Where better to start than at the very beginning? After the initial excitement, glee, shock of getting engaged starts to die down the pressures of actually planning can creep up and take over. Though there are a lot of factors involved with planning a wedding - some of them fun and some of the infuriating - it doesn't have to be SO hard. Here is my advice from a planner and a bride's point of view.
Focus on the How and not the What
Instead of diving right into what you want your wedding to look like start to think about how you want your wedding to feel. This is a great piece of advice that I found over at 2000 Dollar Wedding.
"1. What do you want to think and feel about your wedding when it's all said and done?
2. What do you want your guests to think and feel about your wedding when it's all said and done?
3. What are the smaller details that align with creating those feelings?"
Keep the goals you come up with here in mind while deciding what elements to incorporate. It will help keep you sane and grounded.
Make some Connections
Figure out how you like to be organized. For me that meant starting a blog and a tumblr since most of my inspiration came from online. For you, that might mean a binder or a notebook. Whatever makes you feel the most calm.
If you come across something that you like on a website or in a magazine- vows, flowers, a project - stick it in the inspiration place. Don't act upon any impulses right away as most likely your preferences will change slightly throughout the process. You will save money and your sanity by collecting images and ideas first and making decisions and purchases later on. At about 6 months away from the date, take everything you found and separate it into piles or groups depending on what it is (one group for bouquets, one group for table decor, etc.). You will probably find a cohesive theme through the images. Once you have figured out that theme write out what you will need in order to make it a reality.
But Most of All
Remember what this day is really all about. You are starting a new life with the person you have chosen above all others. The person you love and respect and care about. It isn't about spending the most money or putting on the best show. There will be moments of panic but if you keep focused on the true meaning then it will help you through those (hopefully few and far between) occurrences.