Before we get too far into wedding planning tips, I want you to remember…. Enjoy being engaged! Being engaged is a short but special time of your life. Getting engaged is awesome, and it can be one of the most exciting and romantic times of your life. You’re only engaged once in your life, so enjoy it!
As you begin wedding planning keep in mind, you’ve never done this before. Give yourself grace and know it’s okay to ask for help along the way. Wedding planning can be a lot to handle! At first the endless to-do lists can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be as scary as it might sound or initially feel. Don’t dive headfirst into the wedding planning until you and your fiancé are both ready for it.
And remember, there’s no right or wrong way to do it. Whatever method ends in your wedding day being something special and memorable for you and your soon-to-be-spouse is the method for you.
Overall, wedding planning is an adventure! So try to see it as such, rather than a stressful experience.
“In the rush of planning, don’t lose sight of the big picture. Nothing about a wedding is as important as the marriage that will follow. A wedding is a beginning, not an end in and of itself. There will be different points of view, and perhaps even disagreements, as you plan your wedding. Always make your marriage the priority, the details of the wedding become just that, details.”
—Bronson Van Wyck, owner, Van Wyck & Van Wyck
Without further ado, let’s get into the top 5 essential wedding planning tips you should know!
1. Agree on a Wedding Budget
This is the first and most important step because it will guide all your other decisions in the wedding planning process. Too many couples run into frustrations when trying to book a venue or vendors that doesn’t fit their budget.
My best tip here is to start with your “must-haves”. What are some things both you and your fiancé feel must be included in your wedding experience? Maybe there’s a particular wedding dress you have your heart set on, or perhaps it’s really important for your partner to have a special honeymoon. Whatever it is, share your must-haves with eachother and start with those big items, letting the things fill in the cracks.
There are some great ways to maximize your budget by repurposing wedding decor in different ways. For example, the bridal bouquet might be reused as the center piece for the welcome table at the reception, and the bridesmaids flowers might be used as centerpieces. Find creative ways to repurpose table arrangements, tulle, and other decorations.
Most importantly, remember to keep perspective when it comes to setting your budget, especially if you and your fiancé have major disagreements on where or how to spend the money. Ask yourself what will be remembered in 10+ years. Your guests probably won’t remember the food or drinks that were served, but you’ll probably remember the argument you had over it.
2. Decide on That Type of Wedding to Have and Create a Guest List
Once you know how much money you’re comfortable spending on your wedding, you can choose what type of wedding you want to have. There are several types of weddings to choose from. You could choose to elope, have an intimate or micro wedding with just the people you’re closest to, or perhaps choose to travel far from your hometown and have a destination wedding.
Knowing what type of wedding you want to have will also help guide you on creating your guest list. If you want to have a more intimate wedding with those most special to you, creating a guest list will be a bit more simple. If you want to have a more traditional or classic wedding, a bit more work will be needed to create your list.
You won’t be able to lock-in your guest list until you have your venue, to know how many people it can accommodate, and your catering, to know how much it will cost to feed each person.
Just like my recommendation for setting your budget, it can be helpful to start creating a guest list with your “must-haves”. Which family members or close friends absolutely need to be there? What about friends and family members of your fiancé? That can be your A-list, then do another wave of B-list friends and family, and so on.
It will be super helpful to have this rough draft guest list as you research venues so you can ensure all your A-list people can be included.
3. Set the Date
Choosing a day to get married is arguably one of the most important planning decisions you’ll make as a couple in this process. Choosing a day will influence everything else you plan, because until you have a date set you can’t commit to any vendors or venues.
But how do you choose? Choosing your wedding day is a completely unique process for you and your fiancé, and it’s part of what makes your wedding day so special to you.
First, think about how much time you think you’ll need to plan your wedding. This will be different for each couple and for each type of wedding, but as a good guideline the average couple is engaged for 14 months.
Second, consider what wedding season you want to be married in. Summers are good for fun and free spirited weddings, while winter weddings might give you a cozy and magical feeling you want. If you’re planning a destination wedding, consider the best times to get married in that area (I recommend Florida in the springtime ?).
Think about whether or not there are any special dates that are symbolic to you or your spouse. For example, would it be special to you to share a wedding day with your grandparents? Would it be romantic to be married on the anniversary of your first date? This is what John and I did for our wedding date!
It would be good to also consider any major local events that may effect your wedding day, such as parades, graduations, football games, or anything else that may affect travel or accommodations for your guests.
4. Book Your Venue/Location
Now that you’ve done a lot of the groundwork to planning your wedding, you can start looking for the perfect wedding venue.
In addition to finding a venue that matches your style (look back on what you decided for your budget, estimated guest count, and what type of wedding you want to have), you’ll want to find a venue that has a lot of existing charm, with beautiful interiors and exteriors. You don’t want to feel the need to allot even more of your budget into decorating the venue.
You’ll want to find somewhere that has a good balance of indoor and outdoor space. It’s always good to have an indoor place to run to if the weather unexpectedly turns sour. Also keep in mind the layout, so the flow of guests doesn’t get jammed, parking, and where you and your wedding party will be getting ready.
5. Book Your Photographer! (and any other vendors most important to you or in high demand)
Choosing the right wedding photographer is a very important part of your wedding day experience. As opposed to other wedding vendors like florists, hair and make up artists, cake decorators and DJ’s, you’ll be spending the entire day with your wedding photographer.
Make sure that you and your photographer’s styles jive together. In other words, make sure your energies match. If you’re a happy, spunky, light hearted person, then hiring a more serious or stuffy photographer might be a drag and make the day less than desirable.
Look into your photographers editing style, and make sure their artistic style and flare matches what you want. Remember your budget and use it as a guideline to finding the right person.
Consider whether you’d like your photographer to travel to you, or journey with you on your adventurous destination wedding.
When you’re looking for other wedding vendors, remember these words:
“Follow your gut and do your research when it comes to choosing vendors. Don’t settle. Make sure the people you surround yourself with are looking out for you and your best interests versus just trying to sell you something you don’t really need.”— Nicky Reinhard, owner, Nicky Reinhard Events
Wedding planning doesn’t have to be a stressful ordeal. It’s an adventure, and one that you and your fiancé only travel once together, so make it fun! In order to make the most of your wedding day, follow these 5 wedding planning tips:
- Agree on a budget
- Decide on That Type of Wedding to Have and Create a Guest List
- Set the Date
- Book Your Venue/Location
- Book Your Photographer
I can’t wait to hear all about the celebration you’re planning! Share a bit about it with me on on my contact form here.
Here’s to making the most of your special day!