Mark Twain once said, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

I tend to use this reference a lot in my line of work — editing magazines is hard work, y’all — and I’m continually met with the same perplexed look when I say it. Although a bit odd, Twain is saying that when you have a big job to do (like planning a wedding!), it’s best to knock out the hardest tasks first and as early in the process as possible. I have always taken this advice to heart when juggling my daily to-dos, but I feel it applies perfectly to busy brides too.

So what’s your “frog?”

Choosing a venue? Interviewing wedding planners? Finding your dream wedding dress?

And where do you begin?

Well, reading this magazine is a great start!

Arkansas Bride is absolutely essential for planning a Natural State wedding. We know you’ll want to grab every planning notebook at Barnes & Noble and pin all the things on Pinterest, but Arkansas Bride is your go-to source for finding the best local vendors — and seeing the genius of these pros come to life in creative styled shoots and real weddings.

Lindsay Irvin, Editor

For this issue, we wanted to spotlight the art of getting started in your planning process with a special feature dedicated to your to-do list —  “10 Things to Do Immediately After Getting Engaged.” In addition to the fabulous advice you’ll find in that feature, we invite you to visit our planning tools page for seven downloadable worksheets to help you stay organized, on time and on budget. Plus, our monthly, personalized e-newsletter will send you to-dos and reminders to keep you on track.

Of course, this edition — our thickest issue ever! — is filled to the brim with beautiful weddings, including those of former Miss America Savvy Shields, LA Rams quarterback Brandon Allen and CMT reality TV star Jessica Mack. There are also 25 pages of bridal fashion, tablescapes, trends and styled shoots to inspire every aspect of your big day.

Enjoy! And don’t forget we’re right here alongside you as you plan — find us on Instagram, Facebook or email us at if you ever need advice or recommendations. We love to help!

Sincerest wishes to you, dear brides, for the happiest time ever planning the wedding of your dreams.

After 10 years in the biz, here are my ...

7 Top Tips for Getting Started

1. Don’t pick a date right away.

2. Hire your photographer first — you’d be shocked how far in advance they’re booked.

3. Next, lock down your dream venue (secure a wedding date based on your venue’s availability).

4. Hire professionals. Limit the use of friends with a camera, DJ equipment or a new calligraphy set. You’re just going to have to take my word on this one.

5. Don’t assume you can’t afford a wedding planner. Take the time to interview a few wedding planners. They can actually save you money thanks to their vendor connections, designer discounts and vast experience.

6. Look for “Wedding Vendors We Love” throughout this magazine — these pros are among the best and most reputable in Arkansas!

7. Oh, and promise me that you won’t skip videography. Our polled bride readers who passed up this service unanimously agree it was their biggest regret.