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Top 6 Tips for Planning Your Wedding - Part 1 have set your date and found a venue. Life seems good right? Your wedding is a year away. It seems like you have forever to get everything done, right? But somehow, time starts ticking by and before you know it a couple of months have passed. Sound familiar? When you sit down to figure out the next 'to dos' you become overwhelmed and have no idea where to begin. Here are my top tips for staying focused and getting everything done.

Comprehensive Guest List

Take the time to create a detailed spreadsheet with names (first and last name), emails and mailing addresses of all your guests. You will need this information for your Save The Dates and your wedding invitations so better to do it now than wait and be pressed for time. A comprehensive guest list also ensures you can budget accordingly for your wedding. In case you are wondering, the rule of thumb for your final guest count involves a 20% attrition.

Create Your Wedding Budget

If you haven't already done this, then now is the time. I know this is hard but without a wedding budget or guideline it is easy for your wedding to quickly spiral out of control. Plus it's hard to book vendors if you don't know your budget. If you are hosting your own wedding, then figure out your ideal budget. If your parents have offered to help you with your wedding then ask them if they have a specific number in mind.

Book Your Key Vendors

I can't stress it enough. Book your key vendors as soon as possible. In popular areas, key vendors are booked one year to eighteen months in advance. By key vendors, I am referring to the following: photographer, caterer, florist, officiant, videographer and entertainment. Don't stress about the details (i.e. how long do I want to book the photographer) but rather focus on the big picture. Get a couple of quotes for each vendor and then decide what works with your budget.

Don't Second Guess Yourself - Go With Your Gut

When booking your vendors, trust your gut instincts. I recommend that you call your key vendors and make sure you like them. You will be working with them for potentially a year (or longer) so it's important that you like them. They will also be present on one of the most intimate and important days of life so you need to like them and want to have them around.

Download Your Favorite Wedding App/Buy Your Favorite Wedding Book or Binder....

There are lots of wedding apps available that will help keep you on track with everything that has to be done. Check out The Knot's app - our brides tell us they love it! I also love the book The Knot Book of Wedding Lists. It's easy to read, comprehensive and offers lots of great information.

Ask for Help!

Still feeling stressed and overwhelmed? Then consider asking for help either from your partner, mother, aunt, maid of honor, sister etc. You don't have to do this alone! Planning a wedding should be fun but if you are stressed and overwhelmed then you won't have any fun. You might also consider hiring a wedding planner. This isn't a sales pitch but rather I want you to feel empowered to ask for help in whatever capacity you need it. Whether that be from a friend, a relative or a professional. A wedding planner can help guide you, keep you on track and create the wedding of your dreams. Most planners offer different packages depending upon how involved you want to be in planning your wedding. Planning a wedding is not for everyone - so take the time to honestly think about your wedding and what works for you. Our brides tell us that they feel a huge weight is lifted from their shoulders once they hire us. I love hearing that. It means that we are doing our job. They can spend time pinning their favorite photos on pinterest and working on the fun details while we take care of the big picture and all the little things that they have never thought about.

Happy Wedding Planning!

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