Where to Start with Wedding Planning

Tony and I have been engaged for almost a year and a half, and finally made it to the year we’re getting married!

When I first started the planning process, the first step was to figure out where to start! Here’s what I’ve done, in case it’s helpful for others:

Sign up for wedding planning sites

Before you do anything else, sign up for The Knot and/or Zola. These sites have information on things you haven’t even considered, like checklists, budget planners, and so much more! Take advantage of these sites and learn from others what works (and more importantly…what doesn’t). We knew we didn’t want a “traditional” wedding, so I thought these sites wouldn’t be of much use to me, but I’ve been following their checklists religiously! There’s so many to do items I never thought of, and this is a great way to keep track of everything in one spot. Plus they have a massive list of vendors for everything.

Figure out your budget

Figure out if anyone else (parents, grandparents, etc) will be contributing to your wedding budget and if so, how much. Then determine how much each partner will contribute or if you’ll need to borrow money for the big day. These can be awkward conversations to have, but figuring out exactly how much money you’ll have to spend will be crucial for every other wedding planning step. (If you aren’t sure where to start, keep in mind the average wedding is around $25,000-$30,000.)

Decide on a date

The first step is to decide what season you want to have your wedding in. If you’re on a tight budget, consider a winter wedding or hold the ceremony on a weekday. Otherwise, take a look at weekends during your chosen season-are there any special dates that stand out to you? If you have a specific venue in mind, you can also decide the date based on what they have available.


Talk to your partner and figure out what items are most important to you both. Do you want to have killer pictures? Is an eight piece band a must have? Do you want over-the-top flowers? This will help you allocate your budget. Here’s the order we booked our vendors in:

  1. Venue
  2. Catering
  3. Officiant
  4. Day of coordinator
  5. Photographer
  6. DJ
  7. Hair/makeup


  • Wedding season is typically June-October (which means an “off-season” wedding can help save you money)
  • You don’t need to do anything you don’t want to!! This one is huge. Tony and I are pretty non-traditional, so there are a ton of “typical” wedding things we aren’t doing. Everything you do should be meaningful to you and your partner!
  • Create a separate wedding email! You don’t want wedding vendor emails clogging up your general inbox, and having a separate wedding email can help you stay organized.

The Best Vegetarian Chili Recipe


And you know there’s no better way to welcome in cooler temps and changing leaves than with a crockpot chili! Here’s the world’s easiest (and vegetarian) recipe I’ve perfected over the past few years.


  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can corn (drained)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 jar hot salsa
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (12 ounce) package veggie Chorizo crumbles
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • Toppings for serving: sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, green onions, jalapeΓ±os


  • Put everything except toppings in the crockpot and stir well. Cook on high for 5-6 hours or low for 8 hours.
  • Serve with lots of sour cream and cheese on top!
  • Bonus points if you cook it in the back of your wagon! 😏

Introducing: Kortbein Creative LLC

I have exciting (and not so “new”) news: I started my own company, Kortbein Creative LLC!

In January 2021, I decided to finally take the leap and start my own company, focusing on helping small businesses with their social media needs. I’ve been interested and involved in social media for a while, and through various side jobs and projects have come to realize that I really love helping small businesses connect and grow through social media.

If you’re interested in learning more about how I can help with your social media needs, please get in touch! Or pass this link along to anyone you know who might be interested. I can’t wait to connect with you!

Moving Tips You Probably Didn’t Consider

Tony and I recently moved from Minneapolis to Woodbury, and while we’ve moved together previously, I always forget how…fun…it is until you’re trying to shove blanket #12 into a box filled with a Keurig, potting soil, and Windex. I wanted to share some key tips I learned along the way in hopes I can help you during your next move (and as a reminder to myself for next time):

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Being Part of the Great Resignation…Twice

Towards the end of 2021, I decided it was time to quit my job. I wasn’t progressing in my career, wasn’t doing what I was most passionate about, and just felt ready to move on. I didn’t have a plan, I just knew I wanted to get out of there and move onto something that was more relevant to me.

I started a new position at an agency in December 2021, and while it seemed like the perfect match for me for the first few weeks, unfortunately it didn’t end up being the right fit. I really enjoyed the work I was doing and the clients I was working with, but there were a few cultural issues I experienced. I was becoming super anxious and dreaded waking up each morning to log into my computer. I felt like I failed since I was thinking of leaving so soon after starting, but after writing out the issues I was having and talking things through with my family, I realized it would be better for me to leave now than keep dragging it on. So a short 4 months after I started at this new company, I was already out.

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5 Easy Reusable Swaps to be More Sustainable

It can get really overwhelming thinking of all the things you need to do to help the environment. There’s a million products you can buy and things you can do, but where do you even start?! Here are 5 easy things you can swap to reusable to be more sustainable in your daily life without making big investments!

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Portland, OR Travel Recap

After a canceled flight to Florida in March 2020, Tony and I had a voucher to use and decided to finally visit Portland, Oregon! This was an extra special trip to us since we were freshly engaged!! We loved being able to visit the mountains and the beach all in one trip, and the food and breweries in Portland were absolutely incredible.

Here are the notable things we ate, drank, and did while in Portland!

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