The question has been asked, the engagement has been announced, and you’ve shown off that sparkly ring. Now, you probably find yourself Googling “How to Plan a Wedding” because the reality of the situation has finally set it – YOU NEED TO PLAN A WEDDING AND YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHERE TO START. Lucky for you, I’m here with the five things you need to do first!
1.) (and most importantly) Set a budget. Before you spend one dime, make one wedding decision, or basically do anything else, you need to determine a budget. This will impact almost every other aspect of the wedding, and you don’t want to start off in the hole. Do some research on how much weddings cost. They aren’t cheap. As a matter of fact, the average wedding costs around $32k. That doesn’t mean you have to have a $32k wedding, but you do need to be realistic about how much dough is needed to throw a huge party for 100ish of your friends and family. So do your homework. Then, have an honest conversation with your fiancé, and perhaps even with each of your parents (here are a few tips on how to do that!), and come up with a number that everyone is comfortable with. Then, STICK TO IT. A wedding is NOT worth a mountain of debt.
2.) Draft your guest list. Start off by writing down every single person you’d want to invite to your wedding if money were no object. But of course, money is an object and whatever your determined budget is will greatly impact how many invites you can dish out. Have your fiancé write down his or her dream guest list as well, and then each of you consult your parents to make sure you didn’t forget anyone. Then, start making cuts until you’re in a place where your guest count is realistic with how much money you plan on spending.
3.) Determine a style. I think nailing down your wedding style early will save you time in the long run. Have you always envisioned a princess dress and getting married in a big ballroom? Is the grittiness of an old warehouse more your vibe? Love the outdoors and want to dance all night under the stars? The answers to these questions and others like them will help you determine your wedding style. Sure, the vibe may change and adapt a bit as your wedding draws near. But I think it’s super important to know what kind of wedding you’re dreaming of, especially before doing the next two steps.
4.) Set a date. Whether it’s a date that is meaningful to you and your better half, one that works best with work/school schedules, or a day that is totally random, you need to decide WHEN you’ll be getting married. At the very least, have a general time frame in mind if you’re flexible with dates. This will allow you to hire vendors (see next step), choose colors, and a make a myriad of other decisions.
5.) Book priority vendors. Securing a venue first! It will be the backdrop to 75% of your wedding day and it should coincide with the style you’ve determined. Find one that best suits your vibe, guest count, and wallet! Booking a wedding planner (if you’re hiring one, and I highly recommend you do) and a photographer should be the next items crossed off your to-do list. Other providers like a florist, caterer, DJ, and videographer should be considered after that.
There are a whole lot of other steps that follow, but these first five are a great start to the wedding planning adventure! No matter what you do, remember to have fun! This is supposed to be one of the happiest, most joyous times of your life…don’t let the stress of it all ruin that for you.
What were the first few steps you took in the wedding planning process? Have you crossed any of these items off of your to do list yet? Comment below!