Hire a professional planner-even if just for the day. "The biggest mistake I see is people trying to do it themselves."
-- Janet Reese, Owner of Flowers on Orchard Lane

Shop around. "Find someone who will treat your wedding like the special event that it is and not just another wedding on their books."
-- Emilie Duncan, Owner of Emilie Duncan Event Planning

Don't assume you can't afford a planner-most offer a range of packages and pricing. "A good planner can work within pretty much any budget, and I think the goal is always to make it seem that the budget was way bigger than it actually was."
-- Jo Panarello, Owner of Panarello Consulting


Choose your reception venue early. It should be one of the first vendor contracts you sign. "It sets the tone for the wedding."
-- Emilie Duncan, Owner of Emilie Duncan Event Planning

Write your guest list first, then pick your venue to ensure the space can comfortably accommodate everyone.
-- Kasey Skobel-Conyers, Owner of Bliss Wedding & Event Design

Decide on an overall theme-formal or casual-before you buy a dress. Location dictates many other details.
-- Tarah Bender, CEO and managing broker of The Bendora Wedding Gallery