Congratulations on your engagement! Now that you’re officially bethothed, it’s time to start planning for the big day. Here are five things to start thinking about right now to help make your wedding planning process as smooth and stress-free as possible in the coming months.

1. Brainstorm

Start brainstorming with your fiance about the type of wedding you both envision, it might be the first time you both have spoken out loud about your hopes and dreams for this big day. If helpful, involve friends and family, particularly if they have already planned a wedding in the area where you’d like to get married. Friends and family can be a huge resource of ideas and advice and vendor suggestions.

2. Budget

Start thinking about your wedding budget. Before you start making any major decisions, it’s important to have an idea of how much money you have to spend on your wedding. This will help you make more informed decisions about things like the venue, guestlist, and the photographer. Make a list of all the things you want for your wedding and start researching prices to get an idea of how much everything will cost.

3. Timeline

After you have sat down and crunched the numbers you’ll want to have a look at the timeline for your wedding celebration. Is there a specific venue you love but books up quickly? You may want to give yourself a few more months to make sure that favorite spot is available. Are there members of extended family who will need to book travel? What time of year do you and your fiance see yourself getting married? Late spring and early fall books quickly in New England whereas you might get the venue of your dreams at a discounted fee for a winter wedding.

4. Venue

As soon as you have your budget and your timeline worked out and you know time of year you’d prefer to get married in, it’s time to start looking into your venue. You may have to be flexible with your date when working with a venue if you intend to get married in a busy time of year. Make appointments to tour a few different locations to see how you feel inside them, make sure that they have a back up plan for inclemental weather if you plan to have any part of your ceremony or reception outside. Once you have booked the venue for your celebration, your wedding date is confirmed and everything else, booking other vendors, sending out the save the dates, travel dates for your honeymoon, will fall into place.

5. Wedding Photographer

Start browsing for Western Massachusetts wedding photographers. After your venue, the wedding photographer is one of your most important investments and one who likely books up quick;y. Once you know your date, start getting an idea of the type of photographer you and your fiance would like to work with. A good wedding photographer will not only capture all the special moments of your big day, but also help you to feel comfortable and relaxed in front of the camera.  Look for a photographer who has experience shooting weddings in Western Massachusetts and whose style and portfolio you love.

By getting a jump start on the planning process now, you can start enjoying your engagement knowing that you are in good shape for the next steps to come. Happy planning!