By Jody Long How long did it take you to plan your wedding? Did you get started as soon as you got engaged? We got engaged November 2012. I started planning at the end of December 2012 and got married October 2013, so 10 months. I was out of state so I could not visit places. However, I did begin to look into places right away and called for available dates and scheduled times to visit when I was home for Christmas. I also looked at dresses online right away because I knew that I wanted pockets in my dress. I made appointments for when I was home for Christmas to go to the boutique that had the dress. I asked my bridesmaids within the first 2 weeks after our engagement. Did you use a wedding planner? Why, or why not? I didn't use a wedding planner. I wanted to do it on my own and did not want to spend the money. Also, the venue I chose had a coordinator on-site, who helped me tie up all the loose strings right before the wedding. Do you think that was enough time? Could you have done it in less time? It was definitely enough time and I could have definitely done it with less time. I had all my vendors chosen by March and just had final meetings with everyone in the last 6 weeks or so. The only thing that could have been tricky is making sure the vendors had the availability for an earlier wedding date. What was the hardest part about the planning process? The seating chart was definitely the hardest for me. It was challenging to figure out where to put people, especially family. I wanted everyone to be happy with where they sat and was unsure about how to make everyone happy. The bridesmaid and groomsmen gifts were hard too; keeping in budget was difficult. What was the first thing you planned? I knew what dress I wanted within the first few weeks of our engagement. The venue was the first actual thing I booked though. And bridesmaids right away. I also picked my save-the-dates right away, but didn't actually order them until Feb. 2013. Looking back, what would you have done different? I absolutely loved my wedding, so I'm not sure that I would change anything. That being said I probably should have looked around for a cheaper florist. After I booked her people told me that a local grocery store was the way to go, especially with the flowers that I chose because they were so much cheaper. Now that it’s over, what advice would you give to other brides planning their own wedding? To not stress about the little things, it'll ruin it. The day of the wedding there are so many things happening and it's all about you being happy. If things are not absolutely as you planned the guests have no clue, so no one knows but you and most likely the error isn't huge, so it's gorgeous anyway. My centerpiece flowers and vases were totally wrong; they were supposed to be green wine bottles with 2 orange calla lilies in each, but were clear vases with 1 white calla lily in each. Even though they were not what I had wanted they were still absolutely beautiful, so there was no way it was going to ruin the day. I'd also recommend doing pictures before your ceremony if you can. I was able to see the groom and my dad before I walked down the aisle so all those nerves were completely gone by the time the ceremony came. It also allowed us to be part of happy hour which was great because we were able to talk to almost all our guests then instead of during the first hour of the reception; this gave us the opportunity to enjoy every hour of our reception!