5 things to do before booking any vendors for your wedding

They met, fell in love and decided to spend the rest of their lives together. Now that he (or she) has popped the question, it’s time to start planning one of the biggest events in life — the wedding.

Before hiring vendors, here are the top five things you should do:

1. Share the exciting news: You’re getting married! Share the news in person to those closet to you — parents, siblings and close friends — or by phone, if distance separates you. Shout it from the social media rooftops later.

• Pro tip: Get a manicure for all those ring shots you’ll be Instagramming.

2. Figure out your wedding style: What kind of wedding do you want? A clear vision will help make decisions much easier.

• Pro tips: Will you have a religious or secular ceremony? What are the three most important elements of the wedding for you, your fiancé and parents? (Remember these may not be the same!) What kinds of design are you drawn to — traditional, vintage, modern, edgy, whimsical, romantic?

3 Set a Date: Choosing your date can be complicated, and there is no one right way to decide. Some things to consider when selecting a date are favorite season, personal meaning, venue availability, holidays and annual events around the venue.

• Pro tips: Check to see if any big events might impact traffic and parking near your site. Check game day schedules for Tigers, Lions, Pistons, Red Wings and college games.

4. Create a preliminary guest list: It’s important to have a rough number before you book a venue, so you can be sure to have enough space and budget.

• Pro tips: Write down everyone you want to invite, and ask your fiancé, your parents and his parents to do the same. Try to divide seats equally between the bride and groom’s side. Set boundaries and stick to them. This can be tricky if one side is paying for more of the wedding, so negotiate carefully.

If the initial guest list becomes too large, sort it into A and B groups. Evaluate the list as you create your budget and look at venues.

5. Create a realistic wedding budget: This is the single most important part of wedding planning. And it makes most couples feel uncomfortable.

• Pro tips: What do wedding vendors cost in your area? Big sites like The Knot and Wedding Wire provide budget advice based on national averages, which may be grossly inaccurate.

Vendor pricing isn’t based on a percentage of the money you want to spend, but on the company’s quality, experience and education.

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