A few months back I had the pleasure of being a guest writer on Lace & Ruffles Wedding Blog.  I wrote a piece on the Do's & Don'ts of Wedding Planning, breaking down what I believe to be essential tips to consider when first starting to plan your big day.  I thought I would re blog it, and hopefully it will be help all you newly engaged couples get your plan on!!

Do be realistic about your Budget!  Weddings are expensive; so make sure you are realistic about costs right from the start.  Invitations, attire, and licenses are just a few of the often “forgotten” items in a budget.  Be sure to consider EVERYTHING when first crunching the numbers.

Do create your Guest List before choosing your venue.  This way, if you want 250 guests to attend your wedding, you won’t have to trim the list to accommodate a small venue…or vice versa!

Do create a Theme for your wedding.  Have fun when deciding on a theme and don’t be afraid to get unique.  Ranging from a “Vegas Casino” to a “Maui Luau”, or a symbol or phrase woven throughout the day, themes ensure your wedding is unforgettable!

Do have a specific list of Music you love and hate.  Music sets the tone, so it’s extremely important that the music at your wedding reflects not only you as a couple, but also the wedding as a whole.  Ask your DJ to work with you to make sure your music list is what you want to hear!

Do hire a Wedding Planner, even if just for the day. It’s your wedding, so make sure that you and your families get to actually enjoy it!  Weddings are stressful enough without having to worry about the small details, when what you should be focusing on is saying, “I do!”

Don’t feel restricted by the word “Tradition”. Traditions are wonderful, but before putting your big day together, decide which traditions are actually important to you.  Chances are there are a few you won’t mind skipping in exchange for something more uniquely you!

Don’t only ask for $$.  While for many couples monetary gifts are the most practical, it’s always a good idea to set up a small registry anyways.  This way, you’re still giving those guests who want to give gifts a list of things you will find useful.

Don’t Assume! When meeting with your vendors, make sure to specify everything you will be expecting from them, and get it in writing.  For example, if you want the photographer to wear a suit…put it in the contract!  It may seem extreme, but people aren’t mind readers, so work with your vendors to draw up a contract that you are both happy with.

Don’t forget the Back-up Plan.  When planning each and every aspect of your wedding, always ask yourself what the back up plan is.  This will help to make sure that any last minute changes won’t become emergencies!

Don’t forget the Groom!  It’s his day too, so make sure to ask for his opinion (if he has one that is!)  For many couples, it is assumed that the wedding is all about the Bride, but I think many of you will be pleasantly surprised with the input your fiancé is willing to give once asked