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Creating a Wedding Guest List

Creating a Wedding Guest List

It’s never too early in the wedding planning process to start talking about your guest list. Before you announce that you’re having 250 people and start verbally inviting people, it’s a good idea to sit down with your fiancé and answer the following questions.

What Are Your Dreams?

First, make sure you and your fiancé are on the same page. Have you always dreamed of a small intimate wedding or a huge bash? Do you envision a guest list of 30 or 300?

Who Has to Be There?

Until you have your reception and ceremony venues finalized, you won’t know how big your guest list can be. However, it’s a good idea at this stage of the game to start counting family and your closest friends and get a sense of how many essential invites you have. After all, if you have 60 essential invites, you should probably forget about the charming chapel that only seats 50.

Who Isn’t Welcome?

Now is also a good time to discuss ground rules. If you’re uncomfortable with inviting ex-girlfriends or ex-boyfriends, even if your fiancé is on friendly terms with them, speak up now. These are other people to consider for exclusion:

  • Children
  • Plus-one guests for single people (something that can really up your costs)
  • People who tend to drink too much, especially if you’re not close to them anyway
  • Business acquaintances
  • Those from whom one of you is estranged

Who’s Paying?

If your parents are paying the bill, you should talk to them about how many people they want to invite. Some sensitive negotiation may be necessary here if they have 100 people, but you wanted to have a small wedding or vice versa. If you and your fiancé are paying, or everyone’s chipping in, sensitivity is still in order but it will probably be easier for you to call the shots. Make sure you have developed a wedding budget and talked about who is paying for each part of your wedding.

What Can You Afford? 

Once you’ve set your budget, be realistic. How many people can you afford to invite? Ask yourself if it’s more important to have lots of people, or to pamper a smaller amount of people with an elegant meal with all the trimmings? Remember that no matter what your style, each extra person will add to your bottom line. If you’re on a tight budget, a smaller wedding is probably the way to go.

Dividing the Wedding Invites

Once you’ve got these preliminary questions out of the way and have decided where you’re having both the ceremony and reception, you’ll know how many guests you want to invite. The next step is deciding how many invitations to give to each of your parents. Traditionally, the invitations are split evenly between the two families. However, if the bride and groom share the same group of friends, you may choose to give each of your parents a third of the invitations, reserving a third for yourselves.

You and your fiancé should sit down and start naming the names (and gathering the addresses!) that will make up your portion of the guest list. It is best to be organized from the start and using a program like Excel, or online wedding guests managers and apps such as the one at the Knot.

Best Websites for Wedding Planning

Best Websites for Wedding Planning

You said I do! You told your closest friends and family, and you even set a date. Now what? For newly engaged couples, wedding planning can seem overwhelming. Tech to the rescue! Here are our picks for the top 10 wedding planning websites for the newly engaged.

  • 01of 10

    Wedding Wire

    Topping our list of wedding planning sites is Wedding Wire. Wedding Wire is free and offers a personalized wedding website that takes only a few minutes to set up. Even members of your bridal party or your wedding planner can set up your wedding website and it includes a handy phone app so you can plan on-the-go. After setting up an account, you are offered customized wedding vendor deals based on your location and the location of your wedding.

    You can quickly share your happy news through social media with a link back to your page, and the site includes links to helpful planning articles about every step of the planning process. It has a custom wedding registry manager where you can choose from popular suppliers or upload your registry from another site if you’ve already started one.

    Our favorite feature of the planner is the comprehensive schedule. By entering your wedding date, the site populates a schedule for booking all of your wedding needs, including photographers, florists, venues and more. You won’t forget a single detail! The schedule includes post-nuptial reminders to send thank you notes, upload your wedding photos and change your last name, all with helpful articles and how-tos.

  • 02of 10

    The Knot Wedding Planner

    Answer a few quick questions, including your engagement date, wedding date, budget and an approximate number of guests and the planner takes over, instantly providing local wedding vendor deals. A running quiz helps the program get to know you and your planning schedule appears immediately.

    You can build a custom wedding website in just a few clicks and there are many beautiful themes to choose from. Features include a registry you can share with your guests where you can choose from a large variety of popular stores or sync with other registries. You can add cash fund details or choose a charity, manage your guest list, add photos and tell your wedding story to your friends and family. Easily add venue details, dates and other important information for your guests.

    The go-to site for wedding planning, The Knot has hundreds of resources to help you plan your big day.

  • 03of 10

    Wedding Happy

    Wedding Happy is a free app available in the Google play store or the App Store that helps you to make your wedding plan and sends you reminders. It is ultimately a schedule and to-do list with built-in reminders and a calendar function. You can share your to-do list with others and assign tasks while the app tracks your progress. You can even track your vendor payments and due dates and almost all the apps features can be used without an internet connection.

  • 04of 10

    Appy Couple

    For a one-time fee of around $55 (US), you can build your own wedding website with this easy-to-use app that offers unlimited hosting, photos, and guest list members. The app includes a guest list manager that is free for your guests to use as well as an RSVP manager. The app coordinates your theme with save the date and thank you messages, printed materials, and emails. The sites are pre-built and design skills are not required to make a lovely wedding website. Appy Couple also includes planning guides and checklists and has multi-language capabilities. Guests can even post virtual toasts to your app and see the daily countdown to your wedding.

  • 05of 10

    My Registry

    My Registry is a registry management site for weddings, showers and other events. Create an account and choose “Wedding” from the registry options and a list of vendor registries appears for you to choose from. You can also upload your own registry from a location you’ve chosen. You can create a cash gift fund, customize your background and provide wedding details to your guests including venue details and key dates. This handy site helps you keep track of your gifts, manage thank you notes and easily share your registry with your guests.

  • 06of 10

    Mywedding.com

    Mywedding.com is an excellent resource for articles and wedding inspiration. With mywedding.com, in just a few clicks you’ll have your very own wedding website linked to popular registry sites (or upload your own). Your site can include a guestbook, event RSVPs and details about your wedding date. For a quick and simple wedding website, this is a good, free option.

  • 07of 10

    Pinterest

    You can get lost for hours (or even days) scrolling through Pinterest for wedding inspiration. Do a quick search for weddings and you’ll be able to view color palettes, photography, dresses, food and everything in between. It’s the best place to find DIY ideas and instructions. Remember to try them out before committing to an idea – no one wants a Pinterest fail on their wedding day! Tip: don’t just search “wedding ideas” on Pinterest. You can also find amazing wedding inspiration under crafts, flowers, fashion, shoes, and hair.

  • 08of 10

    Brides.com

    Brides magazine has been in the wedding business for almost 60 years and their website, Brides.com, offers a multitude of wedding planning articles, how-to tips, trends, imagery, advice, and information. “Real Weddings” are a nice feature too. It’s always a pleasure to see what weddings look like in real life so you can find encouragement from brides from around the world.

  • 09of 10

    Style Me Pretty

    Want to browse through designer look-books? How about checking out over a million wedding images? From fashion and beauty to exhaustive vendor lists and tips and advice, this easy-to-navigate site has everything the newly engaged couple needs to start planning their big day.

  • 10of 10

    Green Wedding Shoes

    Green Wedding Shoes features gorgeous imagery that is sure to inspire. With helpful articles and tips, it is a pleasure to scroll through this popular blog site, even if it’s just to drool over the beautiful pictures.

First Steps to Planning a Wedding

First Steps to Planning a Wedding

A wedding will probably be the biggest and most involved party either of you have ever put together, but don’t be scared! You can start planning your wedding in 10 simple steps.

1. Enjoy Being Engaged

Kiss each other a thousand times. Jump up and down saying, “We’re engaged!” Stare at the engagement ring. Take the time to write down in detail how you got engaged. Contemplate the wonderful things ahead of you. Take pictures of yourselves with the engagement ring. Kiss each other a thousand more times. Bask in the moment and make your engagement special.

2. Tell Your Parents

You should tell your parents about your impending nuptials before anyone else. (Unless of course, you are estranged.) Both of you should be present and ideally, you will tell them in person so they’ll have a chance to see your happiness up close, look at the ring, and start talking about the wedding. Traditionally the bride’s parents know before the groom’s do, but any order is really fine. (If you’re a traditional couple, the groom may already have asked the bride’s parents for her hand in marriage.) Then share the news with a few close friends—the ones who are likely candidates for maid/matron of honor and best man, or definite attendants in some capacity.

3. Purchase a Journal and Use It

This will be a time of ten thousand moments you won’t want to forget, as well as some frustrating times that you’ll need to vent about, and not necessarily to your partner. The journal/planner you keep while planning your wedding will not only help you through this time, but it will be something you cherish for the rest of your life. If you’re internet-savvy, consider doing some journaling online or starting a wedding blog.

4. Announce Your Engagement

Tell everyone the good news! There are many ways of doing this, and no way is more proper or better than any other. Consider announcing your engagement in print publications or mailing announcements to your family and friends. Now would also be a great time to create a wedding website.

5. Set the Date

One of the most important decisions you will make as you plan your wedding is picking a wedding date. Not only will it be the first question everyone will ask you, but you’d be surprised how difficult it will be to make any progress on planning your wedding without knowing the date.

6. Set the Tone of Your Event

This is the time to decide if you’re having a formal wedding, a casual affair, or a theme wedding. It’s also the time to decide if you’re having a religious or secular ceremony. In short, you need to decide what you want your wedding to feel like. A good way to begin is to sit down with your partner and do some free writing about your ideal wedding. Look at the adjectives that each of you wrote and use those as a starting point. A newly engaged wedding planning questionnaire to help get you started.

7. Set the Budget

Start off by finding a wedding budget worksheet. Look at your finances and figure out how much you already have in savings, and how much you can save each month. Talk to each of your parents and ask them if they’d like to contribute to your wedding. Find out how much they’d like to give you, or what specific things they’d like to pay for.

Lastly, decide how much you feel comfortable going into debt. We strongly advise couples to avoid debt as much as possible. Since married couples fight about money more than anything else, why start your marriage with debt on your backs? At the same time, you may consider opening a new credit card just for the wedding that will earn you airline miles, cash back, or other incentives. It’s a good way for you to keep track of wedding expenses and can help you pay for your honeymoon. Just try to pay it off in full each month.

8. Choose Your Attendants

Your attendants do a lot more than just standing next to you on the day of the wedding. Now is the time to get them involved. While some couples opt not to have any attendants at all, especially if they’re having a casual event, most choose between 2 and 12 members of the bridal party. Look over these lists of responsibilities for bridesmaids and groomsmen before you make your final choices. If they live nearby, it’s nice to ask someone in person, but a phone call is fine for those who live far away.

9. Find Venues for Ceremony and Reception

Many venues are booked a year in advance, so the further in advance you start looking, the more likely you are to get the time, date, and cost that you’ve planned for.

10. Get Support

The successful bride and groom do not plan their wedding alone—they get help. This may be from professionals, respected publications, online app resources, or trusted friends who’ve planned their own weddings.

  • Consider hiring a wedding planner or consultant. Especially if you are a busy person, or just feel a little lost, a professional can be invaluable in putting together your ideal day and can often save you money.
  • Use online checklists. They’re free, and especially helpful if you’re planning with your mother or future spouse in another state. They’ll help you stay on top of all of your important to-dos.
  • If you’re like most couples, you’ll come home from the bookstore with a few thousand pounds of wedding magazines—why not throw in a wedding planning book as well?

Now that you’ve made these decisions, you have a solid foundation for your wedding. It’s now time for the fun stuff, like dresses, tuxes, flowers, music, favors and more. Remember to use a wedding planning checklist to stay organized and on top of it all.

How to Plan a Wedding: The Ultimate Guide

How to Plan a Wedding: The Ultimate Guide

“How to start planning a wedding?” That’s what you’ll find yourself thinking once the initial excitement of being engaged wears off. You’ll need to start making decisions with the end goal of having a wedding that reflects you as a couple. Here are the most important steps to planning a wedding that is as unique as you.

1. Set a Wedding Planning Timetable

The minute you get engaged, everyone will be asking for your wedding date. But in reality, you won’t be able to set an exact wedding date until other major decisions—like choosing (and booking) your venue—are made. So first, focus on determining a range of dates that’ll work for you. The average engagement lasts 15 months, but also think about what season you’d prefer, any major holidays or family events you’d like to avoid conflicting with, and how long you predict you’ll need to plan.

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2. Create a List of Priorities

Figuring out what you want from your day is where to start when planning a wedding. What are the most important elements to you? Maybe you want an excuse to have great food and drinks? Want to throw a huge party late into the night with great music? Maybe big shindigs just aren’t your style and you want something small and quiet?

Having your priorities straight will guide the rest of the process, making it easier to choose where you’ll compromise.

3. Find Your Wedding Vision and Pick a Venue

Before you try on a single wedding dress, book a reception band or sample a bite of wedding cake, look at the big picture and imagine the style and vibe of your ideal wedding. Is it a candlelit evening in a mansion or a barefoot ceremony on a tropical beach? While you’re picturing your perfect wedding, here are some key questions to consider: Big (everyone you know) or small (just close friends and family)? Outdoors or in? Home (one of your hometowns or your current city) or away (a destination wedding)? Modern, classic, romantic, vintage, rustic or all-out glam? Fancy, casual or somewhere in between? To help you get a better idea of what you want (and what you don’t want), take our fun Style Quiz that takes all the guesswork out of creating your dream wedding vision, then matches you with beautiful venues and other awesome pros that fit your style. Don’t forget to check out magazines, social media and real wedding photos—and don’t limit yourself to the obvious sources. Something as unlikely as a wallpaper pattern, a scene from a favorite movie, or a family heirloom can spark your creativity. Bottom line: Always keep your eyes open for inspiration.

4. Set a Wedding Budget

Sit down with your families and figure out how much everyone is contributing to your wedding. This number will affect every decision about how you plan your wedding and purchase you make, so be sure to work out your budget before you start planning with our The Knot Budget Calculator. It can be an uncomfortable conversation to have, but it’s better to get it out of the way now so that you have a realistic picture about what you can spend.

5. Organize, Organize, Organize

If you want to know how to plan a wedding, one thing rules above all else: organization. Shareable spreadsheets are your best friend here. By keeping your essential documents in the cloud, you, your partner and any family members can share access and edit things together so that everyone is on the same page. You’ll also need a plan for keeping physical receipts, brochures and other items from vendors.

A master checklist is also a good idea. Consider downloading The Knot app where you can make a list of every single thing that needs to be done before the wedding day.

6. Plan Your Wedding Guest List Tactfully

As you begin to build your guest list, you’ll need to consider several factors. If you have a particular ceremony or reception site in mind, for instance, you’re going to be limited by how many people it can accommodate (you can’t squeeze 300 people into a lighthouse). Would you rather have quality one-on-one time with each guest or throw a once-in-a-lifetime party for all your friends and family? If mom and dad won’t budge about inviting throngs of friends and family, you’ll have to hear them out—especially if they’re footing a major part of the bill. Keep in mind that including more guests in your wedding plans means higher prices, as catering costs are generally calculated on a per-head basis. So, in addition to location, your budget will have a big influence on the size of your guest list.

7. Register (Before Your Engagement Party)

Worried that you’ll look gift-grabby if you register too early? Don’t. With all the engagement parties, showers and well-wishing relatives in your future, everyone will appreciate your foresight. After all, planning a wedding definitely includes gifting. And although gifts are optional for engagement parties, some of your guests may want to give you something to commemorate the occasion, so register for at least a few items beforehand so they don’t have to ask (or guess) what you’d like.

A final note: Don’t include registry information in your engagement party invitations or in any other formal manner. Stick to using word of mouth or links on your wedding website.

8. Insure Your Engagement Ring

No matter how careful you are, the peace of mind that engagement ring insurance will give you and your fiance is worth it. There are two basic ways to do it: As an extension of your renter’s or homeownerspolicy (which would reimburse you for a set amount of cash if you lose the ring), or through a company that specializes in jewelry insurance (which might offer more coverage than a standard homeowner’s policy by replacing a lost or stolen ring).

9. Choose Your Wedding Party

Now it’s your turn to propose to your bridesmaids and groomsmen. Remember, the earlier you ask, the sooner you can enlist their help. And keep in mind that your wedding party is agreeing to spend their money and donate their time—be considerate and kind by informing everyone about all your plans (including costs for attire, bachelor and bachelorette parties and more), showing them a good time and making sure they know how much you appreciate them.

10. Consider a Wedding Planner or Coordinator

If you’re a super-busy couple, have demanding jobs or have big (read: complicated) dreams for your wedding weekend, hire a full-time wedding planner. A professional can help you know how to plan a wedding under those circumstances and to prepare your entire event, from the engagement party to the honeymoon. You can also hire a part-time consultant or coordinator to devise a wedding blueprint—including budget, schedule and lists of good vendor and site choices—before you launch solo into the preparations. Another option is a day-of wedding coordinator, who will make sure everything goes smoothly on your wedding day. (Find a consultant in your area with our local wedding vendor search.)

11. Book a Wedding Venue (and Set Your Date)

Your reception venue will become the backdrop for virtually all your wedding photos. It can influence everything from heavy hitters like your budget and guest list to smaller details like your menu (if you choose a venue with in-house catering). Ensure that you plan to get the look, price and extras you want by scouring local listings, shopping around, scheduling visits and booking early. Bonus: By signing your venue contract, you will officially have your wedding date (congrats!).

12. Hire Priority Wedding Vendors

If you just can’t imagine getting married without a certain local band playing at the reception or a photographer whose work you love, act fast. Many top wedding photographers and other in-demand wedding vendors are hired more than a year in advance, and once they’re booked, they’re gone. Translation: Figure out what your highest wedding priorities are, whether it’s world-class catering or exquisite flowers, and snap up the vendors whose work you love.

13. Shop Wedding Dresses

One of the most fun outcomes of successfully learning how to plan a wedding is dress shopping. Begin your search by browsing wedding dress photos online (and saving your favorites—you’ll want to take them with you to your appointments). Then, learn the lingo before setting foot in a dress salon. Read up on silhouettes, necklines, trains and hues that might flatter you. The season will also affect your choice. Getting married in the sweltering summer? Go with lightweight fabrics such as chiffon, linen or organza. Having a winter wedding? Brocade, faux fur and velvet will keep you warm. Satin, shantung, silk and tulle are perfect year-round.

A final tip for dress shopping: start as early as you can. Ordering and tailoring can take months. Plus, you’ll need additional time for final touch ups..

If you’re looking for a suit, start shopping as early as possible. A well-tailored suit takes time to find and customize to your frame. Explore local boutiques, department stores and even online startups – there’s a surprisingly wide variety of options available for suits these days. Just be sure to chat with your partner about their wedding day fashion plans. You’ll want to make sure your outfits complement each other. Also, consider the post wedding wearability of any suit you’re thinking of purchasing. From job interviews to important meetings, you can get a lot of wear out of a classic custom-tailored suit.

14. Take Time to NOT Plan

Planning a wedding is a big undertaking; it may as well be the first big test of your marriage. It’s a long (but rewarding) gauntlet of compromise, sacrifice and stress management. Before your wedding, take some time just the two of you to do anything but wedding planning. It will help you remember why you’re doing all of this in the first place.

15. Share Your Proposal Story

Once your wedding planning is underway, use HowTheyAsked.com to share your once-in-a-lifetime proposal story with all your friends and family. Start your story submission here.

The 25-Step Wedding Planning Guide

The 25-Step Wedding Planning Guide

You’ve decided to marry each other. Congratulations! Now you may be wondering how to plan a wedding. Well, we’re here to help!

Follow our step-by-step wedding planning guide to put together a stunning wedding — and enjoy the process every step of the way. You can even use our ultimate wedding planning timeline to make sure every task goes on the calendar with time to spare.

This wedding planning guide helps keep you organized and on track whether you’re planning a wedding abroad or in your backyard, next year or the next six months, for 50 guests or 500. Let’s get started.

Explore our 25-step wedding planning guide to get ready for your big day:

1. Make dates to daydream about your day together

Probably you’ve already discussed the kind of weddings you like with your fiance. You attended a friend’s formal wedding together and agreed it’s not your style. Or you both admired a good friend’s lakeside wedding followed by a laid-back reception in a tent.

But what do you want your unique wedding day to look like, exactly? Do you want a large wedding or a small wedding? Perhaps you want to incorporate vintage elements into your attire and the wedding decor. Maybe you want a traditional wedding with a classic design. Or an alternative wedding with steampunk-inspired favors and centerpieces.

Is there a specific wedding venue you have in mind, or a unique setting you’d love? Close to home or at a far-flung destination? Now is the time to explore your options and let your imaginations run wild over a lunch date or hanging on the couch.

2. Come back down to earth and set your wedding budget

This is where you need to get realistic and take a close look at the funding for your wedding. Budgeting can be stressful for some, but try to look at it as an exercise in making wise financial decisions as a team. Here’s what to do:

  • Look at your savings. How much money do you each have in savings? What percentage of your savings are you willing to put towards the wedding? Don’t drain these accounts — economists say you should maintain an emergency fund that covers a minimum of three to six months’ spending.

  • Start saving now. How much you can set aside will vary depending on the date of your wedding. But you should be able to reduce your monthly spending (fewer lunches out, canceling the streaming services you barely use, etc.) and put those savings in your wedding account. Add those monthly deposits up over the wedding planning timeline to get a precise figure.

  • Get clear on contributions from others. Are your parents helping with the wedding? A favorite aunt? Has a generous friend offered to pay for your wedding photographer as their wedding gift? Get clear on how much everyone plans to contribute so you can factor that into your overall budget. We know this might not be the easiest topic to bring up. So, here are a few tips to help you discuss your wedding budget with your parents.

  • Add it all up. Put those numbers together and you have a near estimate of your wedding budget.

A few caveats: You don’t HAVE to spend that final figure. You can opt for a lower cost wedding, and put that money towards your honeymoon or a nest egg for married life. Also, don’t fret if your budget is tight. There are plenty of creative and affordable ways to design a beautiful low-cost wedding—and you’ll be glad you didn’t break the bank.

3. Bring in the backup

People planning weddings need all the help they can get. Enlist support when and where you need it, and stay within your budget. Here are common ways couples get help for the wedding planning process:

  • Hire a wedding planner. A wedding planner will manage many of the tasks on your wedding checklist, and help you come up with decor, venue, wedding music, and dress ideas that match your style.

  • Ask for help from family and friends. If you don’t have the budget for a planner, ask for help from your wedding party and family and friends. Often they’ll be glad to help, but don’t lean on a single person too heavily. Remember, they also have work and their day-to-day lives to manage.

  • Download wedding planning apps. There are many excellent free wedding planning apps to help you stay organized and relaxed throughout the process.

4. Choose a wedding date

Select your wedding date as soon as you can. There may be some back and forth as you reach out to must-attend family and friends to hash out dates that work for everyone. But weekends for popular venues fill up fast, so decide as early as possible. If you’re planning a weekday wedding (a good option when your budget is tight), you’ll have more wiggle room.

5. Pick your wedding party

Maid of honor. Best man. Groomsmen and women. Bridesmaids and bridesmen. Decide who among your close friends and family you want closest throughout your wedding. Choose wisely because they’ll be the folks on hand from the rehearsal dinner until you drive off ‘Just Married.’

Happy couple who planned their wedding

6. Start building your guest list

Commit to keeping this process as stress-free as possible. Pick a relaxed time on a weekend when you don’t have other demands on your attention and sit with your fiance. Keep your approximate wedding size in mind — building a guest list for a small wedding is going to be different than choosing who to invite to a large wedding. Here are some tips to keep the process smooth:

  • Track your guest names list in a wedding planning app or a spreadsheet.

  • Put down all of the names of people you’d like to attend—even if they live across the world or your fiance doesn’t know them that well.

  • Manage guest requests from family. It’s okay to invite a few people your parents would love to share your wedding day with, but keep the number to a minimum.

  • Create two categories (A & B) for your guest list. A is for the names of family and friends who you absolutely want to have at your wedding. B is for the extended family and friends, and work colleagues you’d like to share your day with, but it wouldn’t devastate you if they couldn’t attend.

  • Take a break and come back to list B. Pair it down together until the list fits wedding size.

7. Choose your wedding ceremony location

Where are you going to hold the wedding ceremony? Which wedding venue style do you prefer? Common choices include:

  • A house of worship (e.g., synagogue, mosque, church, or temple)

  • A family member’s backyard

  • On the beach, in the woods, or at another outdoor wedding site

  • A classic wedding venue (e.g., hotel, catering hall, country club)

This decision will impact your reception venue choice. Some places of worship include reception space. If you’re booking a venue, it will have to be within easy driving distance of the ceremony location.

8. Choose your wedding venue

Settling on your theme, the size of your wedding, and the location will help you narrow your search. The Wedding Spot lets you explore venues by location, wedding style, budget, number of guests, and services offered by the site. Popular options include:

  • Barn, farm, or ranch weddings

  • Beachside venues

  • Country inns

  • Landmark buildings

  • Urban lofts

  • Historic mansions

  • Vineyards

Once you’ve settled on your top three or four venues, it’s time to find out if they are available on your wedding date. If they are, the next step is an in-person site visit, either with your wedding planner or with your fiance.

9. Decide on the wedding’s theme, decor, and details

If you are having a justice of the peace wedding, followed by a dinner for 30 of your closest family and friends, you don’t necessarily need a theme — it’s already baked in. This is a celebration, and you simply need good food, drink, and loved-ones on hand.

But many couples like to dream up a theme that adds to the magic and fun for you and your guests. Here are a variety of themes, with decor and color ideas to match:

  • Romantic – Oversized floral arrangements, satin ribbons, soft lighting, pink, white, and pastel hues.

  • Formal – Think black tie and traditional wedding gown. Formal weddings usually include the full nine-yards: Paper invites, multi-course sit-down feast, string quartet, sumptuous setting.

  • Winter holiday – A winter wedding with indoor pines, fairy lights, and red ribbons adds a sprinkle of seasonal magic to an already special day.

  • Rustic – Add country-chic elements to your wedding for a traditional wedding style with a laid-back vibe.

  • Nature-inspired – This overlaps with rustic, but goes further with the botanical elements. Many couples with a nature-inspired theme also make sure every aspect of their wedding is eco-friendly.

Truly, there are an endless variety of themes. A library theme held in a historic library. A pets-welcome outdoor wedding. A fall pumpkin patch wedding. A seaside or tropics-inspired wedding. Choose one that puts a smile on both of your faces, and you won’t go wrong.

10. Create a wedding website and social media hashtags

Like everything else, weddings have gone digital. Online options and social media are great ways to keep guests up to date on the wedding schedule. They also help out-of-town guests stay oriented and connected to the big day.

Today, there are scores of easy-to-build wedding website templates you can use to build your own. The wedding website builder With Joy lets you track guest RSVPs, share pictures of the wedding (before, during, and after), and offer transportation and hotel information for guests.

Create a wedding hashtag for social media shares too! Often it’s a combination of your names, the year, and perhaps the location — if it’s a destination. A wedding hashtag generator makes it easy, but watch out for the creation of inappropriate words when you put your names together.

Wedding balloons

11. Choose and order your wedding invitations

It’s traditional to send out cardstock invites, and it’s lovely to have a hardcopy invite to frame after the wedding. Visit a stationery store, or browse invite websites online. Select invites that reflect your wedding style, whether it’s sophisticated, rustic, or contemporary. The words you select will also set the tone for your wedding. Use traditional language for a classic wedding; opt for laid-back wording for casual, rustic or beach weddings.

Today, there are many lovely digital options for invites as well, including Paperless Post, Greenvelope, and evite. These are perfectly acceptable, and (double-bonus!) they are eco-friendly and more affordable. You can even give invitees a link to your wedding website and have them RSVP there.

12. Send out your ‘save the date’ messages

If you ordered paper wedding invitations, they probably included ‘Save the Date’ cards. If you haven’t decided on your invites yet, you can choose any style card—it doesn’t need to match. Digital wedding invites also offer a ‘Save the Date’ option.

However you choose to send them, get them out early. Four to six months out is a good rule of thumb. If you’re having a destination wedding, tag on three months so people can make arrangements early.

13. Research your vendors — and book your favorites

How many vendors you need to hire for your wedding will depend on its style and location. All-inclusive wedding venues will manage most of the vendors, if you want them to—but you’ll have to meet to discuss style and specific choices. If you have a wedding planner, they’ll also do most of the research based on your preferred style and present options.

If you’re planning the wedding yourself, vendors you’ll likely consider include:

  • Wedding bands

  • Musicians for the ceremony (String quartet, piano, guitar, bagpipes)

  • DJs

  • Photographer

  • Videographer

  • Catering services

  • Florists

  • Table and chair rentals

  • Food trucks

  • Bakeries

14. Choose what you’re going to wear

Say ‘yes’ to the dress. Choose a tux. Skip the wedding dress and build a look that perfectly matches your style. A cherry red dress? A sophisticated cocktail dress? It’s your wedding, so the right ensemble is the one you feel gorgeous wearing. Perhaps you’ll wear jeans and a casual jacket. You might go with a bow-tie. Maybe you’re going to honor your cultural heritage with a traditional look—colorfully patterned clothes, a saukele, a kilt, a kimono. Just make your selection early, so you have time to get your dress altered if you need to.

The stress-free search for your stress-free wedding venue!

Search Venues

15. Choose the food and beverage for your wedding reception

Whether you’re going with a caterer and wedding cake designer, or an inclusive venue that provides these services, you’ll have plenty of decisions to make around food and drink. Request a tasting where you can try the appetizers and main courses. Ask for a small sample cake from the bakery.

Pick a wide variety of food and drink so every guest has options they’ll enjoy. Include vegan and vegetarian choices, and ask guests to share their dietary restrictions on the RSVP. Consider asking the venue to create a special cocktail for your day. It’s also a good idea to include non-alcoholic cocktails on the bar menu.

16. Start your registry — and give some thought to what you really want and need

Don’t just start adding toasters, flatware sets, and crystal vases on your wedding registry. Look around every room in your home and take an inventory of what you have—and what you want. If neither of you enjoys baking, do you need an electric mixer? Probably not. What about fine china? It can feel like you have to register for china, but not every couple truly wants a set for their home.

Finally, consider registering for experiences rather than ‘stuff’ by signing up for Honeyfunds, a registry that lets people give couples money for their honeymoon.

Registries make some couples uncomfortable, but guests actually appreciate them. People want to give you gifts for the start of your new life together and, with a registry, they don’t have to overthink it. Help them out.

17. Enjoy some non-wedding related activities

It’s easy to slip into non-stop wedding planning mode. Put regular check-ins with your fiance on your checklist. Are you enjoying the wedding planning process? Are distracted by wedding ‘stuff’ during dates, or when spending time with friends.

Renew your commitment to enjoying the process and keeping things in perspective. The most important thing is your relationship and your life together today and in the future—not whether you decide on a donut wall or a cupcake tower.

Spend a weekend doing zero wedding-related activities. Of course, you’ll probably talk about it (because that’s fun!), but don’t make phone calls or tick boxes off your to-do list. Go for a hike or to a museum or a live music event or dinner out — the stuff you two enjoy together. It’s a good breather, and a reminder of what matters.

Today, many people take advantage of couples therapy before marriage. If you’re finding the stress of planning is causing a strain, make an appointment with a therapist. It’s not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of strength, honesty, and vulnerability.

18. Send out your invitations

Invitations typically go out two months ahead of the wedding. This is an exciting moment in the planning process. Once those invites are in the mail, or you pressed ‘send’ on your digital invites—the big day starts to feel more real.

19. Get your marriage license

You need a marriage license before you can get married officially. Usually, you’ll get the license from the city or county clerk, depending on where you live. At the wedding ceremony, your officiant (the person who conducts the ceremony) will sign the license and return it to the city or county clerk. And then send you a marriage certificate, which proves you are legally married.

Call your municipal or county clerk to find out the license requirements because they vary by state or local government. Things you and your fiance may need to provide include:

  • Identification (driver’s licenses or passports)

  • Birth certificates

  • Birth names, birth dates, and the birthplaces of your parents

  • Certificate of divorce or death if you were married before

  • Money for the license fee

Some locations also require a witness on hand when you get the license. They will then sign the license along with the officiant after the ceremony.

20. Help out-of-town guests with accommodations

For weddings where many guests are traveling from out of town, it’s traditional to help them find places to stay. Here are some tips to make it easier:

  1. Talk to local family and friends about their ability and interest in hosting guests they know. Only suggest this option to people who love having (or being) houseguests.

  2. Book a block of hotel rooms near the venue. Though you are reserving the room block, remember it is not your responsibility to pay.

  3. Book rooms at multiple hotels if you are having a large wedding, or options are limited in the area.

  4. Book rooms early, especially if your wedding is on-season in a popular vacation area.

21. Choose your wedding bands

It’s possible you picked your wedding bands just after you were engaged. If you didn’t—it’s time to choose them together.

Select matching bands, or two distinct styles—they don’t have to be made with the same precious metal. Choose the one each of you prefers. The rings can be simple bands with a polished, hammered, or matte finish. Or, you may choose ornate bands with faceted gems and a combination of precious metals.

Get started on your wedding band search early if you are having them designed and handcrafted, for a one-of-a-kind pair. An early start is also essential if you want them engraved with meaningful words or phrases.

22. Plan the before and after events

There’s often much more to a wedding than the big day itself. You won’t necessarily do them all. As usual, the particulars depend on the size of your wedding, the logistics, and the complexity of the ceremony. These are the events you may prepare or need time for beyond the wedding:

  • Bachelor and bachelorette parties. This isn’t your responsibility, but if your wedding party is throwing bachelor or bachelorette outings, you’ll have to fit them into your schedule. Maybe you’ll enjoy a day at the spa or a night out dancing.

  • The rehearsal dinner. This usually takes place the night before the wedding and involves you, the wedding party, family, and friends from out of town. Reserve the event room at your favorite restaurant or an outstanding restaurant near the venue.

  • The honeymoon. If you are having your honeymoon right after the wedding, you’ll need to fit more planning into your schedule. Add honeymoon decisions and activities to your wedding planning checklist. A week before the wedding, invite friends over for a packing party so you have your suitcase and travel necessities ready to go. Some couples decide to put off planning the honeymoon or take an easy weekend trip until they’ve had time to relax.

  • Wedding after-party. You may want to continue the celebration after the formal reception is over. Choose an after-hours bar or club and call ahead with the likely headcount. If you are too tired, research and suggest places the revelers can go in the area.

  • Next morning brunch. This puts a relaxed finishing touch on the celebration, and is especially appreciated by out of town guests. If your wedding was in a hotel venue, they can often provide a set brunch. Otherwise, book a local restaurant.

23. Take a break and manage last-minute issues

The hiatus before the hoopla. The breather before the big day. The calm before the joyful celebration. The peace before the ceremony. However you want to think about it, this is the sweet spot between all the planning and the wedding. There will be things to manage and decisions to be made. But mostly, this is a time of anticipation and excitement. Enjoy it.

24. Touch base with the wedding team

Check in with all of the key people in your wedding. Talk to the wedding planner to see if there are any final details they need from you. Reach out to the venue and vendor teams so you know they are all set. Give a call to family members and the wedding party to make sure everyone feels comfortable with the itinerary.

Finally, prioritize a few relaxed evenings with each other before the wedding.

25. Start the festivities and enjoy!

You know what to do from here. Congratulations!

Wedding Planning Checklist: How To Plan Your Big Day

Wedding Planning Checklist: How To Plan Your Big Day

First off congratulations! Getting married is one of the most exciting and important times in your life. On the other hand planning a wedding can be one of the most stressful things you will ever do.

Our guide and checklist aims to make it a little less stressful and a bit more manageable, we look at the key stages you need to go through and how to plan a wedding step by step, what’s important and things you should consider.

WEDDING PLANNING CHECKLIST

Tools such as Pinterest are great for getting ideas and inspiration but a folder or binder is still a necessity to house all your wedding related documents, from contracts to ideas and questions.

You can download our full Wedding Planning Checklist Here, print it off and easily install it into a binder, designed with a simple checklist covering all the different areas of planning your special day.

KEY PLANNING STEPS:

  1. Set your Budget
  2. Decide what’s important to you
  3. Ideas, styles and themes
  4. Find a venue
  5. Send out your invites
  6. Hiring a Photographer and other suppliers
  7. Finalise

One of your very first steps should be to enjoy being engaged! This is one of the most exciting times in your life, and its not going to last long, so enjoy it! Time slips away when we are to busy planning or looking ahead so try to stay present in the moment as it is happening. Have fun showing your ring off to everyone and revel in the brand new ‘just engaged’ mementos.

Everyone is going to want to know all the little details from the proposal to your grand wedding plans so be prepared to have a few answers on hand. You don’t have to go into detail and most people are just curious and excited for you, so don’t get frustrated with this part. Be happy!

1. SET YOUR BUDGET

Wedding finances needs to be one the first decisions you make, this is absolutely vital, weddings can cost as little or as much as you want and it is easy for costs to quickly spiral out of control. Not addressing budget early on certainly aids wedding planning pitfalls and many mistakes can be avoided with more understanding and communication when it comes to costs.

Sit down and review your finances and decide how much you wish to spend together, weddings are important moments, a special day, and a lifetime of memories, however it is one special day and you don’t want to have large debts looming over you as you commence married life. Look at what you can spend, how much you can both truly afford and how much you could potentially save on the build up to your big day.

Weddings can cost anywhere from £5,000 to £100,000+, there really is no limit, however this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set one. Once you have decided what you can afford, you can then split the budget up into different categories;

  • Venue
  • Food and drink
  • Photographer
  • Flowers
  • Dress
  • Gifts
  • Honeymoon

There is no wrong answer when it comes to budgeting a wedding, generally it’s not one of the most enjoyable parts even if you are an accountant but it does have to be done. Complete this early on so you don’t have extra worries further down the road and then you can focus on the fun parts.

2. DECIDE WHAT’S IMPORTANT TO YOU

Now the real excitement can begin, its time to dream and envisage what sort of day it is that you really want for your wedding. You can begin to consider everything from the style and theme, type of venue, ideal location, small or large, intimate or epic, this country or abroad.

Wedding Planning Checklist

Decipher what elements of your wedding day have the most importance to you, this could be anything from wanting an outside wedding under the stars, an intimate retreat for your closest family, a festival style party with gourmet food vans or simply wanting to wear the Vera Wang wedding dress you have dreamt of since you were a child.

There’s no reason why you can’t splurge on certain areas which mean a lot to you and cut back on areas which don’t, once you realise what your heart desires you can re-look at where you allocate your wedding budget.

Now is also the time to start deciding who it is that you want to invite to your wedding, having an idea of guest numbers will begin to shape your wedding planning journey, from your venue search to catering options and everything in between.

3. IDEAS, STYLES AND THEMES

Here is where a binder comes in handy because you can really keep track of all your Wedmin and store collections of images, colour swatches and any exciting inspo to build up your desired type and style of wedding.

Bridal magazines or on-line platforms like Pinterest are great to find ideas, you can quickly find beautiful images for everything from bridal flowers, wedding cakes and table decorations. Keep your creative inspiration as organised as possible by categorising and then filtering until you distinguish the exact style that appeals to you.

COLOUR SCHEMES

When you begin to picture your wedding style, whether it be a country barn, a beachside ceremony or a fun-filled festival you can then consider hues and colours. Decor, flowers, bridesmaid dresses, groomsmen ties, stationery design, they all need a colour palette for your big day.

Pinterest is great for finding colour ideas, if you simply type in a colour followed by the word wedding all kinds of ideas will pop up from there. So make sure you have a few hours because trust me you will get lost in the Pinterest world!

Here’s some popular, timeless wedding colours;

Aquamarine / Pale Blue- Every bride knows of the rich, romantic aquamarine colour of the Tiffany box which is probably why this colour has been a popular choice throughout recent years.

Aquamarine is perfect for a Spring or Summer wedding, or indeed one that is being held abroad in a hot climate. It is an extremely versatile colour and can take on an elegant theme when mixed with ivory and grey tones.

For something more romantic, aquamarine can look divine when combined with pastel shades such as pink or peach to add that subtle contrast.

Pastel pink – For a truly romantic colour scheme you can’t get any more feminine than pastel pink. This colour scheme is elegant and beautiful. Think pink macaroons! Using various hues of pink with ivory throughout your bridesmaid dresses, bouquets and accessories keeps things simple, yet elegant.

If you want to add a splash of contrasting colour, blue or green makes an impact when combined with pink.

Lavender / Purple – Purple is always a popular choice for wedding colour schemes, whether it be the deep Cadbury’s purple or a more muted tone. This year, a paler, more subdued lavender is set to make quite an appearance.

Lavender is a beautiful colour choice for rustic style weddings. It looks fantastic combined with the colours of nature: green, cream and earthy browns.

This beautiful tone can also be combined with brighter shades of purple or pink for a rich, deeper colour scheme.

Silver and grey are colours that are usually associated with winter weddings but are fast becoming a popular choice across all seasons. Using different shades of grey across your wedding can look very sophisticated when combined with cream or ivory.

For a pop of colour in a grey or silver themed wedding, choose one other colour such as red or midnight blue. If the idea of a grey coloured wedding doesn’t appeal, add it as an accent colour throughout accessories such as sparkly heels or table centrepieces.

4. FIND YOUR PERFECT WEDDING VENUE

Your choice of wedding venue is one of the most important wedding decisions, shortly after the one you’re marrying of course! But, seriously the place you say ‘I Do’ shapes your entire wedding, if you get this right your big day is set to be one of the most momentous ones in your life.

It all starts with the type of ceremony you want; religious, a civil ceremony or a blessing. You can then consider important options such as location, guest numbers and finer details such as onsite accomodation, pet friendly and catering options.

Our designer Wedding Venue Finder allows you to easily search through desirable styles whilst selecting specific requirements and adding a location. You can even add your postcode and refine the proximity radius as you wish. Plus our portfolio contains the most inspiring, diverse collection of wedding spaces from around the world!

Viewing potential wedding venues is highly recommended, shortlist a handful of your favourites and book a time to have a good look around. There’s so much more you can get out of a visit compared to photographs and many a bride has told us ‘as soon as you walk in your venue, you just know it’s the one!’

To easily compare venues and remember key questions to ask when viewing, use our wedding venue checklist guide. Once you have found your wedding venue, set your date, get it booked and begin the count down!

5. SEND OUT YOUR SAVE THE DATES & INVITES

With your venue booked and date set, you can now send out those invites! There are lots of stunning invite templates you can download, print and use, and there are also some fabulous wedding stationary designers, who can work their art on your invites, save the dates, table names and other wedding day stationery you require.

Wedding Planning Invites

Invites should include an RSVP date, many request email responses however a more modern approach is to set up your own wedding website where guests can also find out more about your day as well as letting you know of their attendance.

Its worth having additional invites ready just incase you want to invite others if some guests need to decline. Once you have your set numbers you can then begin your table plan, good luck with this one- its never an easy task!

6. HIRING A PHOTOGRAPHER AND OTHER SUPPLIERS

With the venue booked you can then look at other details needed for your special day, and top of your list should be a professional photographer/ videographer.

PHOTOGRAPHER

Wedding photographers and videographers can be booked up to 2 years in advance, if you want a sought-after professional your priority needs to be guaranteeing your date. There’s a wide breadth of wedding photographer styles and it’s worth viewing many portfolios before deciding which suits you best. Your Perfect Wedding Photographer is a great place to start your search with plenty of inspiration to source the right choice for you.

FLOWERS

Bridal bouquets, floral crowns, ceremony florals, arches and table centrepieces, flowers are an essential wedding day requirement. From natural foliage to exotic wonders and romantic roses there’s a whole world to discover when it comes to wedding flowers.

Collating images of floral displays in your wedding planner is great but ensure you get guidance from a florist early on to avoid disappointment incase you get your heart set on a flower impossible to get hold of out of season.

We are seeing more and more epic floral arches, from classy minimalistic designs to indulgent rustic country styles, they add incredible focal points to ceremonies both inside and outdoors.

Read more | A Guide to Choosing your Wedding Flowers

TRANSPORT

When a bride makes her entrance, she wants it to be memorable and to arrive in style. Brides are given a number of different options to choose from when making their choice for wedding transportation. From hiring classic cars to more inventive ways, let’s look at a few wedding transportation alternatives.

wedding car transportation

Classic Cars – Hiring classic cars is still the choice for most traditional brides. Many makes and models of classic car can be hired such as Bentley, Rolls Royce and Jaguar. These classic cars are kept in pristine condition and will also come with your very own chauffeur. Classic cars look fantastic in wedding photography and add a bit of luxury to your arrival.

These ideas are just a few alternatives that are available for your wedding transport. If you want something a bit different, you can hire other vehicles, such as a sports car, VW Beetle or campervan, or for the ultimate entrance, why not hire a helicopter and arrive at your wedding like a celebrity?

Vintage / London Buses – Hiring a bus might seem a little unusual but this method of transport is growing in popularity. Vintage themed weddings are enhanced even more with the addition of a vintage bus, however red London buses are also iconic. Hiring a bus is very useful if you need to transport guests between your ceremony and reception venues – and is certainly an unusual arrival for a bride!

Horse and Carriage – If you are looking for a magical arrival to your wedding, why not hire a horse and carriage? Beautiful well-tempered horses can pull a number of different styled carriages, including a covered version for when it’s raining. A horse and carriage will come with a driver who will help the bridal party in and out of the carriage and drive them to the wedding ceremony. This style of transportation is suited to weddings that take place in castles, adding to that princess effect.

7. THE FINAL CHECKS

Now onto the last leg of your journey. The finalising! You have already planned and purchased everything. You know your entire colour scheme and how you want every decoration arranged.

Everything is lined up, so now you just need to finalise. Make sure you call all of your venues and caterers, double check the numbers and make sure everything is set and ready to go.

Most of all take a day or two to plan for you. Plan your special day the way you want. Collate small items you may need that day like safety pins and bobby pins and create as many lists as you need on the run up to your big day.

Top of your list for the wedding morning brides- food! Keep an emergency snack box handy, we get told so many times amongst all the excitement, things to remember, moments to take in, people to greet, hair & makeup, first looks that food seems to be on the bottom of the priority list. You’ll need some energy to walk down the aisle to meet the man of your dreams!

How to Plan a Wedding Step by Step

How to Plan a Wedding Step by Step

Your wedding will likely be the biggest party you’ll ever throw—and figuring out how to plan a wedding can feel pretty daunting at first (and particularly so if you’re planning a wedding amid the COVID pandemic). But whether you want a small, simple wedding or a big, lavish affair, the steps remain the same: Set a budget (a critical first step!), find inspiration, start your guest list… well, we break it all down one step at a time below. We recommend focusing on one task at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed by the wedding planning process. And if you’re in a time crunch, go ahead and delegate some of these responsibilities to family members and friends—they’ll likely be glad to help you as you navigate this process.

What are the steps to planning a wedding?

When it comes to how to plan a wedding, it’s a good idea to follow a checklist—and tackle the listed steps in order. There’s a method to the madness here, and sticking to a wedding-planning checklist will ensure a smooth and relatively stress-free process. For example, there’s a reason why you should set a date and book your venue before choosing your attire—to make sure your look is comfortable for your event’s setting and season. And that’s just one example of why following the steps to planning a wedding is so important; you’ll find many more in the list below.

If you’re someone who finds a wedding checklist a bit overwhelming, here’s a list of the basic steps you’ll need to complete to ensure your big day is a success. Of course, there are more tasks you may want to tackle, but we’re just talking the must-dos here. Ready to go into planning mode? Here’s how to plan a wedding step by step.

1. Set a Wedding Budget

It’s critical that setting your budget be the first step in planning your wedding. It might not be the most fun part of the process, but it’s a task that really needs to be completed first because it sets the rest of your wedding planning process into motion. The last thing you want is to fall in love with a venue, vendor, dress, etc. and realize it’s completely out of range. So sit down with your parents or other potential contributors to come up with a total budget, and then divide it up by vendor or service accordingly.

2. Download a Wedding-Planning App

You’ll be able to accomplish more if you’re able to plan your wedding while on the go, rather than just sitting in front of your computer. By downloading the WeddingWire app, you can access planning tools, browse and contact wedding, check out inspo, and tackle many of the tasks listed below right from your mobile device.

3. Get Inspired

One of the most fun parts of planning a wedding step by step is gathering inspiration. Think about how you want your wedding to look and feel. Are you going for a super-classic and formal vibe? Or perhaps a wedding style that’s more relaxed and rustic? The choice is yours, but it’s a good idea to start perusing Pinterest, Instagram, and the latest wedding trends to start considering wedding colors, décor ideas, and more. We recommend starting this process early on, but kicking it into high gear once you’ve selected your venue and set a date.

4. Start Your Guest List

While you don’t have to have a final guest list until a bit later, when thinking about how to plan a wedding step by step, coming up with an estimated guest count early on is important. There’s a big difference between a 50-person wedding and a 300-person wedding, particularly when it comes to your venue options. So before you start browsing wedding venues, get an idea of how many guests you’ll host.

5. Pick Your Wedding Party

How that you’ve got your guest list, it’s time to choose the people who will stand beside you on your big day—your wedding party. So go ahead and select your bridesmaids, groomsmen, groomsladies or bridesmen (or anyone else you want in your bridal party) and ask them to take on this important role. Check out our favorite bridesmaid proposal ideas to get started.

 

learn how to plan a wedding like this couple who is holding hands on their wedding day dressed in traditional garments
L&L YOUR WEDDING PLANNER TULUM

 

6. Narrow Down the Dates

You won’t officially “set a date” until you book your venue. But, we recommend choosing a few potential wedding dates before you start looking at venues. First, think about the season in which you’d like to wed—and if a Saturday night wedding is a must (convenient, but potentially more expensive and competitive) or if you’re open to a wedding on a different (perhaps less in-demand) day. Then, take a look at the calendar, taking into account work schedules, holidays, family conflicts, etc., and narrow things down to a few choice dates. Having some potential wedding dates in mind will be very helpful during the venue selection process.

7. Choose a Venue

Now that you have a budget, an estimated guest count, and a few potential wedding dates in mind, you have all the information you need to book a wedding venue—one of the most important parts of our how to plan a wedding guide. Read online reviews of wedding venues near you, visit a in person, and work with your partner to find your dream wedding location. Once you’ve thoroughly read your ceremony and reception venue’s contract and signed on the dotted line, you’ve officially set a date for your wedding—and the real fun begins!

Note: Some couples hire a wedding planner before choosing a venue, others wait until afterwards—it all depends on the type of assistance you need.

8. Start Your Wedding Registry

Pretty much immediately after you announce your engagement, your loved ones will ask: “Where are you registered?” When thinking about how to plan your wedding step by step, it’s a good idea to create your wedding registry relatively early on in the process. Your family members and friends may want to purchase engagement gifts—you can always make changes and additions to your registry later on. Use our wedding registry checklist to get started.

9. Create a Wedding Website (and Wedding Hashtag!)

Setting up a wedding website is the easiest way to do keep your guests in the loop, and one of the most important steps to planning a wedding. Make sure to include all of the important information about your big day on your website—date, location, travel information, room block details, and more. Now’s also the time to create your wedding hashtag to use on social media leading up to your wedding day.

 

these two brides learned how to plan a wedding so they're having a scenic first look photo together
STORY & GOLD WEDDINGS

 

10. Book Vendors

The average couple hires 13 vendors to help create their dream wedding day. That may seem like a lot, but it’s important to hire the right people to ensure that your big day runs smoothly. We recommend following this vendor booking timeline to figure out when to book each pro, from your wedding photographer or videographer to your florist and DJ to your officiant, and reading online reviews to help choose the best of the best.

11. Finalize Your Guest List

If you haven’t already, it’s time to create your final wedding guest list. Remember that if your parents are contributing financially to your big day, they’ll get a say in who’s invited. Be sure to keep your venue’s capacity in mind as well, and don’t invite more people than the space can handle. Even though you’ll likely receive regrets from some guests, you don’t want to risk it.

12. Send Save-the-Dates

It’s time for your guests to mark their calendars! Save-the-dates should be sent as far in advance as possible to ensure that your loved ones can plan accordingly.

13. Purchase Your Wedding Dress and Other Attire

Give yourself plenty of time to find the perfect outfit for your wedding day. Particularly when it comes to wedding dresses, it can take months from the time you purchase your attire until it’s properly tailored and ready to go, so don’t wait until the last minute.

14. Figure Out Rehearsal Dinner Details

The rehearsal dinner, which usually takes place the night before the wedding, requires some planning as well. Traditionally, the groom’s family plans the rehearsal dinner, but it’s important to figure out who’s planning (and paying) for this event well in advance—and make sure a venue is booked and details are hammered out in a timely fashion, about six months before the big day.

 

the whole family can learn how to plan a wedding, like this family portrait taken on the wedding day
SHERYL BALE PHOTOGRAPHY

 

15. Plan the Honeymoon

You may be thinking a lot about how to plan your wedding step by step, but don’t forget about the honeymoon! If you’re planning on jetting off on your honeymoon shortly after your wedding, it’s time to choose a location, book your travel and accommodations, and start planning an itinerary.

16. Attend Those Pre-Wedding Events

Engagement parties, the bridal shower (or a co-ed wedding shower), the bachelor and bachelor party, and more—your schedule will likely be jam-packed with pre-wedding events. While the soon-to-be married couple usually has little role in planning these celebrations, you’ll need to clear your calendar to attend as guest of honor.

17. Send Wedding Invitations

Wedding invitations are usually sent six to eight weeks before the big day—and the RSVP deadline is typically about two or three weeks in advance. Sending your invites on time is one of the most essential steps to planning a wedding.

18. Buy Wedding Bands

An important symbol of marriage, be sure to browse and purchase your wedding rings a few months before your nuptials. Pick a wedding band that matches your engagement ring, is comfortable (you’ll be wearing it pretty much all the time!) and suits your personal style.

 

cheers to learning how to plan a wedding like this bride and groom who are toasting at their wedding reception
LAURA MEMORY PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEOGRAPHY

 

19. Create a Wedding Reception Seating Chart

Work with your venue and planner to determine how many tables your wedding reception venue can accommodate. Then, use an online tool to figure out who sits where—keeping relationships and family dynamics in mind. Once you’ve finalized your seating chart (usually a week or so before your wedding), be sure to send to your caterer, venue, and stationer so that escort cards can be created.

20. Get a Marriage License

If you’re thinking about how to plan a wedding step by step, remember one of the most important tasks—obtaining a marriage license so that you and your partner can actually get legally married! Every state has different marriage license laws, so be sure to study up beforehand. Make sure that you get your marriage license at the right time—in advance if there’s a waiting period in your state, but not too far in advance if the license expires after a certain amount of time. If you’re interested in changing your name after the wedding, that marriage license will be a critical step in the process.

21. Confirm Wedding Details with Vendors

In all likelihood, you’ve been in close contact with all of your wedding vendors in the days and weeks leading up to your big day. Make sure that you’ve tied up any loose ends and all of your vendors have all the information they need (and have been properly paid!). Wedding planners are super-helpful in this regard, and will assist you in making sure your vendors know where and when to be present for your wedding ceremony and reception.

22. Get Married!

The big day is finally here! You, your partner, your families, and your vendors have worked hard to follow all the steps to planning a wedding—so enjoy every minute! (Psst, want a step-by-step guide for planning the big day? We’ve got your covered with our wedding day timeline.)

 

wedding couple walking together after learning how to plan a wedding
CIVICPHOTOS

 

So, how much time do you need to plan a wedding?

Honestly, there’s no hard and fast rule, as you can really mold the steps above to your own timeline — slowing down or speeding up (we’ve even got a three-month wedding checklist) where it works. How much time you need all depends on two important factors: 1) the general timeframe, think year and season, that you want to be married, and 2) how long you want to be engaged. The average engagement length is 13 months, which is totally enough time to tackle the above.

What do you need to know before planning a wedding?

The answers to these four questions are a good starting point as you figure out how to plan a wedding. Once you’ve discussed these questions with your partner, you can move forward with other wedding-planning steps:

  • Around how much do we have to spend on a wedding? (This may involve talking to parents or others who are contributing financially to your wedding.)
  • Where do we want to get married? (Just a general location—like a city/town and state/region is okay for now.)
  • When do we want to get married? (A season or month and year is fine to start.)
  • Do we want a big or small wedding? (If you can estimate a guest count, great!)

Is wedding planning hard?

We’re not going to lie—different aspects of planning a wedding can be hard for different people. Maybe you love decor but find creating a guest list nearly impossible. Or perhaps you love charts and numbers but find Pinterest completely bewildering. Fortunately, once you’ve hired your vendors, you’ll have a team of people to assist you—and you can also delegate tasks to your partner, family members, or friends. If you’re feeling completely overwhelmed and finding all of wedding planning too much, it may be time to hire a wedding planner, if you haven’t already.

What if you have a smaller budget?

The average couple spends about $28,000 on their ceremony and reception. You can absolutely have an amazing wedding for less than this, you just have to be a bit more strategic. The number-one way to save money on your wedding? Cutting your guest list! You can expect to spend about $215 per guest, so the smaller your guest list (hello, microwedding!), the less you’ll likely spend. There are lots of other ways to spend money on a wedding, so our best advice is to be flexible—being willing to compromise in certain areas will ensure you’re able to stay within budget.

What if COVID postponed your original wedding?

The 2020 wedding season was a difficult one for many couples, who were forced to alter their plans, sometimes significantly, in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you postponed your wedding, lean on your wedding vendors, who are the true experts here, to help you replan your event—whether it’s a smaller event, like a minimony or microwedding, or a larger celebration in the future. Health and safety should be at the forefront of your mind here, as are following national, state, and local regulations. Keep an open line of communication with your guests, and try to keep things in perspective.

Interesting Wedding Planning Tips and Tricks

Interesting Wedding Planning Tips and Tricks

Give importance to your priorities first Whenever one thinks of planning a wedding trust me it’s a little irresistible feeling that comes into everyone’s life once. We can have one to thousands of discussions with many professionals, or experienced friends or family members to help out. There may be chances that you have a tight budget and you may want to do things by yourself under your budget. There may be lots to do, but trust me it’s possible to plan your own D-day.

It would just take your little time and a minute for arrangements to keep everything on the top of the world when you have to choose between endless decisions and lists. The best trick for this is to start one by one instead of binding all things together and the foremost is taking the advice of your friends and family members including your would be partner wherever necessary on every step you initiate.

Now The Question Is Why To Have All These Wedding Planning Tips?

The answer is very simple. “The budget” which comes very first in your list to finalize to get the wedding planning sequence work in a smooth manner and under your budget because everyone might have that much of budget but most of us want our wedding to be the special one. This is the best time to start with wedding planning tips. So don’t waste time, you may face situations to have uncomfortable conversations with your family members, like asking them what’s their budget or what they are planning for your wedding.

prepare-guest-list

Ask your family members about their budget and conclude with the amount everyone is comfortable with spending. After you have fixed your budget, have some extra 10% budget in your wallet because nobody is aware of an unexpected budget to spend, else this would let you reach out of the budget. Now when you are done with your budget, it’s time to spend with some bridal magazines and blogs to get some fair ideas of what type of wedding do you want. Have some fun while reading magazines and blogs else you may get bored.

Side by side, think about weddings you have attended, what part of that wedding you liked the most, what you want to do some different in yours one.

In spite of everything it’s your wedding, so try to have some fun with all things, as this is the most important part of your wedding plans. Don’t get too worried about little things, just focus on what’s most important; a wedding day with all your dreams to get fulfilled. Now I think you are all set to begin your planning, so here we have planned some more organized tips and tricks to plan a memorable wedding.

1. Create a list of priorities first – Sit with your partner, and have a discussion to figure out the five most important aspects of your wedding to avoid any confusion.

Wedding Planning Tips

How to Plan a Wedding: 42 Tips for the DIY Bride

How to Plan a Wedding: 42 Tips for the DIY Bride

First things first: Planning a wedding can feel pretty overwhelming at times (trust me, I do it for a living). While couples often hire a professional to help manage their wedding plans, there are plenty of reasons why they might also opt to take on the majority of the responsibilities on their own, too. Maybe you’re working with a tight wedding planning budget or maybe you simply love all of the DIY possibilities—in any case, it’s a lot of extra details, but it is possible to plan the wedding of your dreams on your own.

Organization is key to keeping everything on track when you’re faced with decisions, lists, deadlines, and everyday life to deal with. The first step is making sure to give yourselves plenty of time for wedding planning. A longer timeline is your friend here—aim for around a year, if possible. And don’t forget to involve your significant other in this step, as well. Your wedding should represent both of you, together as a couple. So, where to begin? We’ve got you covered. Just remember to keep one very important thing in mind: Try to have some fun! This is your wedding after all. Don’t get too hung up on the tiny details and focus on what’s truly important: celebrating the love the two of you share and getting married, all while surrounded by your friends and family.

Here are our 42 top tips for how to plan your wedding, from getting organized to traversing the legal framework of a vendor contract to maintaining your mental sanity.

Set Your Wedding Budget—and Stick to It

Money on dance floor
WHITNEY NEAL STUDIOS

Your wedding budget will be the driving factor for many of your wedding-related decisions, so this should be one of the first things you tackle. If any family members will be contributing, chat with them about what they’re comfortable spending. If you’re footing the bill yourself, it’s time to take a hard look at your finances. Be prepared for a reality check when it comes to actually budgeting for your wedding day as many couples don’t realize the full scope of costs involved. Once you’ve got that magic number, stick to it!

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Construct a List of Wedding Day Priorities

Live band
LEILA BREWSTER

Sit down with your partner and determine what the three most important aspects of your wedding will be. Is it the venue or specific wedding date? Locking in a certain wedding photographer or live band? Prioritize those details and be willing to compromise on the rest. This will help you stay within your budget and help you focus your efforts on what really counts.

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Determine Your Bridal Style

Woman looking at magazines
VLG / GETTY IMAGES

Find a few resources of bridal inspiration you like best—Pinterest, Instagram, magazines, trusty bridal sites (including Brides, of course!)—and start researching. Having a good sense of the type of wedding style you want helps immensely once you start meeting with potential vendors. Don’t overwhelm yourself with all the wedding inspiration that’s out there. Creating one or more Pinterest boards—or even a visual collage on a cork or poster board—will help you to figure out what sort of look and feel you really want and keep you aligned with your larger vision.

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Get Organized

Wedding planner agenda
CENERI / GETTY IMAGES

You can use checklists, spreadsheets, Word, Excel, Google Docs—anything, really—as long as you can gather all your thoughts, budgets, numbers, etc., in one place. There are also some great online tools and apps out there that can keep you organized. We love WeddingHappy for staying on track with tasks and AllSeated for visualizing seating charts and venue layouts.

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Involve Your Significant Other

Bride and groom
WHITNEY NEAL STUDIOS

Don’t feel like you’re in this wedding planning process alone. Consult with your partner along the way; their opinion is bound to be invaluable and—even if they’re only involved in some aspects—it makes wedding planning that much more fun when you can make decisions together. Working towards a common goal not only further bonds you and your partner but also helps you grow as a couple with every issue you tackle as a team.

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Buy a Wedding Planning Book

Woman with books
LENA GADANSKI / GETTY IMAGES

For couples who opt to take on the wedding planning process sans a professional planner or coordinator, a traditional etiquette and guidebook (such as The Wedding Book) is a wealth of information and expert advice, including tips and tricks and even examples of timelines and checklists.

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Create a Master Checklist

Bride writing
PAT FUREY

Check out our master wedding-planning checklist and timeline to keep yourself on track and tackling tasks like a pro. (Feel free to adapt it to suit your own needs, as necessary). This will help you visualize and prioritize goals without being overwhelmed with everything all at once.

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Think About Dates (and Seasons)

Wedding date
JUSTIN LEE

Choose a few ideal dates for your wedding and try to be flexible, if possible, so you’re not constrained when attempting to book the wedding venue and vendors. Take into consideration external factors like how popular those dates might be for other to-be-weds (making availability scarce and prices higher), if the dates would be difficult for your guests to attend, and the price differences of venues and vendors between seasons.

09of 42

Select a Theme

Grand exit
TREVOR AKANGER; EVENT DESIGN BY AARON HAHNSELLE

Whether it’s specific wedding colors, seasonal or style inspiration, or an actual theme (like the Roaring Twenties or Festival Chic, for example), sometimes it’s helpful to choose a concept to design your wedding around. Once you have an aesthetic in mind, it’s easier to make design decisions, and generally, everything looks more cohesive.

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Consider Having an “On-Site” Wedding

Reception
YURI KRIVENTSOFF / GETTY IMAGES

In wedding lingo, an “off-site” wedding is one where the venue doesn’t have a commercial kitchen and where you need to bring everything in—think places like a park, a public beach, even an open field. In contrast, having an “on-site” wedding—somewhere like a hotel or restaurant—will greatly simplify the planning process as they’ll likely have a range of catering offerings available, as well as access to the basics, including designated space, chairs and tables, and possibly even an on-site coordinator to assist you.

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Start Working on Your Guest List

Ceremony
ROEY YOHAI; EVENT PLANNING BY JZ EVENTS

Making decisions about the guest list can be a complicated process and one that will depend largely on your venue and budget. Sit down with your partner and key family members to put together a wish list of wedding guests. Chances are, you’ll need to make some cuts. You will also need to decide whether you’re inviting children and who will be allotted a plus one.

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Talk to Other Married Couples

Girls talking to bride
KATE HEADLEY

Have you recently attended a wedding that you really enjoyed? By all means, ask that couple for advice and insights. They probably have some expert tips and tricks that they learned along the way that they’d be more than happy to share with you. Sometimes, friends and family are the best resources.

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Research Your Venue Options

Villa D'Este
ROSS HARVEY; EVENT PLANNING BY THE LAKE COMO WEDDING PLANNER

Be sure to investigate prices, packages, and any restrictions (including minimum budget spend or guest count) from several different potential wedding and reception venues before you sign on the dotted line. Even if there’s a venue and a package price that you really like, still, keep looking at additional opinions. Ask around and see what other venues are charging before agreeing on a price.

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Only Book Vendors You’re Comfortable With

Groom with videocamera
WHITNEY NEAL STUDIOS

When it comes to booking wedding vendors, it’s essential to not rush into any decisions. Consider at least a few different options to make sure these important wedding day partners understand your vision and can also work within your budget. Wedding vendors are the nuts and bolts to ensuring your day is ultra memorable and everything runs smoothly, so make sure they’re a team of people that you really vibe well with. They should have a good sense of your vision and you should be able to trust them to execute it well.

15 TOP WEDDING PLANNING TIPS

15 TOP WEDDING PLANNING TIPS

Top Wedding Planning Tips

 1. Start wedding planning early

You might have summer 2020 in your mind as the ideal wedding date, but don’t think that means you have to wait two years before you start planning. The earlier you get onto it, the easier, and less stressful it will be as your day approaches. Having a clear plan before you start will help you keep on top of everything and be sure that you don’t forget something important. Insurance, rough guest list numbers and the budget should always be your first three things.

2. Nail the budget

Don’t spend anything until you’ve set a realistic budget that won’t stretch you too far. It’s a common mistake to forget all the little extras, too – for the budget to work, you need to factor in every detail. Don’t forget to account for additional costs like dress alterations, gifts and beauty expenses. These can all add up!

3. Helping hands

Although it’s your big day, your friends and family will be more than willing to help and will want to be involved in the planning. By getting help from people you trust, you’re more likely to feel that you can be honest if things aren’t exactly as you want them!

4. Be selective with the guest list

Sorting the guest list early is important so you can then focus on finding the perfect venue that will cater for your chosen number of guests. Costs per head will most likely be your biggest expense, so don’t be guilt–tripped into inviting people you don’t want to come. It’s the biggest and hardest decision in the whole planning process, but it has to be yours and your h2b’s decision only.

15-top-tips-wedding-planning

5. Long distance venues

You may not be a fan of where you currently live, or want to wed where you grew up, but make sure you don’t stray too far from the majority of your guest list, as fewer people will be likely to attend. It will also affect the timings of your day – you can’t expect guests in Liverpool to get to Somerset by 11am, for example. This is especially important if you’re planning a wedding abroad. To be safe, expect that many people won’t be able to make it.

6. Make sure you have a Plan B in place

However much you don’t want to think it, something could go wrong on the day. This could be anything from a problem with the catering to rain (despite the forecast promising a dry day). Plan alternatives for each scenario and account for anything that might not go to plan so you’re not left stressed out and panicking on the big day. Additionally, you should invest in wedding insurance, and check what circumstances are covered under your policy.

7. Pick your best girls

Your bridesmaids should be your biggest support throughout the planning process, so choose wisely. Friends you’ve recently made or cousins you rarely see are not the best choice. Instead choose your sisters, long–term best friends or close relatives. The last thing you’ll want is to look at your wedding album a few years later and to be no longer in touch with one of your bridesmaids.

top-wedding-planning-tips

More Top Wedding Planning Tips…

8. Book the best photographer you can

15-top-tips-wedding-planning

Your wedding album is how you’ll relive the cherished memories of your day, so don’t underestimate the importance of a good photographer. Research carefully and find someone who understands exactly what you want. Engagement shooes are a great idea too, because you’ll get to know your photographer better as well as practise your poses!

9. Get the menu right

One of the biggest talking points at any wedding is the food. From hog roasts and buffets to bake offs and mini fish ‘n’ chips, the quirkier the better! Avoid skimping in this area – hungry guests are never a good thing!

10. Feel fabulous, but don’t overdo it

Everyone wants to look fab in their wedding photos, so if you’d like a confidence boost, now’s the time to adopt a healthy eating plan and practise a few simple exercises to tone your body. On the other hand, going on an extreme diet is definitely not a good idea.  Just remember that your groom wants to marry you exactly the way you are!

11. Don’t fall for common beauty mishaps

The main culprits here are too much fake tan, coloured–in eyebrows and too much foundation. Yes, you will need to wear slightly heavier make–up than usual to make your features stand out in photos, but don’t go crazy! 2015 is all about soft, smokey eyes and peachy tones on the lips and cheeks.

12. Give your groom his own responsibilities

Your fiancé may not have been planning his wedding since he was five, but he will definitely have his own ideas and opinions and will want a say in the planning. Listen to what he says and remember it’s his day, too. Most guys like to get involved with the menu, music and budget spreadsheets.

15-top-tips-wedding-planning

13. Make the little details personal

Your wedding is all about the two of you, so try to incorporate as much of your personalities into the day as you can. From the stationary and favours to the outfits and first dance, guests should say ‘that’s so them!’

14. Lists, lists and more lists!

With a million and one suppliers to deal with, each with different payment deadlines, it’s impossible to keep track of everything by yourself.One of our top wedding planning tips is to sit down with your h2b, make a budget spreadsheet of forecast costs and actual costs as well as when payments are due, and lsit what things are left to do.

15. Don’t forget what’s important

Wedding planning can be stressful but if you find yourself getting too caught up in it all, take a step back and remind yourself what your wedding is really about – you marrying the love of your life!

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