Here you are – your months, maybe even years, of subtly-dropped hints have finally paid off, and you’re engaged! The hugest congratulations to you – you and your fiancé are about to embark on one of the most exciting journeys of your lives.
You’re excited beyond words about that sparkly new ring on your finger, and all of the sudden, your entire Instagram feed is filled with wedding ideas and inspiration. You have all the grand plans and ideas, and are already envisioning the wedding of the century that you have before you – think Anthony and Stanford from Sex and the City, there will be swans.
After a few weeks of getting to ride the high of compliments, celebrations, and plenty of glasses of bubbly, though, it’s finally time to sit down and actually start planning your wedding. Although preliminary budgets and brainstorming guest lists aren’t quite as snazzy as that boat exit you had mentally planned for your dreamy Lake Como wedding day, it’s a necessary part of the process. So pour a glass of wine (or maybe a beet juice, at this point), and keep reading for the best ways to start planning your wedding day.
Assess Your Budget
The absolute first step when planning your wedding is to start by assessing what your overall budget will be. Understand that there will likely be a few things that come up as you plan that will bring you over your ideal budget, but having a jumping off point to keep in mind when talking to vendors and creating an overall vision will be huge. Also, be realistic with the connection between your taste / style and your proposed budget – if you have your heart set on a stunning luxury wedding venue and a high-end film wedding photographer, your budget expectations will need to be set accordingly!
List Your Priorities
Sit down with your fiancé each of you list your top three wedding planning priorities – maybe you have to have timeless film photography, and they wants delicious food and an incredible band. If each of you list your top three priorities for your wedding day, you can start planning with a shared understanding of where the bulk of your budget is going.
Brainstorm a Date
Having a general wedding date in mind will help a great deal with wedding planning. If you’re planning to get married in peak wedding seasons and dreaming of getting married in May or September, you’ll want to plan enough time to reach out to your ideal vendors. Many wedding vendors tend to book crucial dates six months to a year in advance, and sometimes even further out. Consider that not every wedding needs to be on a Saturday, and if availability or budget is a concern, a Sunday wedding can be an excellent option!
Start With a Mood Board
While your wedding planner will work closely with you to perfectly pin down your vision for your wedding day, it helps everyone (mostly you!) to create some kind of preliminary wedding mood board. This can be as simple as a collection of boards on Pinterest, but when considering a wedding venue and vendors, it’s often helpful to have a general idea of the look and feel that you’re aiming for so that you can make sure everything stays cohesive.
Start a Running Guest List
Work together to create a running guest list – put it in a common area, like your kitchen, and add to or cross off that list as you go. Understand that your guest count will directly impact your budget for creativity, so plan accordingly with your budget in mind.
Pick Your Dream Vendors
Starting with a wedding planner! I truly cannot stress this enough – a talented wedding planner will help ensure that your vendor team is cohesive and consistent with your vision. Your wedding planner will give you a short list of their favorite vendors for your wedding day, but another crucially important vendor is your wedding photographer. I may be biased, but I think it’s absolutely so important to pick a wedding photographer with a timeless and classic style – your wedding photos will be the only tangible memory you have left from your wedding day.