The most popular time of year for American couples to get engaged is the holiday season. Christmas Day is all about giving and the best gift to give is the promise of your love. New Year’s Eve represents the future of embarking on a new journey – something that’s definitely symbolic of a wedding. Basically, we see the appeal.

If you are included in the more than 60 percent of newly engaged couples who proposed during the holidays, you are most likely thinking about how to kick-off your wedding planning. No need to stress. Chances are you will have some time to plan the wedding of your dreams. The National Association of Wedding Ministers reports that the average engagement is 16 months long, and most brides plan their weddings in seven to 12 months.

As you get ready to plan the wedding of your dreams, here are the most important first steps for you to take.
Communicate

The first and most important thing that you should do is sit down for a discussion with your fiancé. This is all about the both of you!

Have you ever watched an episode of “Bridezillas” and thought, “That poor man!?” Weddings should reflect both the bride and the groom. When the bride’s vision is the only consideration, you end up with a reluctant groom who is removed and disconnected.

An open discussion about what is important to each of you is crucial. Make a list of what is important, and be sure to take each other’s backgrounds, family traditions and personalities into consideration.  Having a clear idea of what you mutually want will lay the ground work for what will surely be a dream wedding for both of you!
Budget

The list that you and your fiancé created during your discussion will help you determine your budget. Sit down with your fiancé, his parents and your parents to talk about the wedding budget, and who will pay for what.

Date

Before selecting the date you need to consider what type of ceremony you and your fiancé want. For instance, if you want to be married in a Catholic Church, your next step should be to meet with your priest to find out which dates he has available for a ceremony.

Come up with two or three possible wedding dates and start looking for reception venues. If a venue you like is available on one of your chosen dates, book it immediately. Many venues will often be booked up to two years in advance, so be prepared to make a quick decision.

Get organized

Purchase or make a wedding organizer (a three-ring binder with pockets works great). Use it to store all your information, contracts, ideas, photos, etc.

Well done!
You’ve made most of the difficult choices surrounding your dream wedding. Now comes the fun stuff – like choosing your caterer, DJ, cake, photographer and decorations! Happy planning!