Your special day, your wedding, a day you have dreamed about your whole life.

Your special day, your wedding, a day you have dreamed about your whole life.

A store giving us wedding planning advice? Yes you read that correctly! Shop My Mo's would love to offer to you "free of charge" some help on how to plan a wedding! You see our owner Ernie Houle was a wedding DJ for over 30yrs! Don't believe us?

Just take a look at the videos below:

Over my 30yrs in the wedding industry I had seen many trends, with music, planning and visions of what each couple had for their special day. I simply took my knowledge, listened to their ideas, offered suggestions and made it happen!

I know that most couples are walking into the unknown and are receiving input from parents, friends, co-workers and more, but in your heart of hearts you have a vision. Your wedding should be unique and about you, this is your story, tell it!

Your engaged, it's wonderful and exciting time; you’re in the midst of preparing to spend the rest of your life with your best friend, and such a monumental decision and joyous occasion deserves the most heartfelt and ultimate celebration!

We've talked to many excited brides who are ecstatic to be planning a wedding, but with that, they find themselves scared at the prospect of such a big undertaking. Many brides ask, “How and where do I even start planning my wedding? 

This is a great question and it has an answer! When you think about how to plan your own wedding, knowing what to do and where to start will give you the confidence you need to enjoy your wedding planning process, so let’s take a look at this step-by-step guide!

What are the first steps to planning a wedding?

  1. Dream – You've been dreaming of this day your whole life, show the world your vision.
  2. Ask yourself, what's most important to you?
  3. Set a wedding budget
  4. Form your wedding party
  5. Create your guest list
  6. Determine dates
  7. Start looking for your venue
  8. Begin looking for wedding professionals that you are considering for your wedding day
  9. Find that perfect wedding dress
  10. Explore honeymoon options and ideas

Now let’s take a closer look at each of these stages of wedding planning so you know exactly what to do and have fun doing it! Think of this like wedding planning 101!


Step 1. Dream – Get the vision for your big day

It’s your wedding day, you get to plan, the most beautiful event imaginable–the sky’s the limit. So, since you get to plan the wedding of your dreams, start by purchasing a journal or a simple wedding planner and dedicate it solely to your dream wedding. As you begin dreaming up your perfect day like the color scheme, the theme–fairytale, beach, spring, rustic, etc. write it down so that you have a quick reference and don’t forget any of the wonderful ideas you have!

Remember to have fun dreaming up your wedding plans. Do you want a horse drawn carriage? Get a horse drawn carriage! Maybe some fireworks and a grand entrance that will capture your guest’s attention and leave them with unforgettable memories? What feel do you want to capture? What do you, as the bride, want to feel and experience on the biggest day of your life?

Step 2. Determine what’s most important to you

Now that you have the vision, figuring out what’s most important on your big day (is an absolute must as this will help to narrow down your vendor and venue search) will help you to capture the vision you’ve just journaled.

Is live music a must, or will a DJ do the job? What about really incredible food? Exotic décor and flowers? Valet? A reception hall that provides the convenience and relaxation of everything in one place? Do you want to work with a wedding planner or do all the planning with family members, bridal party, or just you? Turn these into a wedding checklist so you don’t miss any of them during the planning process.

Step 3. Set a wedding budget

Now that you have a vision and narrowed down your must-haves, you’re already halfway there with your budget. Creating a budget will help you to keep track of all your expenses and help you to see the big picture.


Budgeting will also help you to plan the rest of your wedding as you decide on what you want and what you are not so attached to, where you want to splurge and where you want to hold back a little.

And this also points back to your must haves, the items you determined as your must-have-non-negotiables will receive the greater portion of your budget so that you can bring that dream into reality.

Step 4. Form your wedding party

This is the really fun part–you get to ask your closest friends and/or family to be a part of your big day! Sometimes it’s hard to decide on a number because you just love everyone, but once you do narrow down the girls and the guys, go ahead and ask them!

You can have a lot of fun with this; a couple of fun and creative ideas that brides do is giving their bridesmaids-to-be handwritten letters, a gift, and even surprising them! 

Do whatever fits YOU, and your way of expressing love and appreciation.

Step 5. Create your guest list

Creating your guest list is integral to the wedding planning process for many reasons, the most important being that vendors NEED to know your guest count and they will ask you that during your consultations and bookings, so don’t put this one off. It doesn’t have to be boring either, you can make it fun!


Get together with your soon-to-be spouse and have fun with it. Grab your favorite bottle of wine and make it a team effort.


Tip: when creating your guest list, start with names of friends and family who are closest to you, move down your mental list until you run out–then head to your Facebook friends list or other social media platforms. This is a really helpful way to make sure you don’t forget anyone!

Step 6. Determine dates

Come up with a few different dates for your wedding ceremony. Pick the one that you want most and then you’re ready to start looking into other key elements such as venue, vendors, your wedding dress, rehearsal dinner, and honeymoon. 

One mistake many brides and grooms make is choosing only one date and not having backup dates. You’ll want to plan ahead by having a couple of backup dates to ensure that your venue and vendors have availability if your original date falls through..

Step 7. Start looking for your dream venue

When searching for venues, certain ones help in a major way with planning your wedding, they can make your wedding seamless and will offer you everything in one place, rather than you looking to 10 different places to get what you need.



Step 8. Begin looking into the vendors you want for your wedding day

You’ve already figured out which elements and services are most important to you, so now you can begin looking at wedding professions in those areas to find out cost, availability, ratings and reviews and if they fit what you’re looking for, or keep it simple and let your venue do the work for you! Just utilize their pre-approved list of industry experts!

Use the internet, call around, find out what people are saying. The best way to find out about event professionals is to ask your friends. If you have friends who are recently married go ahead and reach out to them to find out who they used and if they are what you are looking for.

Step 9. Go wedding dress shopping 

You can start by researching dresses on social media, or other websites online, then take your vision to either an online store, or go in person.


You’ll want to get your wedding dress anywhere from 6-9 months in advance, so depending on your wedding date, you don’t have to buy your wedding dress right away, but trying some on and getting a feel for what you want is always a great place to start!

You probably already have your wedding rings, but if you don’t, make sure you don’t forget them!


Step 10. Explore honeymoon options and ideas

You get to plan your dream wedding AND a vacation spent with your best friend, so start exploring ideas with your significant other. Get inspired by asking friends, searching the web, and using Facebook.

Perhaps you want a Caribbean beach destination, maybe it’s local, find inspiration so you can get started with the reservations!

A small bit of additional wedding planning advice: don’t forget about your wedding night! And make sure to have fun through the whole process. This is a life-changing event and the journey should be just as enjoyable as saying, “I do!”

Now you may be asking? Why is a retired DJ telling me all of this? Well even though I am retired I still have a passion for seeing your vision come true. My wife Bonnie and I started this store "Shop My Mo's" not knowing which direction we wanted to go or what we were going to sell, we were clueless, but we did know that we wanted to keep the theme of Mo going. Mo was our black lab, whippet mix pup. We're not a pet store per say, but a smorgasbord store. You'll find everything here, including Wedding and Party Planning accessories! I hope my expertise has helped you in your plans, and maybe you'll find something inside our virtual walls too. 


Ernie Houle



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