I can remember the proposal like it was yesterday.  Though we had been talking about it for months, shopping for rings and talking about venues that we would like to consider for the reception, I was completely caught off guard when I turned around to see him down on one knee and holding my engagement ring in his hand.  I had no clue that this was when he was going to propose.  Thinking back on it, I was so taken aback that I had to have him repeat much of what he said before I said giddily said “YES” accepting his invitation to be his partner for life. 

Because we had several conversations about the wedding and reception venues, much of the big details had already been worked out.  All we needed was a date to get the ball rolling.  We knew that outside of the wedding the next biggest thing for us was the reception.  We had been to our share of receptions where the food wasn’t great and the music was mediocre.  We love to dance and wanted to make certain that everyone enjoyed the food and had a good time.

What I wasn’t really ready for were the numerous other details that had to be ironed out – the wedding party gift, colors, flowers, décor, cake, limos, dresses, shoes, wedding registry, etc.  The list just kept going and going.  I was still basking in the excitement of being newly engaged and I had questions coming at me from the left and right about this and that.  Again, we had some of the details worked out but hadn't gotten to everything.  A wedding planner would’ve been really helpful at the time but we decided to go at it ourselves and thankfully we had some really creative people who helped out and took over in some instances.  Honestly, if it had been left up to me, there would’ve been three bridesmaids and three groomsmen, but before I knew it the total number of bridesmaids and groomsmen grew to sixteen, not counting the ushers, flower girls, and ring bearer.  Yes, I said sixteen, but somehow we made it!!

Maybe you have a better handle on the details for your big day, but just in case, here are ten tips that we’ve found helpful through the years to share with our brides and grooms as you plan your wedding and all of the details to go along with it.

1.     Celebrate your moment.  I love a good excuse to have a party. Now is a great time to plan an engagement party or dinner with your close friends or family.

2.     Schedule your engagement photo session.  This is a great way to celebrate your love and what is unique to you as a couple.  Engagement photos make great save the date cards to send to your friends and family.  

3.     Start shopping for his ring.  Get an idea of his tastes and what will compliment your wedding ring if you haven’t done so already.   

4.     Talk about what is most important for both of you on your big day.  Most grooms are pretty hands off, but there are a few that like to be involved in the details too, so don’t take it for granted.  Make certain that you consider any special traditions to be included in the ceremony.  Communication is key in marriage and shouldn’t be left out here.

5.     Don’t forget to budget.  This is key.  A runaway budget can cause problems after the marriage.  Set a budget and stick to what’s most important.

6.     Start saving.  If you haven’t already, now is a good time to start setting aside funds to alleviate some of the costs of the wedding early on.

7.     Find a venue and lock down your date.  Before you can solidify other vendors, you’ll need to know when and where you will be getting married.  It’s important to get this done as soon as possible.

8.     Book your high demand vendors early.   Great vendors book up early; so don’t wait until the last minute to make selections or your favorite photographer or videographer may already be booked.

9.     Make a preliminary guest list.  This will also help you determine if the venue that you’ve chosen will accommodate your guests or if you should make changes.

10.  Most of all have fun along the way.  With so much that needs to be done to prepare for the big day, schedule date nights, relax and don’t stress. 

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