He gets down on one knee, he asks a life changing question... and you say YES! A flurry of emotions begins. You pinch yourself stare OBSESSIVELY at your new sparkly symbol of love. You call EVERYONE you care about because you don't want them to find out on social media (which you're going to post to in 2.5 minutes.) Your friends and family throw you an engagement party, honoring this monumental step in your relationship. It REALLY is a magical time. Suddenly, it dawns on you... What now?

I wish I could say the answer is simple, but there are a great many questions to answer and decisions to be made. So where do you start? Most brides and grooms try to give themselves about 1 year to plan. Following these steps should help to head you in the right direction. 

1. Make a guest list. 

I know, I know. This seems like something you would do RIGHT before you send out invitations, but hear me out. A typical venue in the Springfield MO area books between 8-12 MONTHS out. In order to know what venue will be large enough to accommodate your guests, you will first need a general idea of how many guests you're going to invite. You can always add people later, but this will give you a pretty clear view of the overall size of your celebration. 

2. Secure a venue.

Most venues need at least half total amount of total fees up front in order to hold the date. Sometimes, venues may already be booked for the date you chose, but have other options open around that date. Often, booking your venue also gives you your date! Most venues book around 8-12 months in advance, so this would be a next stop after deciding how big your wedding is going to be. 

3. Secure a Photographer.

Find someone whose work DAZZLES you. Imagine yourself in their images. Try to picture what you would fill your albums and walls with. Obviously, I would love to be considered for your wedding photographer, but I also know there are a lot of wedding photographers in Springfield MO who also do fine work. My suggestion is to go with the work you love, and have a consultation with that company to make sure you are compatible. You can also, (and SHOULD also) get engagement photos taken. Many people find them useful to personalize their wedding space décor, or often use these images for Save the Date cards, or even invitations. At Sarai Minard Photography, you can get a FREE engagement session with your booked wedding package. Find out more details HERE!

4. Secure a baker.

OMGOSH, I love wedding cake. It's my favorite thing (maybe in the world) to eat. I don't normally make huge recommendations, but if you go with Charity Fent Cake Designs... you will ALWAYS use this company for all events. Check them out here!

5. Book a DJ.

DJs provide LIVELY entertainment for you and your guests. I love Spark Events. Locally owned, and unmatched entertainment. 


Nothing sets the tone of your evening like a delicious meal. You want to make some time to hire your caterer early on in your planning. A lot of caterers also run restaurants and aren't able to take many wedding receptions per weekend. There are tons of catering services out there, but until you try the brisket and lobster ravioli from Touch... I'm not even sure you have lived. 

7. Order dress.

Like a lot of the other vendors listed above, wedding dresses take a while to get in, and that's before fitting and alterations. You want to make sure to leave yourself plenty of time to get those finishing touches on your dress. 

8. Pick wedding colors

9. Order invitations

10.Find officiant

11.Secure a flower vender

Even though the process of planning a wedding can feel overwhelming, remember the biggest part of any wedding is: getting married. Try to keep calm while planning. If you find yourself in need of some help, there are planners out there who customize your needs. I think wedding planners get a bad rap for "taking over" weddings, but that's not the case at all. They love collaboration, and only help where needed. They also have endless resources to help you when searching for the perfect vendors. 

You've got this. You can do it! Just practice deep breathing, and stare at that sparkly symbol of love.