As I write this editor’s note, I’m looking at my own wedding to do list. Order tablecloths. Make napkins (because I couldn’t find the perfect pattern). Purchase ferns. Buy the girls shoes. Create seating chart. Come up with custom cocktail. Oh, and publish nine magazines before June 1.

And wait … what? This is our 10th anniversary of WV Weddings magazine! How could I have forgotten?

My stress level just rocket-launched into another galaxy.

Planning your own wedding is exciting. It’s an opportunity to celebrate your love for your soulmate with the people who matter most. We’ve celebrated those stories in every issue of WV Weddings since the first issue was published in the spring of 2009. To this day, we love seeing how each couple has personalized their big day, learning why they’ve chosen a specific venue or vendor. And gowns and rings and flowers … oh, my! We constantly ooh and ahh. When each issue is said and done, we feel like we’ve been an honored guest at all the weddings.

Ten years ago, I would never have predicted that I would be planning my own wedding during this momentous milestone. And one would think that because I’ve had more than 10 years of experience as a wedding magazine editor, planning a wedding should be easy peasy. It is not. Shakespeare would say, “The lady doth know too much, methinks.” I was a bit paralyzed by knowledge. How do I choose when I have so many favorite venues, caterers, photographers, florists, bridal boutiques, and wedding planners?

When I was feeling overwhelmed, I relied on my own advice that I’ve been sharing with our brides since we launched WV Weddings.

1. Book your photographer first—the best professional photographer you can afford.

2. Hire a wedding planner.

3. Focus on incorporating what makes you special and unique as a couple.

As I quickly approach my and Michael’s big day, I have a newfound appreciation of everything that goes into the planning process—and value even more the inspiration and resources that this magazine provides. I’ve also discovered that planning a second wedding (do you take your new husband’s name?) and being a non-traditional bride (wedding gowns are not made with 47-year-olds in mind) comes with its own unique complex challenges and experiences—and I’ll share more with you in the Fall/Winter issue of WV Weddings.

We hope you enjoy being honored guests at these spectacular weddings featured in this issue. If you are in the planning stages, take a deep breath, don’t worry if it is going to rain (always have a backup plan), ask your mother to make napkins if you can’t find what you are looking for (thanks, Mom!), and remember that the most important part of planning your wedding is the commitment you and your life partner are making to one another.

Here’s to celebrating 10 years of love!

Nikki Bowman, Editor