Planning your wedding can be an overwhelming and emotional experience — but don't let that stop you from creating the celebrations of your dreams! With a little bit of planning and forethought, you can craft a beautiful and memorable event to start off married life. From getting accurate guest counts early on, to communicating expectations and the schedule with your vendors & venue clearly, all the way to making sure everyone is comfortable on the day of—following the six tips below will help ensure that you've got all your bases covered when it comes to wedding planning!
Here are six essential tips to consider while planning your wedding so that you can take the stress out of it and find joy in the process!
1. Check Your Budget
Before booking any services or signing any contracts, take the time to really assess how much money you have available for your wedding and create a budget worksheet with those figures in mind. Don't forget to factor in any tips or taxes that may apply at the end of the process! It might be tempting to go all out for this special occasion, but it’s important to remember that things can add up quickly, so it’s best to plan ahead and be aware of your spending limits. Creating a budget for your wedding day is an important step in the planning process.
To get started, take the time to sit down and assess how much money you have available for your wedding with all taxes and tips factored in. Set limits - it can be tempting to go all out for this special occasion, but it’s important to remember that things can add up quickly and you want to ensure there is still room in your budget for other items or services. It’s often helpful to use a spreadsheet or budget worksheet to track your expenses; this way you can easily adjust if you find yourself getting close to going over-budget. Lastly, don’t forget that things often cost more than you anticipate, so make sure to overestimate on certain areas and leave some extra room in case of unexpected expenses!
2. Research Your Venue
Finding your dream wedding venue is a major part of the planning process. Every couple wants their special day to be perfect, so it's important to spend time researching and evaluating all potential venues before making your final decision. From making sure that your chosen location accommodates all of your guests, to learning about any hidden fees associated with vendor agreements, you'll want to make sure that you've done your due diligence when looking into venues.
Start by thinking about what kind of atmosphere you want, as this will help narrow down the locations that appeal to you most. Do you want a formal ballroom or an outdoor garden? A rustic barn or a modern art gallery? It helps to visit each venue in person if possible, as this can give you a better sense of the overall look and vibe of the place. When choosing your wedding venue, don't forget to think about the aesthetics and how they will tie together with what you're envisioning for your day. In addition, it's important to consider how the aesthetics will match with your desired overall look and feel. For example, a bright and airy space might not be suited for a low-light reception or nighttime ceremony, while a more rustic location might not be ideal for a formal affair. Think about how you want the location to look in photographs, as well as any components like chandeliers or furniture that can be used to create a specific atmosphere. Choosing the right backdrop is essential, so take your time in making an informed decision!
Pay attention to things like capacity, catering services, and availability as well. If there are other vendors involved in the event – such as florists or DJs – check with them to see if they have any preferences or recommendations for certain places. Once you've settled on a spot that hits all your criteria, start looking into booking details, rental fees and other logistical information that will help make sure everything runs smoothly on your wedding day!
3. Research Vendors
When deciding on your wedding vendors, research is essential. Talk to your family and friends for ideas, or look online to read reviews of different businesses that offer the services you’re looking for. Shopping around can be beneficial in keeping costs down and helping you find something that fits within your budget. It's important to prioritize what works best for you two as a couple—seek out someone who understands your joint vision and can help bring it to fruition. Take time to consider all the choices, explore options and do whatever feels right for you. Investing extra effort early on will pay off in the long run! At the end of the day remember that your wedding day is about you two, so make sure to base all of your decisions on who/what you connect with best, what you two envision, and who can make that a reality. Additionally, make sure to keep detailed records of contracts and payments made so that everything stays organized throughout the wedding planning process.
4. Create A Timeline Leading up to and for Your Wedding Day
Planning ahead is essential when it comes to organizing weddings, so create a timeline that encompasses the entire event from beginning (when invitations go out) to end (when gifts must be sent). This helps keep everything organized by having all tasks outlined in one place — from finalizing dates for vendors/venues/activities all the way down through making sure appropriate thank-you notes are sent out for any generous gift-givers after the big day is done! Think about every detail — from cake tasting sessions, dress fittings and decorating tables on the big day — as missing even one small item could disrupt your entire plan if not accounted for early on in the process.
*One big tip is to make sure you have plenty of runway when booking and speaking to vendors, and giving them all the information they need. For example: One thing you might not think about is planning the actual events of your ceremony...you don't want to be two weeks out and still figuring out what exactly you'll include, and then give your musicians, DJ, officiant, planner/day of coordinator all the information last minute. It's better to have a solid plan, and everyone know exactly everything they need to know with plenty of runway going into it so that way the day can run so much smoother and you're not having any added stress for the day of your wedding!
It's also important to let everyone know exactly when they need to arrive to start setting up, preparing, etc. You don't want your DJ to be setting up the speakers thirty minutes before the wedding as guests are arriving only to have them be playing loud pop songs to test the speakers right before the ceremony! (Happened recently at a wedding I was at....) It's better to over-communicate to people than to under-communicate. You might feel awkward by having a bunch of people on the same page, and potentially telling them info you don't think they need, but in the long run your day will be a LOT smoother and a better experience when everyone is on the same or similar pages.
If anything, your photographer, videographer, planner (if you have one), and day of coordinator are the essential, bare minimum people you should over-communicate to with plenty of runway and make sure are all on the same page.
When planning your actual wedding day timeline, it's important to have the help of your photographer and wedding planner (if you can get them in the conversation at once, even better). For my own wedding photography clients, I work together with them in order to create an organized timeline that covers every detail. This includes deciding if you’ll want a first look or getting ready photos, when family photos should be taken, and other points throughout the day. Planning ahead ensures that everything runs smoothly and that no important details are overlooked - allowing you both to enjoy the moment without any added stress!
5. Know Your Guests
When starting out your wedding plans, it is helpful to have an idea of who will be attending in order to get an accurate guest count for venues, catering services, and any other suppliers you might need to book in advance. It also helps with designing decorations or creating seating arrangements if needed. If possible, try and make sure that everyone invited has adequate space to sit comfortably and enjoy the special day without feeling cramped or overcrowded!
Take the time to communicate with your guests directly, whether sending out formal invitations or casually checking in. It's beneficial to make sure everyone is informed of details such as directions to the venue, parking information, any special instructions they should follow, and even the dress code if needed. Doing so helps ensure that everyone can plan accordingly and shows them you care about their experience. Additionally, it can help cut down on any confusion or last minute worries that could potentially arise on your big day. With proper communication and consideration for everyone involved, you're sure to have a smooth and stress-free wedding!
6. Have Fun!
Last but not least, remember why you are doing this whole thing in the first place – because it’s fun! So don't let stress take away from what should be an amazing experience celebrating your love together; instead use excitement and enthusiasm as motivation throughout planning and focus on enjoying yourselves during each stage of preparation leading up to your big day! That includes indulging yourselves when deciding upon flowers, cakes or anything else – make decisions based off of what truly sparks joy rather than what's "expected" or "traditional". And don't forget that at the end of the day your wedding is about you two. Don't let other peoples expectations for your wedding affect how you plan it...that day is about you both and it only happens once so take full advantage of every single moment, enjoy the process, your wedding day and each other!
Personal plug: If you're engaged and this article helped you in your wedding planning, know that I would love to continue to be a part of your special day! As your wedding photographer, it would give me immense joy to be with you every step of the way on this journey that you share together. Not only do I want to capture all the beautiful memories, but I also want to strive to provide an unforgettable experience – one that celebrates and commemorates your special day in an entirely unique and personalized way! Let's chat – I'd love to get to know you both and discuss how I can help you make your wedding day unforgettable!