One of the hard things about writing a wedding blog is that you never know where your readers are in their plans. Some people have been planning for years and others are just starting to think about their wedding. Those who haven't been planning for years often find the wedding info available online more confusing than helpful.

We thought with everyone getting ready to go back to school it would be a good time to offer an intro course for those of you just entering the fun that is wedding planning. This week, we've got the first five steps you need to take in your wedding planning. Believe it or not, your basic first step has NOTHING to do with Pinterest or inspiration or wedding blogs, but since we want to keep your interest, we've included a few photos from Elizabeth Henson Photos to illustrate the steps.

OK, I know I said five steps, but I have two bonus steps. Let's call them a & b.

a. Get engaged
Sound obvious? you'd be surprised at how many people start planning an ideal wedding before they have an ideal partner. Starting your wedding planning too early can lead to unrealistic expectations and unnecessary arguments with your partner. You're both getting married, you both have a say in the wedding plans.

b. Buy a notebook
Seriously, you'll need it for ideas and numbers and questions you want to ask.

1. Know your budget
This is absolutely your first step. You have to know approximately how much money you have to work with. So, have the difficult conversations with your fiance, your parents and your fiance's parents. Find out if your parents or future in-laws are willing to contribute a specific amount to the wedding planning or want to pay for a specific thing. It may also be that they are not planning on contributing anything. If you and your fiance are completely responsible for paying for your wedding, set a number that's realistic. Don't wipe out your savings.

2. Get an estimate on your guest list
You don't have to know exactly who is and isn't invited (and definitely do not start issuing save the dates at this point) but knowing how many people you have will give you an idea of how much money you have per person. Knowing your approximate guest list number will also let you know which venues are available to you.

3. Find a Venue
You can't do anything else until you know where your wedding will be. Once you choose a vendor that will dictate your wedding date, and possibly vendors.

4. Send Save the Dates
How important save the dates are depends on how many out of town guests you have. If most of your guests are out of town, you'll want to give them a heads up. This can be as informal as an email or a formal part of your wedding stationery suite.

5. Pick your wedding party
Finally, something fun! Why wait so long to do something so important? One reason is to keep you from jumping in to an agreement you come to regret. The Internet is full of stories of friendships ruined because of a wedding. Take a few deep breaths and give some thought to the rest of your wedding before asking your friends to join in the madness.

Next week - What happens next? How do we get to these moments?

Wedding Credits:

Location:  The Hilton Virginia Beach 
Bakery:  Tutu Cute Cakes
DJ & Photobooth:  Astro Entertainment
Florist:  Eclectic Design Florist
Hair:  Katrina Serrano (Instagram #hairbytrinaserrano)
Make up:  Kathryn serrano
Dress:  Vera Wang
Rings:  Finks Jewlers
Photography: Elizabeth Henson Photos

Submitted via Two Bright Lights