Congratulations on your engagement, this is such an exciting time! After the “BIG” question has been popped, the new question becomes, where do we start? With so much information out there, it’s tough to know where to begin. We have narrowed down the first 6 steps to successfully begin your wedding planning process. Let’s get started!
Start Spreading the News
Begin with your parents, of course, then siblings, best friends, and other close relatives that would love to hear from you directly. Once all the VIP’s have been told, feel free to post away on Facebook and Instagram (if that’s your jam).
Take some time to let it all sink in. Buy a few wedding magazines, watch a Say Yes To The Dress marathon, stare at your finger and just enjoy being engaged. Once the pure adrenaline rush starts to settle, you’re ready to begin wedding planning!
Set an Ideal Budget
Like any big-ticket item, setting a budget is key. Sit down with your fiancé to determine a comfortable budget for all your wedding expenses. Take into consideration if you will be paying for everything on your own or if you will have assistance from parents or other family members. Once you have decided on an ideal budget, make a wedding planning checklist. This should include your must have items for the big day. This will help you establish what aspects of your wedding mean the most to you. Budget planning tools are another great way to stay organized and allocate your budget effectively.
Draft Your Guest List
This is a big one! Determining the ideal size of your guest list sets the framework for the rest of the wedding planning process. When setting an ideal guest count, keep in mind how you want to celebrate your big day and the atmosphere you envision. Do you imagine an intimate evening of dinner and cocktails or a 2 day affair with no stone left unturned?
To start, make a list of those who you absolutely want to be there sharing in your special day. Don’t forget to reach out to parents for input, especially if they are helping financially. Remember, at this stage, your list is merely a starting point. There will be plenty of time to add and subtract down the road. Having a draft of your guest list along with your budget will give you an idea of which price range to look for when you begin your wedding venue search. (more on that later!)
Choose Your Style
How do you envision your dream wedding day? Is it on a sun-filled beach, in a gorgeous rustic ballroom or in a chateau dressed with crystal chandeliers?
To start, pull out those magazines or head over to Pinterest. Notice if there are any underlying themes to the photos you love. Are they soft and romantic, do they have more of a formal, elegant vibe? This will give you an idea of what style best suits your taste.
Decide Home or Away
Now that you have narrowed down your wedding style, it’s time to decide on the perfect location.
Maybe you have decided that you’d definitely want to say your vows surf-side, but will this take place at a local beach or in the tropics? For some, the ideal locale has been planned for ages, but for others, the discussions may have just begun. Luckily, we have some helpful tips on how to choose whether to stay local or jet-set away. Take a peek at our blog on the Pros and Cons of destination weddings. Destination Weddings vs. Wedding Venue Near Me
Find the Perfect Wedding Venue
Now that you have a good idea of the size, style, and location of your dream wedding, it’s time to choose the perfect wedding venue. Remember, most venues tend to book dates at least a year in advance, so it’s never too early to start touring.
During or before your venue visit, be sure to share your ideal budget and guest list information. This will help determine which size ballroom is best suited for your event. Sharing your budget is such an important part of choosing the perfect wedding venue. It allows the venue staff to find the space and date that will fit both your vision and your budget.
Speaking of dates, figuring out when you’d like to host your big day is a key part of this process. Being open to different dates definitely gives you more flexibility and will help create a more stress-free booking process. You certainly do not have to be open to any date of the year but try narrowing it down to a particular month and the day of the week you would prefer. This will give you and the venue a good starting point. If you have a special must-have wedding date and are not willing to compromise, that’s ok too. Just keep in mind you might have to pass up your dream venue if another couple has beat you to the punch.
When it comes to style, the venue you choose should have characteristics that compliment overall vision as well as your budget. There are many types of venues, some are a blank slate where you will pay a room rental fee and would be required to hire and coordinate multiple vendors to create your vision. This includes bringing in everything from food and beverages, to tables and chairs, napkins, forks, and knives, etc. Other venues have more inclusive package options that provide everything you need all under one roof. Thinking about which option is best financially as well as how involved you want to be in the creative process will help determine which way to go.
Have Fun and Be Inspired
Now that all those big decisions have been made and the venue of your dreams is booked, it’s time to dive into the details. Every bride-to-be should have an inspiration folder, binder, and/or Pinterest board to stay organized. Wedding gown inspiration, décor ideas, contracts, wedding planning checklists, they all start piling up fast, but once you have a place to keep everything, wedding planning will be a breeze. So, starting Pinning away and ultimately, have fun!
By: Dana Bates