Wedding planning is no easy feat. Even if you’re organizing an intimate occasion, there’s a lot of work involved. We try to keep you inspired by throwing oodles of ideas your way, but we know that sometimes you just need a set list telling you how to conquer it all. Here are 10 tips on how to successfully arrange a picture perfect wedding from expert wedding planner Andrea Freeman.

1. Decide What Tone Your Want to Set: Let your overall mood help you choose a venue. Starting with a mood will guide the rest of your planning process and ensure that you and your fiancé don’t get overwhelmed. Do you want something formal and dramatic? Low key and mega private? Big and rustic? Identifying what you want the vibe of your day to be will help you focus your efforts and research.

2. Consider Venues That Reflect That Tone: Quaint bed and breakfasts, ocean views, private estates, rustic ranches, vineyards, resort hotels, theme parks, yachts, floral gardens, elegant restaurants, museums and backyards… and those are just some of the options out there when it comes to wedding venues. When you’re searching around, keep your tone in mind and stick to venues that will help you achieve the vibe you’re after.

3. Identify Important Aspects: If heritage is something you want to honor at your wedding, consider how to incorporate that into the ceremony, reception or theme. I recently planned a wedding for a couple with both Mexican and Irish heritages. They ended having a mariachi band during cocktail hour and an Irish band during the reception. No matter what those must-have elements are, keep your budget in mind and be willing to let some details go to make room for the important things.

4. Make an Inspiration Board. It’s fun, free and truly helps in the long run. And while it’s easy to go a little crazy on Pinterest, try to be selective with what you pin. Keep each board to no more than seven items. If you have 100 pins on your decor board, it might be hard for your wedding designer to totally understand what you’re after.

5. Your Wedding Story Begins With Your Save the Date: No matter if you’re doing a video save the date or going a more tradition paper route, that first announcement should give a little taste of things to come. Set the tone accordingly. You’ll want to have your wedding concept and colors in place before putting the date on friends’ and family’s calendars.

6. Don’t Forget About Lighting: Putting thought into your lighting is one of the most important ways to define your wedding’s ambiance. The right lighting can make your wedding more glamorous, rustic, classic or beachy. Use candle light and Italian party lights for a romantic, quaint feel or go with colorful uplighting for a more dramatic appeal.

7. When It Comes to the Menu, Do Your Research: If your wedding’s theme is on the formal side and each course will be paired with a different wine, printing the names of each wine along with its course will help guests remember combinations they enjoy. Looking to cut costs? One way to do that is by using seasonal ingredients. Not only will those pears be less expensive in the fall, but they’ll also taste that much sweeter.

8. Pick a Signature Cocktail: Choose a drink that features your favorite liquor and matches your color scheme. If your wedding is vibrant, something as simple as sprucing up your cocktails with multi-colored salt rims can really make a difference. Picking one or two signature cocktails gives a personal element to your big day, lets you share your personal taste with your guests and also saves you loads of money that you would have to spend to stock a full bar.

9. The Right Place Setting Will Tie Your Concept Together: Try to go with glassware and utensils that reflect the style of the event. If you’re having a vintage-themed wedding, handblown-glass wine goblets are a fantastic table accent. For an extra romantic and elegant wedding with a pastel color scheme, try a place setting with blush pinks, gold manuscript and champagne napkins.

10. Send Your Guests Home With a Memorable Favor: I’ve done single potted plants that doubled as escort cards for a nature-themed wedding, beautifully packaged homemade jellies and jams for a food-oriented wedding and personalized luggage tags for destination weddings. Whatever you do, just make sure it’s personal and goes with the overarching theme.

Are you in the midst of planning a wedding? What aspect of the planning is hardest for you? Share your thoughts in the comments.