So you’re engaged! Congratulations! Before you start thinking about the wedding, savor this moment and celebrate. Don’t save the party just for the wedding. Let’s face it – in real life, most people are not Monica from Friends. They haven’t been imagining their wedding since they were kids and prepared a binder full of ideas. They get engaged and don’t really have any clue where to start. That’s when the googling begins. I’ve saved you some of that precious time so you can spend it on better things, like hanging with your new fiancé. I’ve assembled the most important steps to get you started on your wedding journey! Scroll down for my first steps to plan your wedding.
Create a Wedding Schedule – or download mine for free!
I don’t think I would function in life without schedules and lists! Having worked as a Video Producer I am a master of scheduling and timetables. I would suggest putting together a schedule to keep you accountable and on track for your wedding planning. While it may sound rigid, it will make it less stressful in the long run as you’ll have some focus and know when things need to be done. You’ll be way more relaxed and feel on top of things.
Luckily for you guys, I’ve put together a free printable 12 Month Wedding Planning Schedule! With all the major check points and timeframe guidelines, print this off and you’ll be in the know at all times.
2. Create your guest list
Before even starting to think about a venue, you’ll need to firm up your guest list. It’s always surprising how when you actually sit down and write one, you’ll hit high numbers very quickly. There’s Uncle Henry, and then his wife, and then his ex wife.. his kids. It adds up!
My recommendation would be to make two lists. Your ‘No negotiations’ and ‘Would love to have’. It may sound hard and brutal but it will be a lot easier to figure out your numbers if you think about who means the most to you. And when I say you, I mean you. Prioritise your own list – not your family’s list. While this is super tough and you have to think about making everyone happy, make sure you make yourself happy first. Keep coming back to what matters most to you. Are you dreaming of an intimate wedding, or do you want to throw the world’s biggest party? There is no right answer, it all comes down to you! This will also influence the next step..
3. Determine your budget
It’s the B word. Don’t worry, I’ll whisper it. The Budget. Before you really start planning, you need to think about the money. I know it’s boring and scary, but it will influence everything, so it’s much better to get it out the way rather than go along blindly. Please don’t wait until you’ve got half way through and then realise you spent all the money you had on the venue. This is where a good Excel spreadsheet is the best plan!
Top tip: Once you’ve got further down the line, you can add details to your budget. For instance, when will certain suppliers need paying? This means you can start to pencil in key dates for payments due.
4. Define what your ideal wedding is
Chances are, as a couple you may never have truly discussed what your ideal wedding is. Sit down and have a good conversation about what matters the most to you. When you visualise your wedding, what does it look like? This is a fabulous time to start looking at inspiration. Get creative (but keep the budget in mind).
Top tip: Pinterest is the best resource for wedding planning! Full of easily searchable ideas, this platform really comes into it’s own for this exact purpose. Head over to my Pinterest profile to see my array of wedding boards and get pinning!
5. Choose your venue and set a date
This is when it starts to get real! Start looking at venues based on the kind of wedding you visualised in the last step, your guest list numbers and geographical area. This way you can quickly narrow everything down to a shortlist. If you are hoping to have a more environmentally friendly wedding, ask a venue about their sustainability credentials.
If you have no idea what to ask a venue, take a look at Devine Bride’s amazing blog post to help you.
Top Tip: It’s also a good time time to think about registrars and the legal bit. You want to make sure registrars are available for your preferred date before you book a venue.
6. Wedding Website / Save the Date
YAY! You have a date and a venue! Let people know by creating a wedding website or sending our your save the dates. It’s always a good idea to send out your save the dates early as you have more chance of people being free. We all know how ridiculously hectic people’s schedules are these days!
Top Tip: With Joy is a great wedding website to use. It’s free, and you can even add a registry!
7. Choose your Wedding Suppliers
Sometimes it may feel like choosing your wedding suppliers is a Herculean effort. There’s lots of help you need on your wedding day, but start by thinking about the priorities. If you think you need a Wedding Planner to help, hire them now. I can personally recommend Devine Bride. Your other priorities should be Hire/Styling, Caterers, Florist, Stationery and music entertainment. It feels like I’m missing one.. oh yes.. the most important 😉 Your photographer! Take a peek at my wedding packages, or fill in my enquiry form if you are ready to chat about my services!
These suppliers tend to get booked early, so prioritise those as your must do list at this point. Download my free printable schedule to keep all this in your mind at certain dates ahead of the wedding.
These are my first steps to plan your wedding. Follow my printable schedule for the next steps and remember to enjoy yourself. This whole process should be an enjoyable and exciting one! If you need any help along the way, feel free to jump into my inbox with your questions. I’m always here to help!