Over the years of shooting weddings and planning my own, I’ve learned so much about weddings that the normal bride-to-be is not aware of! When it comes to wedding planning, there are some things you want to knock out first and foremost to get you started on the right foot!
1. Dream Big
The nitty-gritty is coming, but before you get into the details, give yourself some time to dream. Write down what you’d love to have at your wedding, whether it’s a barefoot ceremony in the sand or a bourbon bar at the reception, and start putting together a Pinterest board with your vision. Keep an eye out for common themes, which will help you narrow things down later and start to define your biggest priorities for the event.
2. Talk Numbers
I told you it was coming! Don’t book a single thing before you know how much you’ll have to spend on your wedding. Talk to your parents about what they might be comfortable contributing, and start setting aside savings if you’ll be paying for the event yourselves. Another number to consider? Your guest list! Create a draft guest list to get an idea of how many guests you’ll have, which will play a major role in how far your budget can go and which venues you can look at.
3. Pick Your Season
Before you tour venues or interview majors vendors (like your planner or photographer), you’ll want to have a range of dates in mind. Think about what you’re envisioning for your celebration. Is it a flower-filled wedding in the spring or a mountaintop elopement? Whenever your dream wedding seems to fall in the year, look to your calendars to see when you’re both free. Don’t forget to check in with your VIPs to make sure they’re available, too!
4. Book the Major Players
These are the vendors who get booked 12-18 months out so they will most likely determine your DATE. If you intend on hiring a planner, he or she should be by your side from the start so book FIRST.
And to me, the venue and photographer will determine the ‘vibe’ and overall look of the day. Do you want a modern or industrial venue? Are you looking for more of the ballroom wedding look? Do you want light & airy photos? More true to color photos? or more of a dark a moody look? All these factors will determine how your wedding feels to you and your guests the day-of and how it is portrayed for years to come in your photos!
5. Get Organized
Now, when I say get organized. I mean GET ORGANIZED. It doesn’t even have to be pretty. Whether you want to get the Erin Condren Wedding Planner or you just grab a cheap three-ring binder from Walmart — you need to get ONE PLACE for all your things! There are several resources out there such as online planning tools, a printed wedding planning binder, documents from your wedding planner or templates from your Google Drive. Keeping on top of the details is key. Create a comprehensive timeline, track your budget and hold onto contracts and receipts to keep all of the details in one place. This leads me to my bonus…
** Bonus ** The List of All Lists
I’ll help you get started with one guide you’ve got to have!
From aisle markers to road signs, custom koozies to the flower girl basket, this guide has 130 possible details to incorporate into your wedding day. Take your pick, make your lists and don’t forget a thing!