5 Steps to Starting Off Simple

Before you start looking at dresses, before you make appointments at venues, before you sign anything:

1. Find a way to stay organized, with both paper and digital resources. Get an accordion file with tabs for easy labeling. Sign up for del.icio.us and a gmail account (if you don’t already have one). Google gives you access to two very valuable applications with that account: Docs and Notebook. E and I live and die by our digital notebooks. They’re accessible from any computer and mobile device. Download checklists from Martha Stewart, Real Simple and anything else you can find. Include everything on the “To Do” list at first, and then delete unnecessary items as you create the vision for your day. Explore sites like Muse Weddings for budgeting and organizational help.

2. Write up a guest list. Most checklists recommend doing this later on. I highly recommend doing this first. You should always have the number of attendees in mind when choosing a location. Make two lists at first: the dream list and the reality list. This will help you choose easily. You may think you’ll only have 75 guests, but if the invite list turns out to be 300 you’ll be locked into a contract and the panic will begin.

3. Read anything you can find online and create a spreadsheet of resources separated by categories. Most magazines publish their content online, and you don’t have to page through the many many ads. Note EVERYTHING you like in Google Notebook. Go to the bookstore. They usually have a decent selection of books that you can peruse. Don’t buy a book until you have looked through it extensively. Don’t buy if it has only one idea that you like or need. Google the project instead.

4. Give yourself a month or two to start feeling your way around without making any decisions. Answer any and all questions regarding decisions you’ve made or haven’t made with, “We are enjoying being engaged and we’ll let you know when we do make a choice.” It is SO much easier to make choices when you have a clear vision of what you want. If, for various reasons, you choose to have a very short engagement (anything less than 6 months) realize that triage is necessary. You don’t have a lot of time, so staying organized and being efficient is absolutely necessary. Go through the typical wedding experience, take out what you don’t want, add what you desire, and create to do lists to get to that point.

5. Hire a wedding planner, if you can, before you sign any contracts. If you don’t have the funds, find a friend who has married in the same area or an online community. Frequent blogs, ask questions. As you can tell, this community of wedding lovers is open and welcoming. We’re always happy to help!