) Choose your date.

This step alone can feel overwhelming! I mean, you have 365 days out of a year to choose from, how will you choose the BEST day to have your wedding?!?! What day works for everyone's schedule? What season should will have the best weather and scenery? How far out should we plan? How soon can we get it done???

The list of questions and worry goes on.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when picking your date:

  1. Keep it simple and DON'T WORRY about everyone else's schedules because sometimes, not everyone can make it, so be sure to focus on your closest family and very best friends. I remember trying to juggle everyone's schedules from out of town and going back and forth between multiple dates, but when it came down to it--and looking back now--I would have been okay if it was just our immediate family and grandparents
  2. Ask yourself: do you want your ceremony indoors or outdoors? Of course keeping the time of year and weather in mind is important, but if you want an indoor ceremony, you could totally get married in the hot summer or cold winter! (I can always go for dreamy snow pictures. ;) Spring and Fall are general ideal months as far as weather goes, but that also means everyone else is getting married those months too. Often times, in the slower wedding seasons (summer/winter), venues and other vendors offer cheaper rates, which could help with the budget.
  3. Your honeymoon comes after the wedding! There are lots of ideal honeymoons and everyone has preferences on what they enjoy. If you want to go on a Caribbean cruise, avoid hurricane season. If you want to relax on the beach, winter might might be a little chilly. If you want a getaway to a cabin in the woods snuggled up by a fire, then winter would be dreamy! It's something simple to keep in mind for once the wedding is over.

2) Pick your venue.

The setting of your wedding plays a huge part in the look, feel, theme, and space of how your day is going to go. There is a wide variety of places to choose from with different levels of service: a sole wedding venue, a golf country club, a state park, a backyard... Somewhere like a venue vs. a backyard would also determine how much work you or your family wants to put in. A venue can provide everything from decorations, to tables and chairs, to food, and a DJ, depending on their different packages which makes for almost hands-free planning. A backyard wedding requires a lot more work and to be honest, more stress--but you get to be more involved with every single detail and have control of the setting.

When you are looking at different venues, think about where the ceremony will take place; what is the lighting going to be like at the time of the ceremony? Imagine where the special moments will take place; do I have a private area with plenty of space to get ready? What is the scenery like for taking family pictures and couples portraits? Keep in mind your priorities.

3) Find your wedding planner.

I've had brides who plan the entire wedding from start to finish themselves and everything turns out great! I have other brides that find a wedding planner and they are a huge help to maintain a no-stress day because you don't have to worry about "Who is picking up the flowers?" "Did the cake arrive yet?" "Where is the DJ?" and have a million thoughts running through your head when you should be focusing on you and your soon-to-be spouse. A wedding planner can be a huge asset to creating your dream wedding. I have found a consistent pattern that the most chill and relaxed weddings I have ever attended have a wedding planner!

4) Book your photographer!

(And videographer)

Photo and video are the only thing you will have to remember what your wedding day was like. Think about it... This day is one of the single most important days of your life to celebrate you and the love of your life. Your children and grandchildren will want to see what it was like. Finding someone who will capture your love for eachother and the individual moments is essential. You want a photographer who is easy to work with and will understand your dream and vision. Read more about how to choose the best wedding photographer for your wedding. Find a storyteller. Find an artist who will invest as much in you, and you will in them. Once you find your photographer, book your engagement session shortly after and have fun!!

Reminder to breath. Again. And again.

Once you have nailed down these first few steps, remember you don't have to be in a huge rush with months to still plan. Create a checklist and take things one at a time. Focus on one item per week. Don't do it alone!! Whether it's your planner, mom, sister, or maid-of-honor, always bring someone with you along the process to help give you assurance that you are making good decisions.

Before you know it, the wedding will come and all of the hard work will pay off so you can relax and enjoy living the day that took you months and months to plan to the fullest!