Ready to dive into the wedding planning process? Here's what to knock off your to-do list first.
CONGRATULATIONS! You’re engaged. This is one of the most exciting times of your life. After the general shock and excitement of having a ring on your finger wears off, the stress of wedding planning comes along. Where do you start? Here are the first eight steps:
Step #1 - Create a Wedding Email
Create a new email, specific to your wedding, so that all of your venue and vendor correspondence is in one place. You and your partner can both be signed into this email to stay up to date on where you are in the planning process and easily track down previous correspondence with your vendor team.
Step #2 - Budget
Create a budget. Find out how much money you are able to allocate to your big day. Are you paying for the wedding yourself, or are any family members wanting to contribute? Chat with your partner, both sets of parents, and other immediate family members.
Step #3 - Guest List
Create a first draft of your guest list. Get together with your partner and write down everyone you wish to invite to celebrate your big day with you. After that, talk with your parents (if you plan on involving them in the planning process). It’s likely that your parents will have a few more people in mind that you didn’t think of. If you come up with a list that’s too large, make sure to check out my blog post “How to Narrow Down Your Guest Count” -available to read soon.
Step #4 - Hire a Wedding Planner
Hire a wedding planner to make the planning process a painless one. At a minimum, the wedding planners you reach out to will need to know your all-in budget, your expected guest count, your ideal wedding date or time of year, and the overall style you’re envisioning (or if you need some guidance in this area).
Step #5 - Venue
Begin touring venues. If you chose to hire a wedding planner, they will help you out with this task (and all of the others). Maybe you have a date in mind, maybe you don’t! Either way, start reaching out to venues to gather information on their pricing and packages. Make sure your venue accommodates your expected guest count, fits into your budget (ensure to note all additional fees and expected minimums), and meets your visual expectations. You can’t book anything else until you have a concrete wedding date.
Step #6 - Lock Down a Date
When you've found your ideal venue, secure your date with them. Before booking, make sure to run the date by your high priority guests, such as your parents, immediate family members, bridal party, etc. Keep in mind that you should leave at least eight months to a year to plan your wedding.
Step #7 - Theme and Color Scheme
What will your wedding day look like? Now is the time to get a general idea of what you want as far as theme and color scheme go. Consider the time of year, your venue, and your personal taste & style when brainstorming. Are you getting married in the fall? How about a boho vibe with an earthy color pallet? Getting married in the Summer? How about adding a fun pop of color? Keep in mind you can always change your mind, but some of your vendors (like your florist) will need to have a general idea of what you're envisioning to create a proposal for you.
Step #8 - Build Your Dream Team of Vendors
Begin reaching out to vendors to receive quotes. The most important ones to lock in first are a wedding planner or coordinator, a caterer & a bartending service (if your venue doesn’t do in-house catering and bar), a photographer, and a videographer (if applicable). After that, you can begin looking into florists, a DJ or band, an officiant, a hair and makeup artist, a dessert caterer (if you’re not going through your caterer or venue), a transportation service, a rental company, etc. A wedding planner or coordinator will help ensure you book each vendor for the appropriate amount of time.
You're Set Up for Success!
Once you've completed these eight steps, you'll be ahead of the game and free to work on the fun stuff, like proposing to your bridal party, designing and sending out save-the-dates, building a wedding website, planning your decor, finding your perfect wedding dress, and more. Make the process of planning your wedding FUN!