If you’re one of the lucky couples that got engaged over the holiday, congratulations! We wish you and your fiancé a lifetime of happiness!
Sharing the news is the easy part. But what comes next? A venue? Engagement photos? Guest list? Your head may be spinning with all the things you’re supposed to do.
The good news is that all these decisions are 100% up to you. Whether you want a non-traditional wedding, a micro wedding or the event of the season — if you can dream it up, there are people out there who can make it happen.
We hope these steps will help as you plan the perfect event!
Step 1: Set a Timeline
While it’s hard to nail down an exact date without securing a venue, you can set a general timeline for when you want to say “I do.” This is a good first step, because it can help you make plans for the rest of the items on your checklist. It’s not uncommon, by the way, to set a date that’s over a year from the time you get engaged. There’s no need to rush!
Step 2: Start Envisioning the Style of Wedding You Want
This is the daydreaming stage. Get ready to thumb through magazines and scroll Pinterest for ideas. Why? Because the more concrete you can get about the style of the wedding you imagine for yourself, the easier it will be to choose your colors, your venue, your attire and more. Now’s the time! Create, in your mind, the type of wedding that will make you and your beloved happy.
Step 3: Compile Your Guest List and Set a Budget
These two items go hand in hand. Depending on the size of your family, your circles of friends and coworkers, your cultural traditions or personal preferences, your guest list may be long or short. Once you have a rough idea of the numbers, set a reasonable budget. If family members will be taking on some of the costs, figure out who will be paying for what. Trust us: frank conversations now will help you avoid uncomfortable conversations later. Remember to go easy on the credit cards and put aside some money for your future! A wedding lasts one day; your married life will last a lifetime.
Step 4: Choose Members of Your Wedding Party.
Once you have the budget set and an idea of the style of wedding you’d like, it’s time to extend invitations to the people you want in your wedding party! While some couples keep the wedding party small, others include up to 8 or 9 bridesmaids or groomsmen. Remember, there’s no need to stick to conventions. Your “bridesmaid” may be a male friend and vice versa!
Step 5: If Possible, Hire a Wedding Planner! If Not, Choose a Venue that Has it All
You could plan everything if you want to, but we recommend saving yourself time and stress by hiring a professional. A wedding planner can help you bring what you imagine to life on your big day. If hiring a planner is a little out of your ideal price range, consider choosing a venue that offers decor, catering and more!
Remember that your choice of venue has a lot to say about your particular style and who the two of you are as a couple. We have a range of options, from country casual to urban chic that might fit the bill.
Step 6: Choose Your Wedding Colors and Your Attire
Now, the fun part. It’s time to choose your dress or tux! It’s also time to finalize your colors and pick out what you’d like your bridesmaids and groomsmen to wear. Make sure you choose attire that’s within your budget, but makes you feel like a million bucks. You’ll know you’ve chosen the right dress or suit when you can’t keep the smile off your face.
This is also a good time to set up your registry and begin choosing the gifts you’d love to open after the ceremony!
Step 7: Research Vendors for Your Photographs, Your Flowers, Your Cake and Other Wedding Services
Now is also the time to begin choosing vendors that will perform the ceremony, take your photos, design your bouquets and bake your cake! Make a list of the services that are most important to you. Some couples care more about flowers than others; many people create the perfect playlist themselves rather than hire a DJ or wedding band. Whatever you choose to do, you’ll want to book your florist, photographer and other vendors about six months before the day of your wedding. So start doing your research.
Step 8: Design Your Invitations
Once you’ve set a date, picked out your colors and chosen a venue, you can design your “Save the Date” notices and wedding invitations. Understanding what the style of your wedding will be aids you in choosing a just-right pattern and font for those invites. Depending on your budget, you can use do-it-yourself tools or hire a vendor.
A note about timing: As a general rule, you should take engagement photos and send out “Save the Date” cards seven or eight months out. Your wedding invitations should be sent out two to three months ahead of your ceremony.
Step 9: Begin Finalizing the Venue and the Menu; Book Rooms for Your Guests
To make sure you’ve got space for all of your guests, you’ll want to start booking rooms for them and working out details of their travel plans as soon as possible. If your chosen venue offers catering, you’ll want to finalize the menu, as well.
It’s getting exciting now!
Step 10: Make Final Decisions on Those Vendors and Get Ready to Say “I Do!”
As you can guess, six months from your wedding date is an important time! You’ll have a lot on your plate, including booking a location for the rehearsal dinner and making plans for your honeymoon. If you haven’t chosen your vendors and nailed down the details yet, now is the time. And, If you’re feeling nervous at this stage and astonished at the amount of money flying out the door, that’s normal. Consider purchasing wedding insurance if you have any concerns! Then, get ready for the best party of your life.