You just got engaged! Congratulations, love! If you’re reading this, I’m willing to bet that you have 2 or more wedding magazines on your kitchen counter right now.  Of course you do because this is such a beautiful and exciting time! We know that with this ring, you’ve now got some planning to do, Lucy!  We’ve put together a list of our Top 20 Wedding Planning Tips to help make life a little easier!

1. Take your time.
Each bride and groom have different wants and desires and dreams for their special day!  With that said, the planning can take some time.  If you are working and juggling other responsibilities, try to give yourself some time to accomplish the wedding planning as well!

2. Do your research on your vendors.
There’s something to say about doing your homework. Don’t just go with a vendor because it is the first one you came across.  Research your vendors.  The Knot, Wedding Wire and the web are all great resources to allow you the ability to get a sneak peak into their practice, their experience and their reviews.  Take the time to do the research as it is well worth your efforts.

3. Plan for 45 minutes to do your Wedding Portraits.
Your day will fly.  It is quite important that when planning your Wedding Day timeline, you incorporate 45 minutes for your Wedding Portraits.  Ditch the cocktail hour so you could make sure to have memories that will be passed down to generations to come.  Many of my brides value the recommendation and even opt to doing a First Look to make sure to capture that time for just them and their lovebugs. This is a commitment that you will want to stick to!

4. Plan as a team with your Fiance.
Sometimes as strong women, we take on daunting tasks and just plow forward.  Let me remind you that you are embarking on this journey with your fiance as you two become 1.  Share in the planning duties as you will life responsibilities!

5. Make a checklist and become a project manager!
The most stressful thing you could do to yourself is wait for the last moment to get all of your to-do’s checked off. Tackle a few things each week and keep yourself on track. You’ll be thanking your 8 month from now self later!

6. Consider hiring a day-of coordinator.
Your wedding day is the big day.  Allow yourself the opportunity to sit back on this day, take everything in and enjoy!  These professionals are there to keep your day smooth and keep everything on track.

7. Don’t let perfect get in the way of the experience.
We fall into this naturally, don’t we?  Just know that your guests will value the details you’ve given such thought to, but they might not catch them all.  With that said, allow the experience to supercede perfection.  Spoken from a perfectionist!

8.  Consider a Friday or Sunday wedding to help with costs!
Will and I were considering a Sunday wedding on a holiday weekend because many of our families had to fly in for our wedding.  But let me tell you, the cost could be much lower than a traditional, Saturday ceremony. We ended up going with a Saturday ceremony because we opted out of the holiday weekend, but know that the option is there!

9. Location, location, location! 
Make sure your location is conducive for an outside wedding and weather conditions!  Outdoor Florida weddings in summer are tough and travel to the Northeastern states in January can be tricky to plan against Mother Nature!

10. Get recommendations from your vendors.
Your vendors have probably worked with tons of other vendors.  If you have a trusted vendor that you really connect with, ask them for their opinions and recommendations on some other vendors you’ve had your eye on.  9 out of 10 times, they’ll have great feedback.

11. Shop smarter.
If you are into credit card points, consider opening a line of credit with a company that offers a stellar rewards program. We signed up for the Chase Sapphire Reserve card at an incredible 100,000 point sign on bonus.  The card has incredible travel perks and benefits, but beware of the $450 annual fee.  If you read the fine print-you could see how you could make that $450 work for you!

12. Don’t be afraid to trim the list.
Most venues charge approximately $100 a person in an average environment.  If you need to consider the budget, don’t be afraid to trim where needed.

13. Venture out of the cake norm!
Tiered wedding cupcakes are all the rage!  And, might I add they are super gorgeous?!  If you are up for clearing the norm, consider your alternatives.

14. Plus 1s.
You may need to consider your Plus 1 rule.  We’ve heard all the time from our brides – no ring, no go. Every wedding budget is different.  For that reason-probably wise to be prepared for the question if your gal friend could bring her new guy pal.  There is nothing wrong with politely declining the inquiry.

15. Limit stress factors.
We’re not going to fib, wedding planning involves its own set of stressors.  I mean, you are planning for a life event!  But, it’s important for your own mental health and well-being to limit as much stress as you can!  If one phase of planning is getting a bit complicated, step away from it and return with a clear head and open mind.  Lord knows this was on rinse and repeat for me!

16. Book a wedding hotel block.
Many times you could negotiate perks and special benefits for choosing to go with one hotel for your guests lodging.  If there are overnight parking fees, ask the hotel if they would consider waiving them for your guests.  Does the hotel have a nice breakfast area? Consider asking if each guest could have a breakfast voucher or discount.

17. Get your Marriage License.
Unfortunately, we could not schedule a time to get our marriage license so we had to take off from work to do so.  Make sure to plan it in your schedule, especially if you’ve got to coordinate both schedules.  The marriage licenses could be effective for only a certain period of time, so timing is key!

18. Set a budget.
And keep it!  For the majority of newlyweds, your next step is to purchase a home together.  Down payments are no joke!  Try not to let the extras get in the way of your goal.  If you can’t answer yes to will your guests remember this in 5 years, it is a pretty safe bet you’re good to pass on the extra.

19.  Do not skip your meal at the reception!
I get it, you need to hug and say hello to all of your guests! As a guest, I’d want you to hug and say hello to me too!  If you could hustle through the table hopping, you may be able to grab a few bites of that delicious mahi or filet that is sitting at your sweetheart table! My hubby and I had a code that we’d squeeze each others hand when we were going to inch to the next guest, then politely end the conversation as we transitioned hugs in and out!  #marriedteam

20.  Just breathe. 
Everything is going to work out.  At the end of the day, know that your guests are so excited to share and celebrate your special day with you both.