Planning your perfect wedding day can be exciting and overwhelming at the same time. Once the excitement wears off, you quickly realize that you have to start planning a wedding, something you probably have not done before, right?! Sure, you attended your cousin’s wedding or maybe one of your close friends recently got married, but things are different when it’s your wedding.
If you’re like most brides, you have no idea where to start. Knowing where to start may seem like mission impossible but here’s the good news: here is a list of 10 steps to help you plan and design your wedding.
1. Set A Budget
After you have finished basking in the glow of your engagement you will want to sit down and come up with a realistic wedding budget. You will want to decide who is paying for what. Traditionally, the bride’s side of the family pays for the entire wedding, but times have certainly changed and this is frequently untrue for today’s couple. If you and your Fiancé are paying for the entire wedding yourselves, well you’ve got it easy. If you want your families to help you out, or pay for it all, you will have to have a very honest discussion with them about it. If this is the case (lucky you!) you should be prepared for questions, such as “How much do you think the whole thing will cost?” or “How much would you like us to contribute?”
I know that it’s hard to have a good idea of what you’ll even need in terms of budget. Check out 6 Steps For Creating a Wedding Budget for more information on what to expect!
2. Choose Possible Dates
Once someone learns about your engagement inevitably they are going to ask, “Have you set a date?” This delicate question is different for each couple, but 6 months to a yearlong engagement is typical. That gives you enough time to select and order your dress (ekkkk!) and book your venue yet it doesn’t drag out your engagement. When choosing your date you should choose 2-3 possible dates to be safe. Think of the time of year you prefer, the weather, work schedules, and holidays, even playoffs if your fiancé is a sports fanatic. Then choose your #1 preferred date, and have a #2 and #3 available in case your preferred date isn’t available. It’s good to have a couple of options because venues book up quickly.
Choosing your wedding date might seem like a no-brainer at first, but there are several different things that you need to consider before setting anything in stone. Click here to learn more!
3. Start Your Guest List
Creating your guest list can be a really challenging task for couples but remember that the more people you have, the more you have to spend. Starting your guest list and knowing your estimated maximum guest count early is crucial.
One of the best pieces advice I can give you about creating a wedding guest list is to consider that everyone you invite WILL attend. I have read far too many advice articles telling brides and grooms that they should remember that not everyone they invite is going to attend. Well, let me tell you that every one of our invited guests attended (we actually had more than invited but that’s a whole other story for another day). This is certainly not an anomaly. I have many friends and family who share the exact same experience. The traditional rule of attendance may be true for other parts of the country but it seems as though East Coasters love a good ol’ party and who can blame them?
You might be wondering, “Where do I even start with my guest list?” Click here to learn more!
4. Wedding Theme
A wedding theme ties together the personal elements of your wedding and illustrates who you are as a couple. Your wedding theme could be dictated by color, an era, or even what you and your husband are passionate about. Travel-inspired theme anyone? There are so many themes to choose from. From vintage to rustic, classic or modern. Whatever theme you select remember you will want a theme that not only matches your unique personality but is also fitting for the time of year, your venue, décor, even your wedding fashion. There is no need to design your entire wedding at this point but know your general theme. Once you know your theme it will be much easier to move onto the next step.
There is no need to design your entire wedding at this point but know your general theme. Once you know your theme it will be much easier to move onto the next step. Establishing your wedding theme will help you tremendously when having to make decisions so check out this post to learn how to choose your theme in 5 easy steps.
5. Choose Your Venue
Once you have the first four steps complete you are ready to start researching and touring venues. Choosing your wedding venue will undoubtedly be one of the biggest decisions you will make as a part of this process, so it’s good to start considering your options right away.
Remember that the venue you choose will determine the number of guests you can invite, the location of your wedding and your theme and styling. You will want to make sure to allocate a good chunk of your time to finding the best venue for you because there are so many different options to consider. From a beautiful hotel to your family summer home, there really is something out there to suit every couple.
I have a post that will guide you in the process of choosing your wedding venue in 8 easy steps. Click here to learn more!
6. Research (Vendors & Your Gown)
Researching potential vendors is huge and taking your time (but not too much time) choosing the right ones is vital. When you are researching, I suggest that you check out the vendor’s portfolio, bio, and pricing. Do they have positive reviews? Do they fit your style and personality? Do you think you will like them? Hiring your vendors is one of the most important steps because they are the people who are going to be making your day happen.
The vendors that are crucial to research right away are photographers, videographers, entertainers, and caterers as they book up quickly. Once you have these vendors selected and hired you can move onto hiring floral and event décor, rentals, invitations, and cake vendors. From there you will go on to hair and makeup, transportation, tux rentals, favors, and any extras.
Choosing and hiring your wedding vendors is one of the most important steps in planning your wedding because these are the people who are going to make your day happen! Learn more about this process by going here.
7. Inquire & Interview Vendors
Interviewing potential vendors can be a very uncomfortable task for some couples, but it doesn’t have to be. You are trying to size up your potential photographer, wedding coordinator, or caterer and it’s their shot to prove to you why they should work for you.
It’s time to contact the vendor, find out if they are available for your date, check on their price, and schedule a consultation. Your consultation is about getting to know the vendor and for them to get to know you then get down to business. Once you have all the details, let them know that you will reach out to them within the next couple of days if you want to hire them or not. If possible, meet with at least 2 of each type of vendor to be sure of your decision.
I know that inquiring with vendors can be intimating for many couples so I have a post that will help you to learn how to inquire with vendors. Learn more about this process by going here.
8. Hire Your Vendors
So you met with your potential vendors and you fell in love. Now is the time to pull the trigger and make your commitment. After your consultations, try to let vendors know your decision a week or two from when they provide you with an estimate. Once you have made your commitment then you can celebrate! You are one step closer to your wedding day!
9. Wedding Dress Shopping
Budget? Check. Vendors? Check. Now that you have those tasks out of the way you are ready darling to go dress shopping! Although you may consider yourself to be a professional shopper and your credit card may not disagree, finding the perfect wedding dress is not the same as picking out an outfit for work. Before you pile into your vehicle for the ultimate girl’s shopping trip, here are 10 things you need to know before you go wedding dress shopping.
10. It’s All In The Details
With the second round of vendors to meet with next (flowers, décor, invitations, cake) you will need to have a good idea of what you want your wedding to be like, so it’s time to focus on the details. A smart man once said: “Details create the big picture.” Remember that it is the details that portray your personality and style as a couple.
Sorting out all of the details requires a lot of research but who doesn’t love this part? This is when we scour all of the bridal magazines and start pinning away! You want to make sure you have enough inspiration to be able to accurately convey to your potential vendors what it is you want for your wedding. Don’t forget to bring your inspiration with you when meeting with your potential vendors. I made sure to bring along my iPad with me to meetings so I could share my Pinterest board inspiration. It was so much easier to convey our inspiration and probably made it easier for the vendors as well.
What steps for planning your wedding have worked for you? What other resources have helped you? Please share your comments below!
DON’T FORGET IT: PIN IT !