Good news is you don’t have to do anything immediately and you should focus on enjoying this time in your life. Being engaged is fun, you get to say fiancé a lot and awkwardly, and people want to celebrate you and the new journey you’re about to embark on. But like most people, you eventually start to get antsy and want to kick off the planning. So where do you begin? There’s a million little details that go into putting together your wedding and they can quickly become overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be that way if you think of your planning in a few key steps:
Determine your budget
- This will impact everything, from how big your wedding will be to how much detail you want to add.
Determine your guest count
- We recommend listing out all potential guests and ranking them on a likelihood of attending. It's important to estimate a guest count so you're looking at venues that can accommodate your group size.
Narrow down location & timing
- Having a few dates in mind is helpful in case your favorite venue doesn't have availability on your first choice. While you're at it, start to think about the kind of venue you are looking for to simplify your search (outdoor, beach, woodsy, barn, farmhouse, hotel, city, etc.).
Begin your venue search
- Once you have a shortlist, set up site visits to see the spaces. Don't limit yourself to just one venue as they may be booked up. Plus, it’s good to bargain shop and make sure the pricing works within your budget.
Lock in the date & venue!
- If it’s a destination wedding, shoot out a quick note to friends & family letting them know so they can begin preparing. Local? You have some more time and can wait up to 6-9 months before sending out a save-the-date.
Set up a wedding website (optional)
- Websites are not necessary, but can be helpful if you want to share information about where to stay, what to see and do before and after the wedding for out of town guests, transportation, etc. We are big fans of Squarespace. It will cost an annual fee to keep it running, but it looks so clean and professional. The Knot has a great free option as well.
Create your save-the-date and mail or email it out
- I have a love/hate relationship with printed materials - an invitation suite with all the bells & whistles makes for beautiful photos, but they just end up getting tossed by your guests. You can certainly send them out to all guests or save some $$ by mailing only to your family and older guests, and then emailing your friends the link to your website. Paperless Post also has beautiful card options, many of which are free, that will allow you to send out invites online and easily track RSVPs.
This process can take between 1-3 months and once you have it all locked in you can move onto the details… ranked in order of importance to nail down: photographer, catering (if not provided by the venue), music (particularly if you want a band, but also for a DJ), wedding dress, formal invites, and lastly, decorative elements.
Don’t have time to manage this on your own? Working with a planner can help keep you organized and on track. At the very least, a month of / week of coordinator will ensure your big day (and surrounding events) go off without a hitch.