By: Nadia S. Anderson, CPA with Virginia Grace Events

You’ve posted the pictures online, received tons of congratulatory messages, admired your ring on your finger for countless hours, but now what? Now that you’re engaged, it’s time for the exciting part…planning a wedding! But before you jump the gun on anything, here are some fool-proof steps you should follow right after you say “yes!”

  1. Set your spending plan. Beginning the wedding planning process with a spending plan saves you time because it helps narrow your focus to the vendors whose prices fall within your budget. It also saves you the heartache of falling in love with a product or service provider that you really cannot afford. Be realistic about how much you’re willing to spend on your wedding and how much financial assistance your family is able to commit.
  2. Choose the guest list. Consider the people that are closest to you, your fiancé and your family, and write their names down to get a solid estimate of the number that will attend. You want to be able to accommodate your guests comfortably and many vendors will need to know the count to provide a quote for their services.
  3. Decide the type of venue. Will you have the ceremony at your family church or a non-religious venue? Are you looking for an indoor or outdoor reception venue? Will you host the ceremony and reception in the same location? Are you looking for a venue that is a blank canvas for you to transform or a venue with its own personality? Knowing the answers to all these questions will help direct your venue search.
  4. Prioritize your wedding date. Look at other events or celebrations that are happening in your lives and rank your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choice of wedding weekend or date. The more flexible you are with the date, the more options you will have for venues and vendors.
  5. Hire a planner. Choose your wedding planner before you’ve signed any other contracts. Planners can help you save time, stay on budget, and savor the moment. Even if you’re just seeking assistance with direction and coordination on the wedding day, having a planner in place at the start of the process will help you make those hard and fast decisions. They can provide recommendations for reputable vendors, give you questions to ask them, and help think through logistics that will become critical on the wedding day.

Nadia S. Anderson is a CPA, certified wedding and event planner, the owner of Virginia Grace Event Management, and the preferred planner for three venues in Richmond, Virginia. To learn more about how her team can help you create stress-free wedding memories, please visit

Photo Credits: Virginia Ashley Photography