One of the most common questions that I get from new brides-to-be is what to do after the date is set. There are so many vendors to meet and contracts to sign, knowing the right order is no easy feat. Here is my general rule of thumb as to the order for who you need to contact and when. The first order of business is to set the date. By doing that you need to tour various venues (and if you're doing a church wedding, find a church and venue that have corresponding dates available). Pretty straight forward, right? One thing to consider, however, is the weekend you choose. When I picked my date, I didn't realize right away that there was a huge air show in a nearby town, which meant many hotels were already booked up. Fortunately we called early enough that we could secure a block, but had we waited until we were further into the process, we may have been in a bit of a bind when it came to finding a place for all the out-of-towners to sleep. So once the date is secure, call or tour the hotels you're thinking of and get your name of their books. If you're hiring a wedding coordinator, he/ she would be the next person you should contact. We didn't enlist the services of our coordinator until about a month into the planning process, and we found some of the contracts we had already established needed to be reworked once she had a look at them. Coordinators are key in helping you order the right number (in the right order of things) the first time around—ours saved us the equivalent of her fee when she reviewed our transportation contract and realized we had way too many buses for shuttling our guests. The next slew of important vendors to hire are the ones who cannot be at two weddings on the same day: the band, the photographer, the caterer, the videographer, ceremony music, florist, etc. You'll want to contact them before meeting with them to ensure that they have your date open and their fee is within your budget (there's nothing worse than falling in love with a vendor only to realize that they are unavailable or unattainable). As you're working through the list and meeting with your potential partners for the coming months, you'll also want to get started on your save-the-date with a stationer. I'll be honest, for me, this was the trickiest part of the process. Though you're still likely nine months away from the wedding, the save-the-date is the amalgamation of a number of big decisions: the guest list for one, and usually the save-the-date is the first glimpse that your guests have into the look/feel/theme of your wedding. I wanted my colors selected before this crucial correspondence went out to our guests, so I had to at least consider what color I wanted my bridesmaids to wear and the color of my flowers. About six months out, you'll want to start to looking into rental equipment and linens if you're planning to bring in any extra decor components. You'll also want to solidify the aforementioned transportation (I strongly encourage you to talk this through with an expert . . . we WAY overestimated) and start meeting with potential hair and make-up providers. Before you book, make sure you schedule at least one trial run to make sure you and the provider are on the same page. You'll also want to secure a rehearsal dinner location and get started on your invites. As the date nears, all your vendors should be in place, so the execution is up to you and your dream team. If you're ever curious about who you need to book and when, be sure to reach out to me via our Facebook page. I'm always here for you and happy to answer any questions you might have. Good luck, and as always, happy planning!