THE BLOG
01/27/2014 11:40 pm ET | Updated Mar 29, 2014

You're Engaged! Now What?

So he popped the question, and you said yes! First things first: Stay in the moment and enjoy this incredible milestone in your life. Don't rush into the planning phase immediately. You'll have plenty of time for that over the next few months. This is the time to share your joyous news with friends, family, even strangers. When you're ready for the next step, it's time to find your wedding planner.

Everybody wants their wedding to be an unforgettable experience. To have that dream wedding become a reality, you're going to have to start planning far in advance. Hiring a qualified wedding planner can save you hours of stress and anxiety by taking the guesswork out of planning your perfect day.

Weddings are a beautiful, romantic, and memorable event for you and your fiancé to cherish forever. That being said, it can be extremely time-consuming and stressful to coordinate your own wedding. Many soon-to-be-married couples overlook the benefits of hiring a wedding planner. It's easy to fall for the myth that a wedding planner will hijack your wedding, or that it's an additional cost that you can't afford. In reality, finding the right planner who's reputable and well connected to local vendors can be a great way to actually cut costs. There are many elements to planning a wedding, from location to food, music to invitations, floral arrangements to photographers/videographers, just to name a few. Bringing in an expert will take care of the legwork and less desirable parts of planning. They can also connect you to vendors and specialists whom they have worked with in the past and who will fall within your budget.

Before planning any part of a wedding or making any purchases, it's important for couples to know what they can afford to spend. Determine how to allocate funds based on priority and importance. A wedding planner is one of the best ways to ensure you stay within your allotted budget. This wedding budget will act as a necessary guide throughout the planning process, ultimately keeping the bride and groom financially on-target and stress-free. Determine the type of planner you need: a day-of planner to make sure everything goes smoothly on your big day, or an event designer who will work with you to plan the entire event, from start to finish. Hire your planner based on their reputation and references. Check out their websites and credentials. Read testimonials and do your research. Important questions to ask from their references are: Did the planner stay on budget? Did they deliver what you anticipated?

The planning process can take anywhere from six to twelve months, so it is important to choose someone you can connect with on an emotional level. It's nice to have an extra person with whom you share a bond offering extra support on the big day. The most important thing is to feel comfortable with this person. You need someone to not only talk over timelines and ideas with, but someone with whom you can vent and share personal thoughts. A wedding planner offers you an outside opinion without an agenda. A good planner can shoulder the stress on your wedding day, leaving you to enjoy every moment. Although your wedding planner doesn't need to be your best friend, one thing I pride myself on is the fact that I do become friends with my clients. These friendships last for years after the couples have said "I do."