Getting engaged is an amazing time in your life. It is one of those moments that you dream about, then can't believe has actually happened. You have so many wonderful things to celebrate and look forward too that you may forget, or not realize, just how much work needs to be done.
It is a lot of work and takes time and planning. The first thing you need to do is get organized. Being organized is really important when planning your wedding. It is a key element in planning successfully. You will be bombarded with choices, options and prices from many different vendors. If you don't keep track they will all mesh together and your brain will become mush. It is very stressful and frustrating trying to remember who said what and what belongs where.
Make your life simple from the start. As soon as you get engaged (or at least as soon as possible, you can enjoy being engaged for a week or two) go shopping for some essential items. You need an organizer and you can do this in two ways. The first is to go buy a specialized wedding organizer. These planners are made specifically for brides to be and are customized for weddings. They are nice, but usually very expensive and don't always have enough room. The main benefit to these types of organizers is if having the planner as a pretty keepsake is important to you.
The other choice is to make your own. Buy a three ring binder, some loose leaf paper, a couple of folders and some dividers. Make sure they all have holes so you can put them in the binder. Use the folders to hold papers that you get from different vendors and use the dividers to separate items. The loose leaf paper is for your notes, be sure to organize everything in a way that will work for you.
Once you are organized there are a few essential elements that you need to decide on. Addressing these early on will make for less conflict later, as well as easier planning. First you need to decide your budget. Whether it's $500, $5,000, $30,000, $80,000, or anything in between it will determine what you are able to do in every aspect of planning your wedding. You also need to decide who is paying for the wedding. Are you and your fiance footing the bill, or will parents (or other relatives) be paying or chipping in? If so, how much money are they giving? You also need to find out from the start what the cost of their financial support will be for you.
Do they expect to make choices for your wedding, or have a say in what their money is spent on? You may just want to take any money offered and not worry about it, but I really urge you to get things out in the open and talk about it from the start. There is nothing worse then a family fight when tension is already high. If all parties involved sit down and air their wants and needs, you can figure a game plan from the start. You don't want to have your heart set on something only to hear your parents say they won't pay for it because they want something else.