Here are three keys to wedding planning that let you enjoy that post-proposal glow and set you up for a stress-free day!

You deserve an incredible wedding day and a seamless wedding planning experienceno matter what. Making your wedding day vision into a reality does not have to be complicated!

Your head is probably spinning! With the afterglow of the proposal still fresh on your minds, the reality is also starting to set it...

"Oh. I actually have to start planning, don't I?"

With over a decade of wedding industry experience (including planning my own wedding) I have attended, photographed, and helped plan hundreds of weddings, so with confidence the best advice I can give is:

Don't overthink it, just jump in with intention and excitement.

It's gonna be great!

Here's an easy way to jumpstart the planning process:

• Blueprint Your Vision •

Your first step should be to dive in and draft a general idea of how you want your wedding to be. At this point we're talkin' images of general inspiration, your guest count, possible locations, the vibe of the venue, color scheme, and the time of year— or maybe a date if you have a date that's important to you already!

More importantly though, this includes your "why".

This will serve as your North Star, so no matter what happens in the planning process or what decisions you have to make— you can always look to your North Star for an easy answer.

What do you want from your wedding day?

Perhaps an odd question, but it's one you should ask yourselves! Maybe you want a big party to celebrate with your family; or perhaps you dream of an intimate, private getaway with just you and your fiancé; maybe you want to marry privately but have a big reception when you're ready!

Whatever it is for you, find it and use it to guide you every step of this new journey.

• Set Priorities •

What really matters to you?

Planning is going to happen in layers, and the way you spend will be layered too. My husband and I certainly did not spend as much on the venue as we did on photography and videography. We cared deeply about the images from our wedding day because we knew we'd be reflecting on them every year fondly— and we have, every single year!

This is a conversation you want to have together as a couple too, just in case compromises need to be made. I recommend each of you make a list of the elements of your wedding that excite you the most or that you really want to get right! Then, relate that list to the different wedding professionals.

For example, if you want the reception to flow well and everyone on the dance floor all night, then your wedding DJ should rank high on your list. If you've always dream of a very particular style of venue and cannot imagine getting married anywhere else then your venue should rank high on that list.

Talk about it together, and keep this list in your back pocket for when you start to really dive into each wedding vendor later on.

• Set Your Thresholds •

This is all about your budget, and those above-mentioned priorities!

Let's be realistic, no matter who you are reading this, you will have a wedding budget. Whether that's 10k or 100k, you have a budget! With this, consider the average costs of weddings in your area, how much you want to spend, and how long you want to be engaged before the big day! From there, pick a range from "ideal to manageable".

Now with this in mind, apply this sort of filter through the different wedding professionals you'll have to book, what you value most, and where you'll want to spend a little extra.

Like any other industry, price can be a reflection of quality and the customer service experience. You must be mindful of what's important to you and invest in what matters most to you.

This is why laying out that blueprint and setting your priorities early is important!

Boom. With these simple steps laid out, you're already well on your way to a perfect day.

These may seem simple, but by leading with these considerations you are already on your own perfect path to success! Get excited, have fun, and cheers to finishing the first steps.

Bonus Tips:

• Decide on a Wedding Planner •

Unless you're the DIY type, we highly suggest investing in a wedding planner.

The sheer amount of energy you will save from help with decision fatigue is already worth hiring a planner, but they really shine in those final 2-4 weeks before the wedding when all the details come together.

Wedding planners see around corners in a way that only experienced professionals can— especially regarding major events or nuisances.

• Book Your Venue •

Depending on how you ranked your priorities, this one may already be at the top! Booking a venue first is important to many people, and I have to agree. This was the first thing my husband and I decided on!

For most, booking the venue sets the stage, helps you finalize a date, and gives you a launch point!

Want a free planning consult

with an industry pro?

If you want help getting started, I happen to be a total nerd about weddings and planning, and would love to help!

My name is Clayton and I'm a wedding photographer based in Chicago with over a decade of experience and a passion for all things lovely and creative.

Enter your email below for a free consultation with me. I want to help make your wedding dreams a reality.

Live your Dream Wedding!