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Ready to start planning your wedding? Well, it’s a multi-step process that usually takes months. We know, we know, you’re excited, but if you take on too much too soon, you’re bound to get stressed out. Heck, you may even find yourself in bridezilla or groomzilla territory - which no one wants. To save yourself from biting off more than you can chew, start with the five main pillars of wedding planning.

Here are the first things you need to do to start planning your wedding.

Set your budget

After you’ve finished admiring your new bling and have started sharing the news with your inner circle it’s time to buckle down and start planning your wedding. The first step in your journey is setting your budget. Now, we know talking dollars and cents is never fun, but it’s a conversation that needs to be had. Meet with everyone who’s contributing to your big day to figure out exactly how much you can spend to save you from going overboard in the early phases of planning. If you need help sorting out which funds go where use our handy dandy budget tool.

Pick your date

The second thing you’ll want to do is set your wedding date. You’ll want to make a list of major holidays, important events (think milestone birthdays and anniversaries) and local celebrations that may mess with your wedding plans. You’ll probably want to avoid all of those, if at all possible. Also, if you’re looking to cut costs, you may want to think about choosing a date in the offseason as opposed to smack in the middle of the summer.

Make your guest list

Before you get into plotting out your guest list you’ll want to take a few deep breaths and channel your inner yogi, because it can get a bit stressful. Remember, your list doesn’t have to be set in stone just yet, but you should have a pretty good idea of the number of people you’ll be hosting. Do you want a massive 400 person soiree or only 20 of your nearest and dearest? Have a meeting with your spouse and both sets of parents and hash things out. This ballpark number will help you find a venue that fits your group perfectly.

Book your venue

When you start planning your wedding, you don’t need to have your theme ironed out or your colour palette set in stone to find that perfect venue. In fact, your venue might be just what you need to inspire your wedding’s finer details. If you fall in love with a rustic barn it may encourage you to choose wildflowers for your arrangements and a more casual catering style. Alternatively, if your heart gets stolen by a swanky hotel ballroom you may be more inclined to host a black tie affair complete with a live jazz band and ritzy hors d'oeuvres.

Hire a planner

Now, not everyone hires a wedding planner. If you feel like you want to go it alone, or simply hire a planner for the day of, that’s more than fine. However, if you’ve already got a hectic schedule and are prone to getting stressed out, a wedding planner is worth looking into. This guy or gal will be your wedding’s fairy godmother. They’ll help you hunt down the right vendors, manage any crisis and keep everything running like a well-oiled machine.

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