Congratulations on your recent engagement! Enjoy the bliss while you can, because once you start the planning process, it can be both exciting and overwhelming. There's a lot to think about whether you do or don't hire a wedding planner. Here's a list of advice to make the process go a bit smoother.
Set a realistic budget
Thanks to Pinterest, many couples get their hopes up for weddings way out of their price range. You'll need to calculate how much money you can spend on individual vendors, attire, photo, entertainment, etc. It's easy for unexpected costs to pop up too, so make sure to have a little extra set aside just in case.
Take some time to research all the vendors you will need, and compare their pricing and packages. Doing so will help you understand what type of budget you'll need. You should even meet with several candidates before making a final decision. And remember, don't try to cut costs by hiring a friend, or someone with little experience. That's a risk that might not be worth taking. Instead, cut down on your guest list, or alcohol and decoration budget.
Start collecting images and color swatches
This is where your Pinterest will come in handy. Before you can plan any decorations or accessories, you'll need to have a color theme and some inspiration ideas. That way when you start working with vendors such as the florist, you can show them exactly what you want.
You'll be amazed at how much info. you're about to start collecting. Business cards, pamphlets, contracts, notes, etc. The best way to keep it all together is by getting a folder or binder for everything wedding related. Keep things separated by vendor category also. It'll be so much easier to find everything when you need it. You may also want to consider creating an email specifically for wedding things. Otherwise your personal email will get filled up and you'll start losing important information.
Once you finish the planning prep-work, it's time for the real planning. Ideally you've given yourself at least 9-12 months prior to the wedding, as some vendors book more than a year in advance. You don't want to have to settle for a photographer with bad reviews just because all the good ones are booked. Try not to stress yourself out, and happy planning!