It’s time the start the wedding planning process. After all, you’ve told your family; you’ve popped some champagne and got a manicure with your gal pals; and you’ve chatted about some ideas with your fiancé. Now you are finally ready to start the wedding planning process.
Great! But now what? Here are a few key starter points to get you started in your wedding planning process:
First off, schedule a date with your fiancé to go to dinner. Sit together and have a glass of wine and then start daydreaming about what you want your wedding day to look like. This is part of the fun of the wedding planning process—dreaming and imagining yourselves into the best day of your lives so far! Where is your ideal place to get married? Do you want sunset on a beach somewhere or do you want a wedding surrounded by all your friends and family with a big ole party to celebrate? Or maybe you envision yourselves standing on top of a mountain—just to the two of you—saying I Do!
One of the most enjoyable and fun parts of the wedding planning process is the stage where you dream together about your ideal wedding and look for wedding inspiration online, in magazines, and from weddings you’ve already attended. Pick up some wedding magazines— some of my favorites are Martha Stewart Weddings, Lake Bride Magazine, and Magnolia Rouge—to help with some inspiration. You can also use Pinterest to look for unique and amazing wedding ideas (but I suggest you set a timer and look for specific things or you will easily fall down the rabbit hole of Pinterest wedding ideas and it may be weeks before your friends and family see you again).
Once you’ve done some dreaming and inspiration hunting, the next step in the wedding planning process is to discuss a budget and find ways to make your vision fit that budget. They say that money talks, but unfortunately, most people don’t enjoy talking about money—it can get a bit uncomfortable—but soon you’ll be merging households and finances anyway, so it’s a good idea to use wedding planning process to learn how to get on the same page, money-wise now! Before you can move forward confidently with your wedding planning, you have to nail down your budget, as well as expectations and limits if your family has volunteered to help cover some of the costs. Once you have your budget dialled in, you can easily play with the pieces of your wedding day to make sure it all fits within it.
Once you have a budget in mind, decide if you want a big bash or a small, intimate wedding and then work on ways to fit this into your vision and your budget. If your family is footing the bill, make sure to involve them in some of your wedding planning conversations. You don’t have to take all of their suggestions, but you’d be surprised at some of the excellent and sage advice you’ll receive from parents, grandparents, and even siblings who have all gone through their own weddings. Some of the best advice I received when planning my own wedding was to ask myself if I would take a prospective wedding guest out to dinner and pay $50+ for their meal. If the answer was yes, then I was encouraged to invite them to our wedding.
The food costs of a wedding are always a large part of the overall cost and things can get quite costly as your wedding guest list grows. However, this is one of the best places to play around with your budget to make sure you can still have the wedding of your dreams without putting all your plates on one cart, so-to-speak! If you find that you have to feed a large number of people, think about providing a less elaborate meal, offering appies instead of a full meal at the reception (a very popular thing to do these days) or not providing a meal at all. There are many ways to stay within your budget and still keep your guests happy! Just remember to do whatever works best for you, not everyone else. This is your show and your guests love you and will be happy to make your wedding day as special as possible, with or without a big, expensive meal!
You know your budget, you’ve discussed your ideal wedding, and have started getting an idea of wedding size, you can start looking around for your perfect wedding venue. Start by researching online, but then call to get information on pricing and availability (and request a tour) of any venues you absolutely love. Most venues book anywhere from one year to two years in advance, but there are lots of venues available, so try to nail down your ideal venue as soon as you can, but don’t be discouraged if a few of them are already booked on your chosen wedding date. You may be disappointed if you don’t get your first choice, but, trust me, whatever venue you end up booking will soon become the best venue you could have chosen!
This is just the beginning of the wedding planning process. I’ll have more to come soon! In the meantime Brides, if you want a quick checklist to get you started on your wedding planning, click here to download now!
And if you’ve recently become engaged and are ready to start your wedding planning process, let’s chat!
More from our Dear Bride Series:
Meet Rohana. A legacy wedding photographer and fine art portrait photographer based out of Duluth, MN.
When I’m not tearing up during wedding vows, or having endless belly laughs with my family’s, you’ll find me drinking coffee with a surprise of fruit snacks from daughter, dancing in the kitchen with my husband, or adventuring with my little family.
I’m a photographer, educator, and encourager with a heart of spreading more kindness into the world.
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