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Love is in the air! And if you think your special guy plans to surprise you with an engagement ring over the holidays, you need to get ready.

Most brides do a couple of things first. I’ve seen brides who run to the store and buy every wedding magazine on the shelf. Some brides immediately start trying on dresses. Others start zipping from one side of town to another to scope out their potential venue.

Hold up. Stop. Breathe.

I always equate wedding planning to shopping for a car. You don’t just go to any and every car dealership and say, “Show me all of your cars.” You usually have a plan, or at least an idea of what you can spend. You probably don’t just stroll into the Mercedes dealership unless you know you have Mercedes money.

With that in mind, we’ve given you a plan…or at least the first 3 steps:

1. Figure out what your wedding budget is. It’s hard to book a venue if you don’t know how much money you have to spend. Can you afford the amazing, castle-like venue that has a $5000 room rental fee? Is that luxurious hotel with the $25,000 food and beverage minimum realistic for your budget? Sit down, do the math, determine what you can spend on the entire event before you paint a bulls-eye on your ideal venue.

2. Get an idea of your guest count. I meet brides who say their guest list will be somewhere between 150-250. Again, it’s difficult to book a venue without a pretty good idea of your guest count. Some venues might be able to easily accommodate 150 guests, but may be unable to fit 250. Sit down with your significant other and maybe your parents to figure out how many guests will be on the list.  More Tips


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