How to Plan a Wedding
Congratulations! You’re engaged and excited to start planning your wedding! Now, what? Unfortunately, planning a wedding is not as straightforward as one might think. There are not only a lot of steps that go into planning a wedding but a lot of considerations and decisions you will have to make along the way.
Here are some of the main things you will have to do to plan a wedding:
- Decide when you want to get married. As soon as you are engaged, you are likely going to get asked the question of when you are getting married. Choosing your wedding date hinges on other decisions you have to make such as what your wedding budget it, what size guest list you are wanting, and choosing your wedding venue. It’s a good idea though to consider when you want to get married. The average length of an engagement is about 14 months. Use that as a guideline when planning your wedding (although there are no rules to how long you have to be engaged for!). Also, take into consideration the season of the year you want to get married. Once you have an idea of when you want to get married, you can move forward with the wedding planning.
- Discuss your wedding vision. Sit down with your partner and discuss the type of wedding you both envision. Discuss open and honestly, what it is you want for your wedding. The end goal is to come up your shared vision for your wedding day.
- Set your budget. What do you want to spend on your wedding? What is realistic? Have a discussion with your partner and your families to determine what you have to spend and who will contribute to your wedding. Do you need to go back and make any adjustments to your wedding vision based on budget? Perhaps you may need to set a longer timeline to plan (and finance) your wedding?
- Decide on your guest list. Now that you have a wedding budget, you can decide on your guest list. Keep in mind that the more guests you have, the more your costs will be. Start with a list of everyone you would ideally like to invite to your wedding. Then, be prepared to trim the list in order to work with your budget.
- Book your wedding venue. Once you know your wedding vision or style, know your budget, and have an idea of your wedding guest list size, it’s time to book your wedding venue and set your wedding date. This means booking a venue for both your wedding reception and ceremony (if they are not together at one venue).
- Choose your wedding party. Choosing who will stand up for you on your wedding day is one of the most exciting wedding tasks. It’s a good idea to choose your wedding party after you discussed your wedding budget and booked your wedding venue. A wedding party often means more expense (more bouquets and boutonnieres, more gifts, etc.). As well, if you are having a small wedding due to budget and venue constraints, you may want to opt for a smaller wedding party.
- Hire your wedding professionals (vendors). It’s best to determine what your wedding priorities are. Do you really want a certain band or photographer? Use your wedding vision as a guideline to determine where you want to allocate your wedding budget and then you can begin the hiring process. There are obviously some wedding vendors that are a priority such as your marriage commissioner, after that, it’s the vendors you hire are optional.
- Invite your guests. Whether you send out formal invitations, electronic invites, or call each guest personally, you’ll need to let them know where and when your wedding is!
- Shop for your wedding attire. Whether you are wanting a beautiful gown or a tailored suit. Now’s the time to shop for what you want. Consider the season of your wedding, and as always have your budget in mind.
- Decide on your wedding decor. You may be wanting a simple wedding or something elaborate. Whatever your decision, you will need to determine what your wedding will look like for you and your guests. What will the ceremony be like? What will your floor plan for your reception be (round tables. long tables, or a combination of both?). Do you require linens, flowers or decor?
- Plan your wedding menu for your guests. Whether you are wanting a casual stand-up reception or a fully plated dinner, you will be working with your wedding venue and / or caterers to plan meals for your guests. As always keep in mind your budget. Food and beverage can often account for 40% or more of your wedding budget.
- Plan your wedding day timeline. What exactly is this? In the most basic sense, your wedding day timeline is just what will happen on the day and when. What time is your wedding ceremony? What time will you have cocktails and dinner? When will you be getting ready? What time do your wedding vendors need to show up? A basic timeline will include all the major wedding events. If you want to be more detailed, you can plan exactly what time you want to have photographs taken, what time speeches will be at, when you have to leave to the church etc.
- Confirm your wedding day plans with your wedding “team”. Once you’ve made all your decisions, booked your venue, hired your wedding pros, decided on your decor and meals, and planned your wedding day timeline, you need to confirm your plans. Not only does this mean that you have to communicate your wedding plans to your family and friends, but also to your wedding venue and wedding team (the wedding pros) who will execute your plans on your wedding day. This means confirming your final guest count with your wedding venue and making sure everyone knows where to be at what time.
There you have it! Our “how to plan a wedding” in a nutshell! Obviously, the process is more detailed then we’ve outlined here, but hopefully, this gives you a basic framework to plan your wedding.
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Photo Credit: Jesse Hisco Fine Art Photography