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When I look down at my hand and remember I’M ENGAGED the butterflies flood my stomach all over again. But, like a ton of bricks, it hit me last week, we’ve been engaged for four months…

I’ve done zero wedding planning! I guess ZERO isn’t fair. I’ve researched lots of venues. Emailed even more. We’ve settled on four that we agree on!
So, the next step is viewing them.


Tomorrow, we head to Florida for Kyle’s cousin’s wedding and we’ll officially kick off planning of our own big day.

If you’re planning an out-of-state wedding, nailing down your venue can be really tricky. But, honestly, it’s the first thing you have to check off you list before you can move on to hiring any other vendors.

I thought it might be helpful to share a few tips for those early days of your engagement.

Engagement is a short season of life. The most important part is to enjoy it to the fullest. Tell your waiter you just got engaged, and indulge in that free dessert, girl! ;)


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  • DETERMINE YOUR GUEST LIST - The guest list is important is because different venues hold different size crowds. Sounds so obvious, right? But, you don’t want to fall in love with a venue that can’t hold your entire party! You can log everyone’s name and address by using The Knot’s online planning tool. Do this early - then you don’t have to worry about collecting addresses later when you select your invitations.

  • STAY ORGANIZED - I am using The Knot’s online tool and a spreadsheet I found on Google Sheets to compare vendors and keep all my notes in one place! You’re going to want to keep all of your contracts and vendor information in one place, so that it’s easy to reference when you need it. Just search “Wedding Planner” on Google Sheets. Here’s what it looks like on the left.

  • KNOW YOUR BUDGET - If something is outside your budget, it’s best to know upfront that way you can find other options. While some people may have an unlimited budget, I think that most do not! And, I do not. My friend Betsy gifted me this book from The Knot called The Knot Book of Wedding Lists! It’s so amazing. It helps you understand how you should break down your budget and gives you an idea of what to do in the months leading up to your wedding.

  • RESEARCH VENUES - Everyone’s favorite question will be, “when’s the date?!”. But, honestly, I’ve been so hesitant to even lean towards a date without having my venue selected. Why? I feel like I can’t nail down a date until I’ve spoken to a venue about their available dates, and I’ve submitted my deposit to secure that date! But, “when’s the date?” will soon become your LEAST favorite question everyone asks you. Haha! Your venue will help determine your wedding style. So, it’s a big step in the process and will kick off the rest of vendor search! Tip: I searched venues by looking at local wedding photographer’s websites. That way I could get a better idea of weddings at the location.

  • START A PINTEREST BOARD - I’ll be honest...I don’t really use Pinterest that often anymore. But, wedding planning has revived my love for the platform. It’s FULL of ideas and inspiration. It’s definitely helping me form ideas on what I want my wedding experience to be. You can also keep it private, and only invite your bridal party to help you plan!

Without a venue, you can’t book ANY other vendors - caterers, photographers, videographers, DJ, etc. Because, they need to be able to check their calendars to see if they are already booked on that date!

I hope these tips will help you as you begin to plan your wedding. If you have any other tips for early wedding planning, please share them with me in the comment below!