Planning the perfect wedding takes time and effort. It’s best to start by establishing some key goals for your wedding day.
Start perusing Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration. Having an aesthetic in mind will help you make design decisions more easily.
Discuss with your fiance and family members to put together a list of must-attend guests and their plus ones. This will help inform the size of your wedding party.
The venue is the foundation of your big day. It sets the tone for your wedding style and influences many other details, like food and decor. Choose a space that will make a statement and provide an unforgettable experience for you and your guests.
Consider whether you’d prefer an intimate indoor ceremony or something more outdoorsy. If you opt for an outdoor space, consider how it will be affected by weather.
Set a date as soon as you can and be flexible with it. This will give you more options when selecting vendors and booking venues.
Try to prioritize venues, florists, caterers and rental companies first. This will free up time later in the process to work with other vendors, such as dressmakers and stationers.
It’s important to determine what you and your partner want from your wedding day before you begin budgeting. Sometimes this will mean locking in a venue or a specific date before getting into the numbers. Other times it may be a priority like rocking music, an open bar or a particular photographer you really love.
It is also a good idea to earmark 3% of your total budget for transportation. Many couples like to have a shuttle run between their hotels and the venue or hire a limo for a post-reception getaway.
It’s also a great idea to add 5% of your total budget for other unexpected costs. These can include a videographer (who can take your photos to the next level!) or additional entertainment like live painters, dancers or poets.
3. Guest List
Your guest list can be one of the most stressful parts of planning your wedding. Start with a master list of everyone you’d invite if money and space were unlimited — on a spreadsheet, in a notebook, or in a wedding-planning app like Aisle Planner. Be sure to include all of your immediate family, close friends, coworkers and significant others. Be sure to allow spouses, fiances and cohabitating partners to bring a date.
Next, create two categories (A and B) for the names on your master list. The A-List is for people you absolutely could not imagine your wedding without, while the B-List consists of relatives and friends who would make the cut but who wouldn’t devastate you if they didn’t show up. Then, trim until your final list fits your wedding size goals.
Whether it’s a donut wall or an impressive entrance, think of ways to leave your guests with unforgettable memories. You can even surprise your guests with fireworks for a special send-off.
Choose an approximate date that works for you and your partner, taking into account each person’s schedule and prior commitments as well as holiday dates. It’s also helpful to know if your wedding falls on the same day as local events or trade conferences that could impact traffic and hotel room availability.
Don’t go at it alone! Involving your partner early on in the planning process helps keep you both focused and motivated. Plus, working together toward your shared goals will further bond your relationship. Schedule regular check-ins with your partner to make sure the two of you are on the same page.
Having mouthwatering food at your wedding is one of the most important aspects of the day. Choose caterers that you trust to provide delectable dishes for your guests.
Depending on your budget, you can opt for either a plated dinner or buffet service. Make sure you have a good idea of how many guests will attend so that you can decide how much to serve them.
If you want to avoid a lot of gifts at your wedding, consider a gift registry for essentials (such as toasters and flatware sets) or ask for money in lieu of gifts. You could even use the money towards your honeymoon!
When it comes to planning, there are thousands of little decisions and tasks that need to be made. If possible, try to divide the responsibilities between you and your partner so that neither of you feels overwhelmed.