We just went through the Holidays, New Year’s, and of course Valentines Day, so what does that mean?  There are quite a few of you newly engaged folks out there! You’re engaged! Congratulations! So now what? Well, whether you like it or not you need to get cracking on your wedding planning.  With the majority of Duluth weddings taking place in summer or fall, wedding season is slowly creeping up on us and that may mean that your wedding is just around the corner. If you are having a wedding this summer or fall and haven’t started the majority of your planning, then you most definitely should jump on that.

So what’s first?

First, figure out your budget. The dough, the mu-la, the ching-chang,  whatever you call it. You and your fiancé and anyone else helping in your big day need to layout a budget to put in the bank.

Within your budget, you should figure out what is the most important to you that you are willing to spend more on. Trust me, you can spend a ton on every aspect but that’s why you have a budget. For some, photography is the most important. This may be coming from a photographer, but to me your photographs are all you have left after the wedding (besides your ever-long love) so they better be good right? But not everyone is worried about the photography, so it may be your venue, or food menu, or whatever! Whatever it may be, know what is the most important to you and know what you’ll want to make sure to get the best of.

You have your budget, what’s next?

The major pieces of your wedding planning should be done around a year in advance. What are the major pieces you ask?

Your venue, including the place of the ceremony and reception should be your number one priority. But you can’t know your venue options until you’ve established a guest list number. Once you have this established choose a location that will fit your guest number. The popular locations may often book up to one, maybe two years in advance so this should be your number one priority. Think about the type of wedding you want, then find your venue!

Some places only offer their catering services and don’t allow other caterers to come in. Many are open to whatever food set up you may want if they don't have their own food service. Something to weigh the cost comparisons of.

The second most important should be your photographer. Photographers often may book a year or more in advance. If your wedding is on a popular date, then you should work on finding your photographer soon. The same goes for videographers if you plan on having one.

Wow! So many things to think about right?

A third major item you want to figure out is the food you’ll be serving. Maybe you were able to hit two birds with one stone (ouch!) when you found your reception site but if not,  now is the time to start thinking. First, what time of day will you be serving food? Do you want to serve lunch, dinner, just appetizers?  Second, what type of food? Fancy and catered, buffet, BBQFB(BBQ for the Bride)?

Once you have those large items figured out, just a few more things to think about in the six month out range.

Your DJ, band, or music. Starting looking and searching.

What times will everything take place?

A quick tip if you are planning an outdoor wedding: in the summer it is bright, very bright. Anytime from eleven to at least three is miserable, hot, and bright. Pictures will be bright, you’ll all be squinting, and no one can see your stunning dress because it’s too bright… So think about having your outdoor wedding in the morning or beautiful afternoon light.

What about reception entertainment… such as a photo booth? Many photographers today offer a photo booth as an extra or part of their wedding packages.

Dress and Invitations.

Okay I know this is the first thing you all want to go out and do, but the wedding dress and bridal party attire can be ordered four to six months ahead of your wedding date. But we all know you can’t wait for that so it’s completely  fine to do that first if you just can't contain yourself.

Invitations should be sent out two to three months in advance. Your cake should be tasted, devoured, and chosen three to six months in advance. How about transportation? Do want a professional transportation service? And finally, your flowers should be arranged for two to six months in advance. Over the period of your wedding planning start figuring out your centerpieces and decorations. All those things can be done sooner if you’re a serious planner of course!

And Finally.

Don’t forget the small stuff! Jewelry for yourself and maids, programs, favors, decorations for all tables, gifts for your party, gift table, box or basket for cards, and we can go on and on but that’s the gist of it.

I certainly hope that’s given you some thoughts on where to start with the whole wedding parade process. It’s time consuming and takes forever. But just continue to remember through it all…you’re engaged because you both are in love (Hey what? Love, what’s that?) and all the wedding mumble jumble is nothing…it just has to get done… Have fun!

This post is brought to you by our sponsor LaCoursiere Photography.

All images copyright of LaCoursiere Photography. www.LaCoursierePhoto.com.