beautiful freckled bride rests her cheek against her knees and shows off her floral headpiece. Images by Comfort and Cashmere. Dear Bride Series about wedding planning.

The wedding planning process is here and it might feel a tad overwhelming. You’ve told your family; popped champagne, and got a manicure with your gal pals. Now you’ve started to talk about ideas with your fiancé and finally the two of you are ready to start the wedding planning process.

Great! But now what? Here are a few starter points to get started in your wedding planning process:

Dream of your Perfect Wedding!

Schedule a date with your fiancé to go to dinner, sit together and have a glass of wine and day dream about what you want your wedding day to look like. This is part of the fun of the wedding planning process—dreaming and imagining yourselves into the best day of your lives so far! Where is your ideal place to get married? Do you want sunset on a beach somewhere or do you want a wedding surrounded by all your friends and family with a big ole party to celebrate? Or maybe you envision yourselves standing on top of a mountain—just to the two of you—saying I Do!

One of the most enjoyable and fun parts of the wedding planning process is the stage where you dream together about your ideal wedding and look for wedding inspiration online, in magazines, and from weddings you’ve already attended. Pick up some wedding magazines some of my favorites are Martha Stewart Weddings, Lake Bride Magazine, and Magnolia Rouge—to help with some inspiration. You can also use Pinterest to look for unique and amazing wedding ideas (but I suggest you set a timer and look for specific things or you will easily fall down the rabbit hole of Pinterest wedding ideas and it may be weeks before your friends and family see you again).

Nail down a wedding budget!

Once you’ve done some dreaming and inspiration hunting, the next step in the wedding planning process is to discuss a budget and find ways to make your vision fit that budget. They say that money talks, but unfortunately, most people don’t enjoy talking about money—it can get a bit uncomfortable—but soon you’ll be merging households and finances anyway, so it’s a good idea to use wedding planning process to learn how to get on the same page, money-wise now! Before you can move forward confidently with your wedding planning, you have to nail down your budget, as well as expectations and limits if your family has volunteered to help cover some of the costs. Once you have your budget dialled in, you can easily play with the pieces of your wedding day to make sure it all fits within it.

timeless and beautiful winter bride smiles over at her groom while outside with snow in the background and a pop of pinks and reds and eucalyptus in her bouquet. Comfort and Cashmere images.

Bride wearing a simple, yet elegant princess dress with a pink belt made of crystals, holds her bouquet and looks down with a winter wonderland behind her.

Determine your wedding size!

Once you have a budget in mind, decide if you want a big bash or a small, intimate wedding and then work on ways to fit this into your vision and your budget. If your family is footing the bill, make sure to involve them in some of your wedding planning conversations. You don’t have to take all of their suggestions, but you’d be surprised at some of the excellent and sage advice you’ll receive from parents, grandparents, and even siblings who have all gone through their own weddings. Some of the best advice I received when planning my own wedding was to ask myself if I would take a prospective wedding guest out to dinner and pay $50+ for their meal. If the answer was yes, then I was encouraged to invite them to our wedding.

The food costs of a wedding are always a large part of the overall cost and things can get quite costly as your wedding guest list grows. However, this is one of the best places to play around with your budget to make sure you can still have the wedding of your dreams without putting all your plates on one cart, so-to-speak! If you find that you have to feed a large number of people, think about providing a less elaborate meal, offering appies instead of a full meal at the reception (a very popular thing to do these days) or not providing a meal at all. There are many ways to stay within your budget and still keep your guests happy! Just remember to do whatever works best for you, not everyone else. This is your show and your guests love you and will be happy to make your wedding day as special as possible, with or without a big, expensive meal!

superbabe brunette bride wearing a lacy, spaghetti strapped gown that accents her shape, holds her flowers and smiles alluringly at the camera

Research wedding venues.

You know your budget, you’ve discussed your ideal wedding, and have started getting an idea of wedding size, you can start looking around for your perfect wedding venue. Start by researching online, but then call to get information on pricing and availability (and request a tour) of any venues you absolutely love. Most venues book anywhere from one year to two years in advance, but there are lots of venues available, so try to nail down your ideal venue as soon as you can, but don’t be discouraged if a few of them are already booked on your chosen wedding date. You may be disappointed if you don’t get your first choice, but, trust me, whatever venue you end up booking will soon become the best venue you could have chosen!

close up of a bride's chin and a spaghetti strapped, lacey gown, accented by a beautiful pop of color with zinnias and other exotic flowers

This is just the beginning of the wedding planning process. I’ll have more to come soon! In the meantime Brides, if you want a quick checklist to get you started on your wedding planning, click here to download now! 

And if you’ve recently become engaged and are ready to start your wedding planning process, let’s chat!

bride wearing a simple gown with an up do, runs a slender finger along the side of her face and displays the writing of her tattoos on her arm and a pop of purple lipstic. Dear Bride series on wedding planning

More from our Dear Bride Series:

Dear Bride I: Don’t Forget Self-Care!

Dear Bride II: Remember Your Why!

Dear Bride III: You’ve Got This!

Dear Bride IV: The Bridal Plan

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minneapolis WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER

Fueled by equal parts strong coffee and French 75’s, I spend my days capturing the kinds of images that convey distinctive emotion through intentional moments and create elevated images you’ll treasure for a lifetime. I showcase your story and your love in an exceptional, gracious way. I believe in real moments, heartfelt conversations, love stories that grow stronger through the storms and the kind of joy that can be found in the simplest of moments together. When I'm not tearing up during the vows, you'll find me whipping up a new recipe in the kitchen dancing to Sinatra with my husband, or snuggling with my mini me.

I’m Rohana Olson

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