After saying YES, coming down from the clouds and showing off the ring to everyone including the McDonald’s drive through lady comes the wedding planning….NOW how, when, and where do you start!

There are multiple checklists/wedding planners/worksheets out there for wedding planning– but 100 of them can be a bit overwhelming and redundant. One thing that is a must in your wedding planning, find a central place to house all stuff- whether that is a simple cardboard or an elaborately decorated wedding box or a made to function official wedding planner book.  A wedding planning book does make sense as it has all the divisions and holders already there to keep you organized with literature, magazine clippings, vendor info, post note ideas, receipts… and they are not very expensive.

As far as the multiple checklists, algorithms, wedding planners, worksheets- you are going to probably need to use at least one of these at some time to get a general overview onto what is really going on depending on how clueless you are with a particular item in the wedding planning process. Two examples: you have no idea what to make sure is all included in a ” wedding budget” since it is not like you do it everyday-so you don’t want to forget several smaller items that really add up and then throw you off or you really have no preconceived notion of where to start for venue planning so need to narrow down were to even begin looking.

I do want to strongly encourage you to set an early mantra here and chat it loud and often “I will enjoy my wedding planning process”. Checklists of when you need to have booked someone by- should be a general guideline- not a big stressor point because you don’t have completed by exact day suggested. One of the things that I think is the saddest is to hear is someone wigging a bride-to-be out by making them feel like they are behind on a particular item on their wedding planning checklist! Tell them to lighten up Frances!!!

Most important, if there is a concept or a particular vendor that you have always dreamed about for your wedding, maybe even since you were a little girl, that is the person that you hit first and get your date on their calendar. Also, anyone that you would be upset because you did not have them do your wedding (i.e. the cake maker that everyone in the family has used for all their weddings and raves about, a photographer whose photo’s you have fallen in love with, the killer DJ that rocked the house at your BFF’s wedding…)- start with them regardless of what that wedding planning checklist says and work backwards from there. This will help both with budget and avoiding an avoidable disappointment in your wedding planning.

Other vendors are also a great starting point, each one can give you ideas on people that they have worked with and may have some great wedding planning recommendations for you, if you don’t already have a list compiled. This may save some time and headaches and take the concern out of phone book or internet surfing. There are multiple resources and tools to help you find vendors; hopefully you will find this magazine as one of them. Please make sure to regularly check out the virtual vendors and bridal shows in addition to the vendor listings for your area!

Please leave a comment below on your favorite wedding planning book!