Being engaged is one of the most exciting times in a person’s life. Some brides have had a vision of their wedding their whole lives, others like myself didn’t figure out what that was until recently. I honestly was not even sure of where to start this whole wedding planning process. So I rolled up my sleeves, grabbed my glasses, and started to read. If like myself, you have no idea where to start or you just want a little reassurance this list of what to do to jump start your wedding planning is definitely for you!
Buy A Wedding Planner
By a wedding planner I mean a planner and organizer with tabs and checklists to help you stay organized. There are various parts to a wedding this can be a great way to make sure you aren’t forgetting anything or anyone. I found a ton of great options on Amazon for great prices. This is especially a great idea if like myself you are planning the wedding on your own.
Go To A Bridal Show/Wedding Expo
I cannot stress this enough, GO TO ONE! We walked in unsure of what we needed or what the wedding scene was even like and walked out ready to make our dreams happen. You will get tons of ideas, meet vendors, get freebies, coupons, and ladies you can even try on some dresses. Make it a day with your girls or mom, or grab that fiancé of yours like I did! Check out our experience HERE.
Pick Your Date
Decide on whether you want a Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall wedding. We were not set on a particular time of year, we just knew we did not want a winter wedding. Fall just seemed like the ideal time to try and stay away from those lovely summer heat waves. However, we were not set on a particular date or day of the week. Weekday weddings are a lot more affordable than a weekend wedding. Being flexible with our date allowed for our venue to give us more options and make our dream come true. If there is a date you have your heart on get to it FAST!
Set A Budget
This is probably the MOST important part of wedding planning. Setting a budget you are comfortable with will take away from the stress of planning your wedding. This is definitely a good time to talk to family members and get an idea for any outside help you could potentially get. Ask both sets of parents if they can help and get a set amount so you can plan accordingly. I will get all into continuing to save while planning a wedding in the near future.
Make Your List & Guest Count
I think out of all the wedding planning this is the only part I can say is not much fun. I found some cool charts on Pinterest to help decide who should or shouldn’t make your list. The best advice I can give is to ask yourself “Will I be unhappy if they are not there?” Of course there are a ton of people that I would LOVE to be able to have and I know we would have a blast with them, but financially it just is not feasible. We made the decision to have a small and intimate wedding, the biggest factor being our budget. Along with a small budget, we decided in order to have everyone we absolutely could not do this without we cut kids out of our list. Our only children present will be our girls and ring bearers.
Create A Pinterest Board Or Vision Board
About 30 minutes after I said YES I put together a Pinterest Board full of wedding ideas. This gave me an idea of the style of wedding I wanted and tons of options. Feel free to take a look at mine. It really quickly became apparent I loved the idea of an outdoor rustic wedding. You can find just about everything on Pinterest. This will give your venue and vendors an idea of your vision as well.
Start Reading & Searching
Grab your planner and take some notes. With your budget and guest count in mind you can begin to venue shop. I did what I consider “window shopping” online and was able to find estimates and packages for each of the venues I liked. It is very important to remember those prices can change and packages can be customized. Don’t be afraid to give them a call and check if they can work within your budget. Our venue was able to customize our package and gave us options in order to make it affordable.
Schedule Venue Tours
Most couples book a venue 9-12 months in advance. I recommend scheduling your tours as soon as you can. The holidays are a very popular time to get engaged, meaning January and February are popular times to venue shop. We narrowed it down to 4 options based on our budget, wedding style, and location. Then I called to make appointments and dedicated a weekend to it. For tips and our experience with venue tours check back next Monday!
Once you get jump started on your planning the rest will seem a little easier. Just remember life happens and remain calm. Your groom, bridal party, and family are there to help! Don’t be afraid to ask for help with getting started or anything along the way! Congratulations on your engagement and happy planning!!!