How to Start Planning a Wedding

If you find yourself reading this post, I would guess that you are newly engaged or about to be engaged. In either case, Congratulations! Being with your love and deciding to spend your lives together is a beautiful thing and of course you want to celebrate this decision with your friends and loved ones. If only it was all that simple, but there are a lot of details that go into that special day. It can be overwhelming, and you might be wondering how to start wedding planning. Like, seriously, where the heck are you supposed to start!? Well, I am here to give you a few suggestions and pass on some of the tips and tricks I have gathered from the many weddings I have been a part of. First things first, let’s talk about what you need to even start getting started. 

There are two things that you need before you can get started; a checklist and a budget. You have to know where you are going if you are ever going to get there. These two things are a big part of knowing where you are going. I have two separate posts that talk about these two things more in depth, you can find them by clicking on the links above, but I will talk about them briefly here.

I am awful with metaphors, but I am going to try to throw one out here. Imagine that you’re on a scavenger hunt and you’ve been given a map to help you reach each destination along the way. A checklist and budget, working together are your wedding planning map. These two things keep you on track in every way. They give you a clear vision of what you have accomplished and what you still have to do. Was that terrible? I don’t feel like it was THAT bad. 

I don’t want to go on and on about budgets, but you guys it is really important. Seriously, go read this post because there is a lot of good information there. To sum it up, without a budget you can find yourself in a place you don’t want to be, overspent and forking out more money or compromising on things you really wanted. Neither one of those places is somewhere you want to be when it comes to your wedding. Weddings can be very stressful because there are so many moving parts. Tossing in money issues into that mix can make it that much more difficult to get the wedding of your dreams. Before you start planning, try to get a rough idea of how much money you are working with, in total. I think it is important to get a ballpark number before you begin because it will keep everything in balance for you. If your budget is $15,000 you probably can’t afford a $10,000 dress.

Speaking of all the moving parts involved with your wedding, a checklist is the best thing you will ever do for yourself. Trust me, you want to get a checklist put together before you start planning. If you have a clear idea of what you have accomplished and what you still have to do throughout the whole process it will make it so much easier. I have made some checklists because I love you and want to help you however I can with your big day. Check out this post for more information on that. 

Okay, now that we have talked about the two major things that you need to figure out before you really start planning, let’s talk about how to start planning a wedding. It is important that you set a date before you really start planning. That way when you reach out to vendors, they will be able to give you an accurate prediction on the cost and availability of the things you want. Also, it is important that you have a general idea on what you want for your big day. Whether it is choosing a theme or determining your color scheme, these things will help you determine what will fit best with your day. The next things you should focus on knocking out are the big things that you will need a vendor for. Start by reaching out to vendors and professionals that you love to determine if they are going to fit within your budget. In my experience, the top 5 highest priced items are typically the wedding venue, catering, photography/videography, floral arrangements, and the dress: start with these things. Once you have prices down you can look at your overall budget and start booking things. Maybe you’ll find out that the venue you are in love with is more than you anticipated, and you need to find a less expensive caterer. Figure out how much things cost and then figure out if you need to make compromises on any of your major items. There is one other major thing that you don’t necessarily need a vendor for and that is the dress. 

The dress needs its own paragraph. There is a lot of information out there about dresses and wedding dress shopping. It can be overwhelming to get through it all. To sum it up, your wedding dress is typically one of the more expensive aspects of your day. Whether your wedding is a year away or three months down the road, start looking for your dress as soon as you can. Sometimes stores need to order a dress in and often the dress will need to be tailored to fit you. These things can take time so try to knock dress shopping out as soon as possible but also, ENJOY IT. Don’t get caught up in the timeline and stress yourself out about finding your dress. If you don’t find it at the first store, that is okay. There are ways that you can expedite the process and if you are doing it early on you will be able to make adjustments to the rest of your budget if that is necessary. This is the dress that you will be wearing when you stand up in front of all your loved ones to marry the man of your dreams. The dress you will be wearing in all of your wedding photos that you will show off for the rest of your life. Enjoy the process of finding your dress and find the dress that you are in LOVE with. 

Once you have an idea on how much the major things are going to cost, start checking those big things off your list. Then you can go to your checklist and start working on the minor things. Obviously, the minor things aren’t really all that minor, but they definitely come with a lot less cost. One of the big things you’ll want to check off your list is locking down your bridal party. People will need to make accommodations with their personal schedules and take time off work, so asking sooner is better. You may want to do this sooner, but it is always nice to be able to give your bridal party details before they commit to be a part of your big day. Whether it is the date or the location, your bridal party should know what they are committing to. I have a whole separate post about bridal party details coming soon so stay tuned for that!

I have talked about so many things here so let me sum up how to start planning a wedding:

  1. Establish your wedding budget and your wedding checklist

  2. Set your date

  3. Determine your theme/color scheme

  4. Contact vendors to establish pricing

  5. Find your dress

  6. Start working on the less expensive items—like establishing your bridal party

I hope you find this method to start wedding planning helpful and you find yourself planning the day of your dreams!