The question has been asked and you offered up a resounding yes! So now what? There are parents to be called, announcements to send out, and most importantly, plans to be made. While you may be ready to walk down the aisle tomorrow, you’re going to have to hold off unless you want to forego the wedding of your dreams for one that takes place in the courthouse. Between finding bridesmaids, choosing a locale, and flipping through stacks of bridal magazines to uncover the perfect dress, your head is spinning and you’ve begun to suspect that your wedding day may never arrive! But don’t fret. It will all come together with some careful planning and few drop-dead dates in place.
Whether you’re organizationally and creatively challenged or your friends call you the poor-man’s Martha Stewart, there is a way to get your wedding planning underway. Start by being honest about how much time you can devote to the planning process. If you work a lot, have other obligations, or are simply not up to the multitasking required to keep it all straight, then you may want to consider hiring a wedding planner to help you out. They can pull together an event, often with minimal input from you. You’ll be asked for opinions, presented with options, and generally left to make the ultimate decisions, but you will avoid a lot of the leg-work, price-checking, and haggling that go into making your dreams a reality. One caveat, though: ask your friends for referrals if you don’t want to end up telling horror stories about how you got scammed for thousands of dollars and no wedding to show for it.
As for when you should plan your wedding, a good rule of thumb is to set the date for at least a year from the time you get engaged. This should give you plenty of time to book a venue (do this as soon as possible), choose a season (depending on when you get engaged, this could mean your wedding takes place more than a year down the road), and send out save-the-date announcements, invitations, and reminders (giving friends and relatives plenty of time to save up and plan for travel). Of course, if you’re not entirely particular about the arrangements or who is able to attend (or if you plan to elope), then you can plan your wedding day for much sooner. Otherwise, give yourself plenty of time to make up your mind (and change it).