The First 5 Steps of Wedding Planning

You’ve found Prince Charming, he proposed on one knee, and visions of your dream wedding are swirling through your head.  You’re anxious yet bursting with excitement and giggling every time you say “fiancé.” As you share your big news, it is natural for everyone to ask you “When are you getting married?”  Let this new reality sink in and savor this time for at least a few weeks as you will have plenty of time to plan your big day.

Weddings can absolutely be stressful and overwhelming, but yours doesn’t have to be.  Your family and close friends are excited for you and will want to help, but don’t let their excitement and eagerness add unnecessary pressure to the planning process.  After your wedding, you and your fiancé will have a lifetime of decision making and planning ahead of you. Your wedding is the first of many projects that you will work on together as a team.  Let’s kick off the rest of your life together on a good note.

The First 5 Steps of Wedding Planning

  1. It’s not sexy, but it’s time to talk about money.  Setting a budget together and including those who are contributing will help set expectations.  There is no limit on how much money you can spend on a wedding and things can easily get out of hand.  These conversations may be uncomfortable but being upfront and setting expectations will save hurt feelings and resentment in the long run.  Having a strict budget that you all agree to stick to will help you set your priorities.  
  2. Discuss your priorities. Maybe you’ve carried a picture of a designer dress for the past three years in anticipation of your big day and can’t imaging getting married in anything else.  Or, you’re dead set on having your favorite band perform at your wedding. Or maybe it is imperative to serve Cristal Champagne in fountains all night. Nothing is ridiculous, but all come with tradeoffs and that is where determining your priorities together will help you decide what you can keep in your budget and where you need to cut.
  3. Who is in and who is out?  The size of your guest list is the biggest variable in your budget.  You’ll naturally want to invite everyone, but ask yourself, “Would we go to dinner with this couple and would they buy us dinner to celebrate our engagement?”  Would you ever buy them dinner? That is essentially what you are doing, but don’t worry, there are ways to gracefully and tactfully decrease your guest count.  
    1. Blame someone else.  If your guest list is too long, look for a venue that limits the number of guests.  You can always have a party after your wedding – and wear your dress again – for those who missed the main event.  
    2. Thin the herd.  A destination wedding is a great way to find out which of your invitees are willing to commit to an entire weekend to celebrate with you.  This doesn’t necessarily mean airline tickets. Look for venues that require a few hour car drive – far enough away that you would need to stay over, but not so expensive they require the hassle of airlines. 
  4. When’s the big day?  Deciding on when will depend on where and again it comes back to setting your priorities.  Venues can book a year or two in advance, so if you are dead set on being a June bride, your first-choice venues may already be booked.  If a particular date isn’t a priority, then being flexible will get you your favorite venue. Once you have your when and where the rest is relatively easy and you’ll finally be able to answer the question everyone has been asking.
  5. Let the journey begin.  A good venue will give you reputable vendor choices that have a proven track record and you can start planning your big day.  Take your time and enjoy meeting your wedding vendors, savor the cake tasting, smell the flowers, and try on every dress until you find the one.  

Planning a wedding can be a fun and memorable experience you’ll be doing together.  There will be problems to solve and tough decisions to be made, but working through these will help enhance the bond you’ve already created and you’ll cherish your wedding, even more, knowing you planned it together.  

Congratulations on your engagement!