So, you’ve decided to tie the knot! This is the most exciting time in any bride’s life! Now the fun part comes… you get to plan a wedding!
If you don’t know how to plan a wedding, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. There are so many unspoken rules and etiquette things that you have to remember and so many little things to plan.
If you’re not sure how to plan a wedding, keep reading! We’re breaking it down to 15 easy-to-follow steps so you can plan your special day!
1. Dream Your Dreams
The first thing you should do is let yourself dream about your wedding day. Write down all the things you think would make your day perfect.
Do you want a big wedding with all the trimmings? Do you want a small, family affair? Are you more of a destination wedding kind of person?
Take time dreaming of your big day so you can better plan it to match.
2. Decide Your Budget
Next, decide how much you have to spend on your wedding. Be realistic and take a close look at how you’re going to fund your wedding. Will you have any help?
Start saving early for this. Weddings can be as cheap as $1k but can get as expensive as $25k or even more.
Remember, you are under no obligation to spend a boatload of money on your wedding. Keep a spreadsheet of all the components of your wedding and keep close track of them to make sure you don’t go over budget.
3. All Hands On Deck
Next, decide who is going to help you plan your big day. Are you going to do it on your own or do you think you’ll need help?
You can spring for a wedding planner if you like the idea of the details being worked out for you. If you want to be in control in a big way, you could try to DIY your wedding.
Just remember that the more help you have, the less stressed you’ll feel the day of the wedding.
4. Pick Your Date
Pick your wedding date at least a year in advance. Some more popular wedding venues even book out 2+ years in advance. If you have a specific venue in mind, pick your date as early as possible and start reserving what you can.
When you are 6 months out from your wedding date, send out Save the Date cards, which we’ll talk about in a later step.
Remember, the longer you have to plan your wedding, the smoother your big day will go. The last thing you want is to have to rush things at the last moment.
5. Pick Your Party
Now you have to decide who you want to stand beside you on your big day! Do you have a lot of friends who would make good bridesmaids or are you looking to keep things a little smaller? It’s entirely up to you.
Gone are the days of putting only your unmarried friends in your wedding party. Some brides and grooms are even opting to have groomswomen and bridesmen. The only limit to your wedding party is your desires and imagination.
A good rule of thumb is to make sure that there is the same amount of people on both sides of the aisle, that way it keeps everything coordinated when it comes down to walk down it.
6. Start Building Your Guest List
Whenever you create your guest list, make sure that you consider your budget. Your budget needs to be your guiding light for everything you do for your wedding from here on out.
Depending on the cost of your food and beverage choices, you could wind up spending upwards of $250 per person at your wedding.
Decide early on whether or not you’ll allow kids at your wedding so parents can get babysitters ahead of time. Make it clear on your invitations if your guests will get to bring a plus one or not.
7. Pick a Location and Venue
Once you have a tentative guest list, you can find a venue that is big enough for your celebration. Do you want a celebration at your church or a local venue that is special to you? Or are you more interested in a destination wedding, maybe on a beach?
Consider your guests and whether or not they’ll be able to attend a destination wedding. If you have a small guest list, it may not be a problem to get your guests to a faraway location. But if you have a lot of people who want to come, it could wind up being a logistical nightmare.
8. Theme, Decor, and Details
Now it’s time to decide on your theme. Most weddings have a set color scheme. Sit down and decide the main colors you and your groom want to have at your wedding.
From there, you can decide on the decor and all the smaller details. This is where having a wedding planner comes in handy. They’re great at knowing what eventualities to plan for and if they come with the venue you’ve chosen, they’ll have the inside scoop on exactly how to decorate.
9. Wedding Website and Social Media
As you get closer and closer to your big day, you need to get your wedding website established. This is essentially a hub of information for your friends and family. Put all the updated information about your venue, dress code, wedding hashtag, and even an RSVP list if you’re feeling adventurous.
There’s a ton of pressure nowadays to make every aspect of your wedding virtual. If you want something a little quieter and lowkey, you could always ask your guests to not use their cell phones for pictures. There’s nothing wrong with going back to basics!
If you don’t want guests to spend a lot of time with their phones, say so on the invitation or with a cute decorative sign at the event.
10. Save the Date and Invitations
Next, it’s time to pick out your Save the Date cards and invitations. Some couples choose to match the invitations with the Save the Date cards and many companies offer discounts for buying them both at the same time.
If you can, get your Save the Date cards out six months in advance of the wedding date. Send the full invitation at least three months in advance. Set your RSVP far enough away from the date that you will be able to plan for each head that is coming to your wedding.
11. Pick Your Wedding Day Looks
Now you get to the best part of wedding planning, the dress! A rule of thumb for picking out a dress is that you shouldn’t buy a gown that’s too small for you and hope that you can fit into it later on down the line. You can easily have a too-big dress tailored to fit you beautifully.
It’s a lot harder to let out a dress, even a small amount.
You should also take some time to decide what you want your bridal party to wear. Some brides choose to have their party wear all the same dress in the same colors. Others let them choose their dresses as long as they’re in the same color.
12. Food and Beverage
Next, you get to pick the menu for your big day! This is where it starts to get expensive. Depending on your menu, you could wind up paying $250 per person for a plate of food!
While it’s important to remember that it’s your day and things should be the way you like it, you also need to take care of your guests. If you have friends with dietary needs, like those who are vegan or have celiac disease, consider offering a meal that would allow them to eat at your wedding as well.
You also need to decide whether or not you’ll have an open bar. Open bars can get very expensive but not having them might look bad.
13. Wedding Rings
While you may have had your eyes on your engagement ring for a long time, it’s still fun to pick out a wedding ring! Your wedding rings should be timeless and classic. Many engagement rings come with wedding bands that come as a set.
If your husband doesn’t like traditional wedding rings, there are wedding rings made out of silicone that are great to wear while working out.
14. Photo and Video
Lastly, decide how much you want to spend on a photographer and videographer. Remember, your big day only happens once. And oftentimes, you feel like the day flies by so fast you don’t have a chance to enjoy it.
When you invest in a good wedding videographer and photographer, you’re ensuring that you’ll be able to enjoy your wedding day for years to come!
How to Plan a Wedding the Simple Way
Now that you know how to plan a wedding in just a few simple steps, you can get started planning the day of your dreams! There’s so much stress surrounding wedding planning, but there doesn’t have to be. As long as you’re sticking to your budget and taking care of yourself while you plan, you’ll get through it unscathed.
For more of the top wedding planning tips and tricks, keep reading!