Planning a wedding takes time. It’s important to have a realistic timeline and to make sure that you’re taking the time to enjoy each step of your journey together.
Start by choosing a few ideal dates. This will help you when it comes to booking venues and vendors. It’ll also give you an idea of what type of budget to set for your big day.
1. Pick a date.
The first step in the planning process is picking a date. This will help you narrow down your options for venues, caterers, and other vendors.
You should also consider the season. Certain months are busier (and more expensive) than others.
Be sure to pick a date that works for you and your fiance. Don’t let family and friends weigh too heavily in your decision.
2. Book your venue.
Once you have your date picked, it’s time to book your venue. This is a crucial step, because it will confirm many important details like date (an important detail for vendors) and capacity.
During your site tour, ask to see what the layout of tables would look like for your final guest count. This will help you determine if your vision fits the space!
3. Book your vendors.
The venue you choose will determine just about every other aspect of your wedding. It will inform how much you can spend on a photographer, how many guests you can invite, and even whether or not a cake baker or band is available.
Sit down with your fiance and determine what your wedding must-haves are. Then, be willing to compromise on the rest.
4. Create a budget.
Setting your budget might not be the most exciting task on your wedding to-do list, but it’s one of the most important. This will help keep you from falling in love with a venue or vendor that is out of your price range.
Figure out what’s most important to you as a couple and make sure your priorities reflect that. You also want to leave room for unforeseen fees and expenses.
5. Create a guest list.
The guest list is a crucial step in wedding planning. It’s important to consult with both you and your partner, as well as any families who may be contributing to the wedding.
Ultimately, you’ll need to create a B-list in case first-priority guests decline. Consider giving coworkers a plus one or letting married and engaged friends bring their partners. You should also list any dietary restrictions on the spreadsheet.
6. Create a timeline.
Typically, you’ll want to give yourself about a year to plan your wedding. It’s really important to have that time, as it’ll help you make fewer compromises and trade-offs throughout the process.
Start building your timeline by noting when your hair and makeup team should arrive and when your photographer should come to capture your portraits. You can also add in any reception details that you’ve discussed with your vendors.
7. Create a wedding website.
People are wired for stories, so a narrative of your love story can really make an impact. Your wedding website can also include forms so guests can provide any special dietary requests or accessibility needs they may have.
For destination weddings, consider dedicating a page to travel tips and accommodations. This can include recommended hotels in the area as well as a link to group rates and reservation deadlines.
8. Hire a wedding planner.
If you’re not confident that you can juggle all of the wedding planning tasks, consider hiring a planner. Check out local wedding directories and social media for planners that match your budget and style.
A planner will help you confirm contracts with vendors and create timelines and floor plans. They’ll also conduct a site visit and address any issues that may arise.
9. Schedule a trial run.
Schedule a hair and makeup trial run. Make sure you do this on a day that is similar to your wedding date, as it will give you an idea of how long the styles will last.
Try to wear a shirt that is a similar color to your dress and replicate the neckline, so you can see how the look will look with your wedding gown.
10. Create a wedding day timeline.
A well-crafted wedding day timeline can make your big day run smoothly. It’s important to finalize your timeline with all of your vendors about a week before your wedding.
Start by asking hair and makeup professionals what time they’ll need to arrive. This will give you a framework for the rest of your wedding timeline. Add in timing for your photographer, officiant, and other vendors as needed.