So, your sweetheart has popped the question, and you said "Yes!" and now you're on this crazy, fun ride we call engagement! The big question is: where do we begin? It's everyone's first question and a very good one at that! Before you start making any phone calls to vendors, focus on a few main tasks...
First thing on the list: Think about the type of wedding you want! Don't get into the design minutia just yet, think big picture... Are you more of an over-the-top, black tie wedding? Or are you casual, hawaiian-shirt-clad backyard wedding? Maybe a barefoot destination wedding on a tropical island? This choice will lead you through lots of the upcoming decisions. For example, if you want an intimate elopement and a small dinner reception, your guest list will have to be slim and you don't need a venue that seats 300.
If you're wavering in the middle and not sure which direction to go, that's okay! Move on to item number two: Budget. This one is clearly a biggie, and talking about money is hard! But talking to your future spouse openly about this will just make the process easier in the long run since you will both be on the same page. Whether it comes from only you two, or if family is willing to help, come up with a final number. Then talk about your priorities within your budget. Have you had your heart set on getting a live band? All you want is a 10 course gourmet dinner? Flowers are all the decor you need? If you haven't decided already, this may also help guide you on what type of wedding to have. Budget priorities may also help later in the process, as the quotes roll in when you decide what is a "must-have".
Next up? The Guest List. Bust open a Google Doc and make a big old list of all your family, friends, old roommates, distant cousins (twice removed) and comrades- the whole gang. Something I find helpful for future seating charts- in an additional column, also list the guests relationship to you, i.e. Groom Family, Bride Co-Worker, Plus One, Bridal Party, etc. Now we will have to be honest with each other- as hard as it is to admit, there are people that you're iffy about inviting. Open a second tab in that Google Doc and using the same format, list those people and their relationships there. You can always add them to the main list later. Its fairly safe to assume your final guest list will be roughly 20% lower than the original invite list, so you are now armed with an approximate guest count.
This is the point at which the real planning begins with venues, invitation suites and all the fun stuff ...and where I can start to help you! Let's grab a latte and chat about all those things you have already decided, and get the wheels spinning on all the other elements that will make your wedding day the best. party. ever.