So you’re engaged — congratulations! Now what?

Wedding planning can be overwhelming, and it seems there are a million details to think about. Here’s a starting point to get you thinking about some of the details you might want to incorporate into your nuptial celebration.

The big ones

Pick a date! What season or time of year do you want to get hitched? Vermont is beautiful year-round, but prime time is June, July and August, with nearly half of all weddings in the state occurring during these months. September and October comprise another 25 percent of Green Mountain weddings. Keep in mind that vendors often book early — sometimes more than a year in advance —and availability and pricing may vary.

Set a budget. The big picture is more important than individual items in the beginning: Who is paying, and how much? Details will change as planning goes on, but know your limits. Then, you can prioritize what you really want to splurge on, and where you can save.

Make a guest list. Start big — make a list of everyone you would invite if you had no restrictions. Then, as you firm up details on the venue and ceremony, you’ll be able to whittle it down. (Worried about hurting feelings? Check out advice from the Emily Post Institute on page 6.)

Hire a planner — or not. A wedding planner can help make your big day easy, taking care of details and coordinating with vendors so you can narrow your focus. There are many options here, from day-of coordinators to make sure the wedding day runs smoothly to full-on planners who will be with you every step of the way. If you’re arranging a Vermont wedding from afar, a local planner can be a big help in recommending, securing and organizing vendors. If you’re the DIY type, keep calm and make spreadsheets! There are many (often free) online resources available to help organize your wedding planning.

Choose your venue. Have you always dreamed of a big church wedding followed by an elegant banquet, or do you envision an open field and a rustic barn? Vermont offers a stunning variety of venues, from swanky hotels to postcard-perfect farms and state parks. Consider how many people you’ll invite, whether your ceremony will be on site or elsewhere, and what’s available for catering and bar service. Some venues offer the whole package, some have preferred vendors, and some allow you to bring in your own people.

Gather ideas. Magazines, Pinterest, Instagram — save everything that catches your eye. It’s fun to see trends emerge through the clouds of inspirational photos, which can help you figure out what you really want — and what you definitely don’t. Take advantage of the hive mind if you have attendants or friends helping you plan, and share snaps. Photos are helpful for vendors to see as well — explaining what you’re looking for is easier when you’ve got visual aids. Talk to family and friends about their own weddings, and you might just get some great ideas to use in your own.

The only two things you really need to get married in Vermont are a marriage license and an authorized person to perform the ceremony. Currently, a Vermont marriage license costs $60, is valid for 60 days from the issue date, and must be returned within 10 days of the ceremony. For more details, visit the Vermont Secretary of State’s website at

The rest of it

Here’s a list, from A to Z, to get you thinking about the details of your special day.

  • Accessories
  • Alterations
  • Accommodations
  • Attendants
  • Bridesmaids
  • Catering
  • Cake
  • Ceremony
  • Desserts
  • Dresses
  • Drinks
  • Décor
  • Entertainment
  • Flowers
  • Favors
  • Groomsmen
  • Gifts
  • Hair
  • Honeymoon
  • Invitations
  • Jewelry
  • Kiss
  • Lighting
  • Music
  • Makeup
  • Nails
  • Names
  • Officiant
  • Photography
  • Postage
  • Permits
  • Quotes
  • Rehearsal dinner
  • RSVPs
  • Save-the-dates
  • Seating
  • Suits
  • Tableware
  • Transportation
  • Toasts
  • Underthings
  • Vows
  • Veil
  • Vacation
  • Weather
  • eXtras
  • Yes
  • Zzzs
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