Planning a wedding is sooo exciting! It just so happens it can also be incredibly stressful! Unless you’re a professional wedding planner, you’ve probably never had to put together such a big event. It’s difficult to know where to start. Lucky for you, not only have I planned my own wedding (with help of course), but I’ve also shot many weddings and can offer some advice on how to get started planning your own dream wedding.
1. Choose a Wedding Date
WHEN do you want to get married? Right away? A year from now? Is the season of your wedding important to you? The amount of time you have between your engagement to your wedding day may effect the availability and pricing of your vendors. Consider the weather, conflicting dates, and when important guests, like family members and bridal party, might be available to attend.
2. Determine Your Budget
This step will of course decide on the direction your wedding will take. Have a sit down with your fiancé and decide what a realistic budget would look like for you, and what are the most important elements you’re looking forward to. Florals? Photography? An incredible DJ? Your budget will determine which vendors you hire, whether or not you’ll have a meal, or even if you’ll do a fancy exit.
For more information on how to determine your budget, visit THIS blog post.
3. Create a Guest List
After you know your budget, you can start creating your guest list. The number of guests you have will be the deciding factor on which venue you should choose, the number of invitations to order, and the amount of food or drinks you’ll provide. Depending on your budget, you may have to make some tough decisions on who you can invite.
4. Choose a Wedding Venue
With so many different options out there, this can be quite a daunting task, but don’t wait! Venues book quickly, so in order to reserve your dream venue for your date, you need to act quickly. If possible, try to tour the facilities and take into consideration the size, location, price and aesthetic. With your wedding venue booked, your date is now firmly set and you can start inquiring with other vendors!
5. Hire a Wedding Photographer
Besides the two of you, your wedding photographer plays, perhaps, the most important role of the day. They’re there to memorialize your day and to create family heirlooms that family members will cherish for years to come. It’s important to find a photographer that you vibe because, hellooooo— you’ll be intimately sharing and spending the most important day of your life with them! Find a photographer you trust and who will capture the essence of your day. You and your soon-to-be-spouse are unique. No one’s love is exactly like the love you have for each other, and your images should reflect that. Reach out to the photographer whose work you’ve been loving ASAP because they’re schedules fill up quickly!
6. Hire Other Vendors
After you’ve locked in your venue and photographer, you’re now ready to build out the rest of your dream team! These vendors may include a caterer, a cake decorator, a florist, a DJ or band, and other fun vendors like a coffee cart or photo booth. You can do a good ol’ google search for vendors and also ask your family and friends for recommendations. When considering a vendor, investigate their experience, reviews, and of course, their price.
7. Decide on a Wedding Theme
The theme you choose for your wedding will determine the decor and dress of your guests. Are you going for a rustic, casual theme, or is it a black tie event? Whatever your heart desires, and you’re only limited by your imagination.
8. Save the Dates
After you’ve had your engagement session and received your photos, you can send out your Save the Dates! Save the dates are important if you’re planning you’re getting married in 6 months or more. This helps your family and friends plan on travel and is especially helpful to those who will fly in to your wedding. You’d be surprised how many guests will gladly come to your wedding from a distance with enough time to plan for the travel.
8. Create a Wedding Registry
oooo this is the fun one! You and your future spouse are building a future together and your friends and family want to help you by buying thoughtful gifts that you want. Make sure to register at a variety of stores. Even if all of the items aren’t purchased, you’ll often be given a special discount on registry items after your wedding date has passed.
9. Create a Honeymoon Fund
In addition to, or in lieu of creating a registry, you may opt to set up a honeymoon fund! This could be as simple as setting up a Venmo account, or registering through a honeymoon fund site.
10. Order Invitations
When you’re about three months away from your wedding day, this is the time order your invitations. This allows enough time for printing, mailing and for your guests to make their final arrangements.
11. Finalize the Details
Your photographer will help you put together a timeline in order to get the best photos throughout the day. After finalizing your timeline, you can fill in all the details! These might include, choosing your favorite music for the DJ to play, finalizing your menu, arranging your seating chart, and deciding where to place your decor.
There are so many moving parts when planning a wedding, but with a little bit of planning and hiring the right help, your day will run smoothly and be stress free!