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I just got engaged...Now what?

I founded Carats & Cake to change the way business is done in the wedding industry.

Just got engaged? Here are some tips to help you get started on planning your wedding!

woman looking at her engagement ring

Photo credit: Cohen/Ostrow/Photodisc/Getty Images

For many, Feb. 14 marks the end of engagement season, which means planning season has just begun. That’s right, it’s time for all you newly engaged couples to stop staring at your new bling and start creating the wedding of your dreams! What comes after the proposal can be the most overwhelming part of the whole experience. In an effort to eliminate as much stress as we can, we've listed a few tips on how you can get started planning your wedding.

Just breathe

Whether you are planning to get married in two weeks or two years, take the time to enjoy being engaged. It’s an important step in the whole wedding planning process, so stop and appreciate that you have found "the one” before you jump right into planning.

Talk about money

Finance isn’t exactly the language of love. But what you plan to spend, how you plan to spend it and whose money you are spending will contribute to every decision you make about your wedding. The majority of couples go over their budgets, so starting a dialogue early will eliminate future frustration.

Create boundaries and set expectations

This is when the fun really begins. At the end of the day, the wedding is about you and your fiance. However, you are bringing two families together, so it is important to clearly communicate as a couple the type of wedding you want to have (big or small), who you want involved in the planning process (mom, best friend, mother-in-law-to-be) and what specific responsibilities fall on each individual (you vs. your fiance vs. your families). The key here is that you clearly define the roles you want each person to play, and her responsibilities, so that everyone is on the same page.

The when and where

Selecting a date and a location are two of the most important decisions you will make during the entire process. Before you make a call, make sure your choices appropriately reflect what you want out of your big day and the resources you have. Don’t choose a remote location that is costly to reach if you want a big wedding and expect everyone you invite to attend. If you are looking to maximize your budget, work with your venue or planner to select days that might be in less demand to the general population and therefore less expensive. Also take into consideration that while holidays often provide more time for celebration, they do typically increase the cost of travel for both you and your guests.

The unofficial “save the date”

Whether you decide to use snail mail or Snapchat, before you finalize your wedding date, you may want to discuss the details with anyone that must be at your wedding (from your Grandma to your girls). Announcing your upcoming nuptials is not only fun, but also it allows your essential inner circle to plan well enough in advance as to avoid future conflicts.

Should you hire a wedding planner?

If you are planning to hire a wedding planner (or thinking about it), do it before you make any decisions such as selecting your venue or hiring your photographer. A good wedding planner will essentially pay for herself not only by working with you to determine the best wedding professionals to articulate your vision, but also by helping negotiate contracts and costs in order to maximize results so you aren’t paying for things you don’t need or want (the planner’s fee being excluded). If you decide to hire a wedding planner after you have made some key decisions, you are missing out on the value they bring to the table.

Pick your team

The wedding professionals you decide to work with for your big day are as much a part of your wedding as you and your beloved, so take the time to get to know them and their work before you hire them. Creating a wedding is a collaborative process, so it is important to find people whose products are as enjoyable as they are to work with. One more tip: most wedding vendors will require that you have chosen a date before they are able to engage with you.

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