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photo by Laura and Tulle PhotographyWedding Wednesday: Where to Begin

Wedding season is about to begin, but engagement season has already started! Maybe you or your best friend, or sister got engaged on one of the most popular recent holidays. You’ve screamed, you’ve cried, you’ve gone out to celebrate, you’ve bought every bridal magazine and pinned your heart out, and now everyone has begun to ask questions other than “how did it happen?” giving you the question “where do I begin?” Here are a few helpful tips to start the wedding planning process:

Budget talks: The first thing you should sit down and do as it helps determine everything else in the planning process - from the date to the venue to the number of guests to the decor. It is also time to determine who is contributing financially, be that just yourselves or parents. Standard traditions need not apply in today's time, but it is good to have an idea of wants to help. Once an amount is settled, take advantage of wedding budget apps, books, and binders, there are plenty of useful resources to help figure out how much you should allocate to what area.

Expectations and Vision: another top priority is a talk with your partner about each other’s expectations for the wedding - a private conversation with no one else's opinions but your own. It's time to discuss how you envision your wedding. Do you want a large wedding or a more intimate setting? A destination wedding or outdoor location? Do you have your heart set on a designer dress or suit? One thing my husband was very particular about was having plenty of natural light, while I wanted to get married downtown. Knowing both helped us narrow down our venues and select the perfect location for us both. And since you have already discussed the budget, you can decide what you need to compromise on and where to place funds to have the wedding of both your dreams.

The Dress: definitely something to start thinking about at the beginning is your dress. While your pinterest board may be filled with gowns, go ahead and schedule a few appointments at local bridal shops to try on different styles. Speaking from experience, the dress you think you want is almost never the dress you walk down the aisle in. And your dress choice will help determine the overall decor and style of your wedding. A romantic gown may encourage an outdoor garden wedding, where as a boho dress may make you want to walk barefoot in the sand. And again, since you have decided on your budget you know what you can spend which will help determine the gown selection too. Remember, most dresses take 6-9 months to arrive and altered, so make sure that is priority. Gentlemen note- it is quicker to get a suit than a wedding dress, so we say count your blessings, but this isn't section isn't just for her, as your suit will also help determine your style. Do you want rolled up sleeves and vests for sleek reception, or seersucker suits on the harbor?

Pick your team: You may have started asking everyone the day your got engaged, but in case you didn't, it's time to start thinking about who you want by your side. This can be one person or twenty, male or female, but they should be people who have been supportive of you and your relationship, not someone you feel obligated to include such as a childhood friend, sibling, or cousin. It is also good to ask in advance, as it is time consuming to be part of the wedding party, and you don't want them to be planning a summer long euro-trip when you plan on getting married in June!

The Date: though you will be asked this question right off the bat, most couples do not pick a date until a little bit into the planning process, so no one is really expecting you to have it nailed down. If there is a date you have your heart set on, then you may have to sacrifice the time of day or be more lenient on venue if it isn't available. But start thinking about a time of year, and since you have decided on the budget, your vision, and the style of the wedding since you said yes to the dress, the time of year won't be that hard. And once you have a time frame, you can start looking into venue's that fit with all the above.

These are just some tips to get you thinking in the beginning and starting the process of planning. Remember to communicate with each other, as that is really the most important thing to do and will make the process that much easier.

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