Wedding Planning 101: How To Lay Out The Important Groundwork For Your Best Day Ever!

Wedding background with checklist and calendar. Female hands arranging marriage, filling in planners on white wooden table with lots of tender bridal stuff, top view

Congratulations on your engagement! As you take the first step of planning your wedding, let me share some advice to help you quickly navigate this exciting yet sometimes overwhelming process. From setting priorities to being mindful of the unforeseen, here is your guide to setting the foundation for planning your wedding celebration.  


Do: Start with Your Priorities

Before diving headfirst, you should sit down and identify your priorities. Prioritizing what matters to you most will guide your decisions and keep you focused throughout the process. Write those words down and have them on a wall, a vision board, your phone, etc. Have them anywhere to keep you focused.


Do: Create a Guest List

World War III has nearly erupted multiple times over the last century because of a wedding guest list. Create your must-invite list and then separately think of the people it would be nice to invite. You want to know the tentative guest count when considering venues and catering. That count can sway your costs drastically.


Do: Set a Budget and Then Add a Contingency

Whether your budget is $2 or $2 million, have an honest conversation with all who will invest in your wedding day. Understanding your budget before you lock in your venue is vital. The cost of weddings has changed, and your guest count will impact many of your expenses. Some expenditures will be the same regardless of your guest count. Know that labor costs, fuel costs, and travel fees are a part of the proposals you are receiving, and so many times, you may have to revisit your budget. 


Do: Create A Wedding Email

Creating a wedding email is my number one to-do when speaking to couples. The wedding email is shared between you and your fiancé. It is where EVERY contract or email about your wedding will go (except your dress if you are a bride and want your fiancé to be surprised).


Do: Hire A Wedding Planner

Hiring a planner helps to alleviate many stressors. It is an investment, but it is also invaluable. As planners, our role is to help you keep your priorities in line and develop your game plan for your wedding. We will help save you time, realistically map out your financial investment, and bring the professionals to the table who will execute the day.


Do: Embrace Technology

Technology is the cornerstone for so much of what we do. Utilize the tools to help keep you organized. Use technology, from your wedding website to setting up your registry to apps that allow you to stay in touch with your guests.


Do: Communicate Openly and Honestly

Effective communication is critical to a successful wedding planning process. Be open and honest with your partner about your preferences, concerns, and expectations. Regular check-ins and honest conversations will help ensure that you’re on the same page every step of the way and can make decisions that reflect your personality and values.


Do: Prioritize Self-Care

Literally, build it in. We encourage our couples to build in “no wedding” moments into the planning process. Wedding planning can become a whirlwind of emotions, deadlines, and decision-making moments, so it’s essential to prioritize self-care throughout the process. Relax, exercise, and spend quality time with your fiance to recharge and rejuvenate.  


Don’t: Forget About Sustainability

As awareness of environmental issues grows, many couples in 2024 are opting for eco-friendly wedding options. From choosing sustainable vendors to reducing waste and incorporating green elements into your décor, there are countless ways to plan a beautiful and environmentally conscious wedding. Consider alternatives such as digital invitations, locally sourced flowers, and plant-based menus to minimize your carbon footprint.


Don’t: Underestimate the Power of Research

Read the proposals, look at photos from the vendor galleries, and read reviews. It is okay to ask professionals for references to gain perspective and insight into whom you are hiring.


Don’t: Succumb to Pressure

IT IS YOUR WEDDING. In the age of social media and influencer culture, it’s easy to feel pressure to have the “perfect” or “viral” wedding. Remember that your wedding day is about celebrating your love and commitment to one another. You don’t have to keep up with unrealistic standards or trends. Stay true to yourselves as a couple, and don’t be afraid to break tradition or do things your way, even if it means going against the grain. I always tell my couples that the only requirements for a wedding are a marriage license and an officiant. Everything else is what you want it to be.


With these essential dos and don’ts in mind, you’re well-equipped to embark on the planning journey. Remember to stay true to yourselves, prioritize what matters most, and enjoy every moment of this special time—raising my champagne glass to you! Congratulations.


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