Wedding Planning 101: Where to Start!
By: Trisha Patel
Planning a wedding can be chaotic, stressful and time-consuming. Here are 6 steps that will help you kick start the wedding planning process!
Create a Vision:
Brainstorm with your fiancè and decide on what would make your dream wedding. A few things that should come out of this discussion should be:
General Location - Local or destination?
Size - How many guests?
Vibe - Extravagant, laid-back, etc.
Timing - When do you want to get married? Are there dependencies you need to consider
Budget - Who is paying for it? Will you split? About how much do you want to spend?
Your loved ones will be really excited to plan with you. Try to focus on identifying what means the most to you and your fiancè and then extend planning duties to close family and friends. If you have a hard time getting inspiration, bridal expos are a great source to get things kicked off.
Create a Google/Gmail account to keep all communication and documents coming and going from one place. The earlier you do this, the better. It might also be a good idea to start a binder to keep all of your invoices and schedules so you have something tangible.
Create an account on The Knot. The Knot is an absolute lifesaver. It will start out by asking you some high-level questions about your wedding. Once your account is set up, you’ll have access to checklists, vendor reviews, guest list tools, wedding website/registry tools and much more!
Pick Your Party:
Picking your tribe can be one of the most important pieces of the wedding planning process. Who do you want by your side through the love, laughter, and tears? Once you have your party picked out - it is now your turn to pop the question. Pinterest, Etsy, and The Knot all have great ideas/products you could use to do your bridesmaid proposals.
Do your research - search online and use your network to find different venues that align with your vision
Narrow your list down to 3-5 venues you want to go see in person and schedule a visit.
Once you’ve had your meetings, narrow your list down to 2-3 venues and request proposals. Review, decide and sign!
Considerations: Date, location, catering options, distance to lodging, hidden costs, etc.
In terms of the contract- keep a lookout for catering/alcohol restrictions, security, servers, and transportation services.
It’s important to not only do your research but also talk to your friends and family about vendors they would/would not recommend. Referral by word of mouth will not only help you find good vendors but also save time spent searching. You’ll want to be more selective when you look into vendors compared to venues. The more options you have, the more confusing it will get. So try to narrow your lists wherever you can.
Book First: Photographer, caterer, DJ and decorator
Narrow your list to 3-5 options for each and meet with them sooner rather than later.
Book Second: Beauticians, florist, photo booth, cake decorator, etc.
Considerations: Make sure you keep an eye out for hidden costs when you talk to vendors. These costs can include travel accommodations, hourly surcharges, etc. If you are planning to book a wedding planner or coordinator, try to book them as early as possible. That way they can help with negotiations and reviewing contractual agreements for other vendors.
Make Time for Yourself and Take It All In
This is arguably the most important piece of the wedding planning process. We prepare months and sometimes years for a single event that signifies the first day of forever. It’s easy to get lost in the planning process and forget about yourself. Take time to yourself and do something you love. Here are ideas:
Don’t forget your hobbies, or pick up a new one - write, read, paint, shop
Monthly self-care days - mani/pedis, spas, facials
Spend time with your friends outside of and away from wedding planning or related conversation - you’ll enjoy the mental break
Date nights or one-on-one time with your partner - this is essential especially with the built-up stress around wedding planning
Planning a wedding can take a lot of time and energy. Take it one step at a time and enjoy the ride! Stay tuned for future articles expanding on specific areas of the process including Picking your Party!