So, your significant other popped the question, and you’re getting married. Congrats! Now what? It’s time to start planning, but knowing where to begin is very challenging. There are dozens of components to a wedding. Plus, each component is so interconnected. Today, we’re sharing the steps to take to start planning your wedding and enjoy your time while doing it.
Set your budget
Setting your budget is the number one, most important thing you can do to plan your wedding. Everyone sets their budget differently. You will want to understand if you’re paying for the wedding yourself or if your parents or your significant other’s parents are contributing. Additionally, you need to understand what your all-in budget is for the wedding, rehearsal dinner, honeymoon and wedding bands. It adds up quickly when you factor in all elements. We have put together our wedding budget tool to help you determine your overall budget.
We highly recommend selecting the top 3 items that are most important to you and your fiance. When planning, hold yourself accountable that those are the only 3 items you’ll splurge on. You’ll quickly find out when planning that there’s always an opportunity to upgrade so set your boundaries early!
Find your wedding venue & ceremony location
Before you can set a date, you need to know what’s available. The ceremony location & reception venue will help you determine this. It’s easiest to get married at the same location as the reception, this will be extremely easy. If not, you’ll most likely need to determine what’s more important to you – the ceremony location (most likely a church) or the reception venue. Dates are very challenging so don’t get discouraged! This is the toughest part of the process honestly. Our contributor, Kristin, planned her wedding in roughly 30 days so you can always fly through planning, too!
Sign your 3 most important vendors
Remember we mentioned identifying the three most important parts of the wedding? Well, now it’s time to find those vendors. Assembling your dream team for your wedding is key, which Kristin wrote about a few weeks back. Photographers tend to book up super quickly, so we highly recommend finding a photographer quickly. From there, do your best to find one new vendor every two weeks to a month depending on how long your engagement is planned. You’ll need to find a florist, photographer, videographer, hair & makeup stylist, caterer (if the venue does not carry its own food), wedding officiant, cake baker (if not provided by the caterer) and band or DJ at a minimum. Plus, if you’re going to hire a wedding planner or day of coordinator, now would be the time because they often provide vendor recommendations for you.
Ask your bridesmaids
Asking your bridesmaids is one of the most fun parts of wedding planning! You could plan a bridal brunch [hint, we have space at our new studio!] or a girls’ night in. No matter what you choose, they’re bound to have the best time. One of our favorite gifts to include is customized champagne labels – it’s the perfect way to personalize it for a friend! One of the benefits of asking your bridesmaids early is getting their help & input on planning, too! Plus, if you’re hoping they throw you a shower, it’s best to give them plenty of notice so they can plan ahead and be the best bridesmaids ever.
Order all attire 6 months in advance
It’s fun to plan a day to casually go out shopping for your wedding dress. You can turn it into an event with your mom, sisters and/or maid of honor. Regardless of how you choose to go shopping for your wedding dress, be sure to order it at least 6 months in advance so it will be ready in time. Once you find your dress, it will be important to decide if you want bridesmaids matching or if they can pick their own dress. If matching, bridesmaid dresses typically need to be ordered 6 months in advance, too. Lastly, make sure your groom and his groomsmen have their suits or tuxes! Ordering time is a bit more flexible on these pieces, but ideally you need 4-6 months.
Design your invitation suite 6-12 months in advance
Your invitation suite is another element that takes a while to design and print. If you’re planning to send save the dates, you’ll want to start planning early. The save the date will set the theme for your wedding. We recommend you carry the save the date theme through your wedding invitation suite. If you do so, start planning about 6-12 months in advance. Save the dates can go out as early as 12 months in advance. Most of the time, people send save the dates 4-6 months in advance. Send out your wedding invitations a minimum of 2 months before the wedding. However, we recommend sending it out 3-4 months in advance to give yourself plenty of time to plan food.
Enjoy quality time with your fiance
Wedding planning can be stressful. We always remind people – you’re planning the most expensive party of your life with people (aka your in-laws and fiance) you’ve never worked with before. That’s a lot. Be mindful of it, and always try to remember that 1) it’s about you and your fiance and 2) it’s about having fun. You only do it once so enjoy the moments. Be in the moment and soak in all the love around you. If all else fails, call us because we’d love to help you no matter where you are in the process!
Affectionately known to her friends as Millennial Martha for her love of DIY and decorating, Jen can’t help but pour her heart + soul into everything she touches. She’s loved to entertain since acquiring a table and chairs, and giving gifts is one of her favorite hobbies. Jen is the creator of Girl Meets Party. Her dream is to share her passions with the world in hopes to inspire others by making the seemingly unattainable attainable.