Wedding Planning 101: Where to Start
Now that a little time has passed since you said “YES!” you might be thinking that it’s time to get started on the actual wedding planning! Congratulations! You’re about to start one of the most exciting parts of the process. It’s not uncommon that you might also be at the point where you’re realizing that this exciting process can also be quite overwhelming. Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, I’ve got you! Let’s talk about 7 things you can do to get your wedding planning off on the right foot!
Pick a date
Remember to account for holidays, family anniversaries, etc to try to avoid conflicting dates. If you don’t have your heart set on a specific date, it doesn’t hurt to have an alternative date in mind in case your dream venue is already booked for your first choice date.
Determine Guest List
Your guest list is the primary thing that will have a huge impact on your budget, so this is the first thing you need to sort out. Having 50 guests visit 100+ guests will determine what you can do next and what kind of venue you need. My advice? Start out with a list of the people who MUST be invited first. That way, if you end up having more room, or if someone can’t come, you can easily add names, rather than having to lose sleep over who to remove if you don’t have enough room. Second, create a “B” guest list. This is the list of all the people you’d love to invite if the budget and venue allows. The more you can organize and prioritize this part, the easier it will be when the time comes to finalize the overall invitation list.
Create a budget estimate
Do some research and allow for some wiggle room in case something you want ends up being more.
Create a preliminary budget based on what you can afford for the overall wedding. A lot of planners prefer to price it per guest rather than the event total. Leave some wiggle room for yourself. The gown you adore might cost a little more than what you initially budgeted for, but other things might end up costing less.
Determine your HIGHEST priority wedding purchases
When you’ve determined ahead of time what your highest wedding priorities are, you will be able to use your budget more wisely. Talk to your fiance and determine what’s most important to the two of you. No sense blowing your budget on expensive party favors if photography is the most important thing on your list. Being realistic can really help when it comes to this part of your planning. Book your priority vendors FIRST so that if they cost a little more than what you anticipated you won’t be scrambling for a solution. Once your priority purchases have been made you’ll be able to redistribute any excess funds (or reassess smaller priority purchases) throughout your remaining budget as you go.
Hire a REPUTABLE wedding planner
It might sound odd, but a good wedding planner can actually help you SAVE money because they have experience and access to connections that you wouldn’t otherwise have! An experienced wedding planner knows what to expect! They’ve seen it all and they can head off problems before they even arise. The amount of stress a quality wedding planner can save you is seriously worth it’s weight in gold!
Something to watch out for: Hiring an inexperienced planner can be as bad as not having a planner at all. You want someone who truly knows what they’re doing for this job for you so that you know everything is being handled and your vendors are looked after so that you can focus on enjoying your wedding day.
Book a Wedding Venue
This is typically the first major wedding purchase that you want to make and there are a few reasons why. First, popular wedding venues can book up a year or more in advance so if you have your heart set on a place, you want to get it locked in ASAP. Second, they may have restrictions on what other vendors you can bring in or hire. Additionally, some wedding vendors require you to have a venue booked before you can book them.
Join a Facebook group like Something Borrowed Something Blue so you can connect with other brides and vendors when you have questions or just need to vent about wedding stuff! This can be a huge resource, everything from advice, inspiration, and finding deals on wedding supplies. There are also great wedding inspiration blogs that you can follow on Instagram! I’d recommend following Every Last Detail and Southern California Bride.
Lastly, don’t forget to download my ultimate wedding checklist to help keep you organized and on track throughout the planning process. It’s a great way to get started!
In conclusion, planning a wedding is a big task with a lot of moving parts. If you can get the assistance of an experienced wedding planner early on, I would DEFINITELY recommend it. Before that though, you’ll want to at least have chosen a date, determined what your priority purchases are, created a rough estimate wedding budget, and priority guest list! Once you have those things in place, you’re off to a great start!