Though winter is still in full swing over most of the globe, many couples only see the spring buds in their near future as their wedding date comes closer and closer. But whether you've been engaged for a week or for a year, it can be extremely hectic in those months leading up to your wedding, what with everything that has to be decided, sorted, and created. For this reason (among many others), many couples look to the services of a wedding planner to help them with all that minutiae -- but a wedding planner can't do all the heavy lifting, especially if you don't have a foundation upon which they can begin. So if you're wondering what decisions you should make before getting the help of a wedding planner, then here's what you need to know.

The Date

One of the most important choices to make for your wedding is, well, when to actually have the wedding. Giving your future wedding planner an exact date (and a preference for a morning, afternoon, or evening wedding) will help them give you a list of venues that are available, plan for seasonal foods to keep the cost down, and make decisions about what to do with likely inclement weather (if you're getting married in the rainy season or a normally blustery time, for example).

The Number

Your family, their family, your friends, their friends -- even for those without a lot of siblings or close friends able to attend, it can be amazing how quickly the number of wedding guests adds up. Not only does this number narrow down your choices for venues, it's also important to figure out how many people you can afford to feed and sit (more on that below). Start with immediate family and close friends for both of you, and begin narrowing it down from there. Your freshman roommate might be a lovely person, but if you haven't spoken to them since freshman year, leave them off the list.

The Budget

Possibly the most important decision that you'll make regarding your wedding, your budget will limit how many people you can invite, what venue you can use, the dresses and suits, and even the type of food that you serve (finicky recipes like soufflé aren't attainable for groups of 600 people, for example). First off, discuss with your future spouse what amount of money you consider to be reasonable to spend on your wedding, taking a look at both of your finances to make sure it's feasible. If your parents and/or your parents-in-law are chipping in, add that to your total. If you're really lucky, distant relatives and friends who can't come to the wedding may instead send a check or two to make up for their absence.

For more information, talk to a professional like Events By Nichole.