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Kelsey is back for more guest blogging as she plans her wedding! Check out her post today about picking your wedding venue and the FIRST THING you need to do when planning a wedding!

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The first thing that you need to do when you start wedding planning is panic. Go ahead. Take a moment or two, let it out. I have the time, just look at this picture of my dog.

I know! Norman is the best. Ok, are we back? Awesome. Welcome back. The important thing to know is that it’s going to be fine and even after all of your spreadsheets you’re going to be married at the end of this, and that is what matters.

Now, first things first. The where. You know that what – marriage. You know the who – your fiancé. You know the when – well, if you don’t you will really soon. So that where. You may get pulled in 16 different directions in attempting to answer this question.  Family, friends, Sandals resorts, or all of the above may sway you. Whatever your reasoning, make sure you’re happy. For us, it was DC. Weirdly we both grew up in Eastern Pennsylvania.

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But we met as semi-adults in DC at The George Washington University and the rest is history. We grew into who the pretty fantastic people we are today in DC, it’s where we paid our first rent check, and took our first Uber, it’s home. Once we knew DC was the place, we had to pick the actual where.

Now things get tricky. Know what you want. But more importantly, know what you don’t want. Things I did not want: a hotel ballroom, Virginia, and that’s about it. Sorry Virginia. I’m not sorry. Ruling out a hotel actually helped a lot. It left us with museums, historical places, parks, and some random restaurants.

Now, what kind of vibe do you want for your wedding? Is it modern, shabby chic, formal, rustic, or something in between? Let that guide your venue selection. Look at their website, then instagram the venue. How does it make you feel? For me, this process was more emotional than the wedding dress fitting (more on that later). When I walked into the venue I wanted a certain feeling. Like, remember when you visited colleges and everyone told you to ‘go with your gut’ and you were all, ‘what does that even mean?’ Do that here. Visit your top five venues. Talk with the event person. Ask them a ton of questions.

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What are the reception layout options? How many people does this space hold for dinner and dancing? What time do we have to be out of the space? What time can we load in? Is there an extra charge for the load in? What’s your favorite color? Do you have vendor restrictions? Can I have a confetti cannon, if so how many? Twelve max? Book it.

What I am trying to say is when you walk into your venue I want you to feel comfortable, wow, and happily ever after. Imagine your first dance, imagine your tipsy Aunt Peg, and imagine your pictures. This place is it. It’s the foundation for the rest of your planning. It’s like the very best dough for the best pizza ever. And this pizza is your wedding.

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Ok, ok I’ll tell you. I picked the National Museum of Women in the Arts. It had the formal wow factor that I was looking for. I want drama and glamour. This venue did that and more. Now I just need to bring in everything else, because fun fact about museums, they don’t have chairs and tables and silverware, because they’re a museum.

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