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Chicago wedding basics

Before you got engaged, you probably had no idea how much work (and how many decisions) went into planning a wedding. From finding the right wedding vendors to scoping out Chicago wedding venues, the entire process can get a little overwhelming. The best way to avoid unnecessary wedding stress? Preparation. By doing your research, you can find wedding professionals who can help guide you through the trickiest decisions.

Before you do anything, it's good to get an idea of your wedding style. Scour magazines, wedding websites (like, ahem, this one), and talk to married friends and relatives about Chicago wedding planning ideas. Some brides find it helpful to build an inspiration board to pull their ideas together -- and this can also be useful for wedding vendors as a visual aid of what you're looking for. At the outset of planning, you also want to determine the two most important wedding factors: guest list and wedding budget.

Once you have a mental image of the wedding you want, start researching vendors. Again, turn to other brides for Chicago wedding vendor recommendations. Once you have a few vendors in mind, it's time to schedule interviews. Your vendor interview is a great opportunity to ask questions and see samples of the vendor's work. Just remember before you start your search to check with your reception venue to make sure it's okay to bring in outside vendors -- some sites have rules about caterers, DJs, and florists. The wedding planning can have its ups and downs, but the right vendors can help you sail smoothly from engagements to 'I dos.'

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Chicago Wedding Resources

Everything you need to plan a wedding in Chicago.

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Photo: Peter Wynn Thompson/Thompson Weddings