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Five Things You Must Do Before Planning Your Wedding

You have thought about this day for most of your life. Your fiancee has proposed to you and you said "YES!" Your head is in the clouds and your big day will be here before you know it.

So now what do you do?

You know that the first thing you will be asked after someone sees that rock on your finger is, "When is the big day?" Like you hopped online the second you put the ring on your finger, broke out the trusty old planning binder and went to town. We all know that's just not the way it happens.

Who will make all of these great ideas you have come alive? You certainly can't plan and execute all of this magic by yourself. Of course you already know that there is a lot to do. But before you get started there are some things that need to be done right off the bat:

1. Let your closest friends and family members know

Please note that I used the word "closest" in reference to your friends. Anyone else would certainly spill the beans on Facebook and spoil the surprise for the rest of the world. Also, even though your family may be super reliable, make sure that you tell them to be very discreet with this information - you want to make the BIG announcement yourself, which brings us to......

2. Announce it yourself on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.

You know how you yourself feel when you see a special engagement announcement from a friend. Share that joy with your own friends and be the source of all that joy yourself. Get ready for a whole lot of congrats!

3. Relax for a minute!

Planning a wedding is not necessarily stressful, but it CAN be if you allow it to be. Take some time to actually enjoy your engagement. After all, this is a time of your lives that should be enjoyed and relished. Don't just jump on the wedding planning wagon at the very start. Give yourselves two or three weeks before you get going. If your wedding date is far out enough, all of your favorite wedding vendors will still be available.

4. Talk about your budget and make sure to FINALIZE it while you're at it

Everyone wants to do their best with saving money with any big endeavor, but you cannot embark on this journey without setting a budget. You know those family members that will be pitching in want to hear what you have to say. Talk to them and get their input. If your Aunt Judy saus that she will pay for your DJ, go out there and get specific numbers for her. If you have a preferred vendor already in mind and they aren't within your budget, talk to them to see if any concessions can be made. You may be surprised at the outcome. Also make sure to be realistic with your budget. Don't plan on spending $1800 on a photograher without doing any research first. Some things will cost more than you anticipate, and some things will be less. Careful and strategic research will save you a lot of headache. Plus nothing is worse than owing $4500 the week of your wedding and not having any idea where the funds will come from. Your wise budgeting will save you from this headache ;)

5. Go out there and get those wedding professionals you love so much!

Go ask your newly married friend where she got that awesome ice sculpture. Check out websites of the vendors that you have heard about and READ their reviews. You may even go as far as to ask your wedding pros to give you the names and email addresses of some clients that they have recently worked with so you can email them yourself. There are no rules here - YOU make the rules. Keep in mind there is no incorrect way to do your research.

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