I got a call yesterday from a bride to be, who recently got engaged. She has only been engaged for about a month, and she wanted to start planning their wedding day, about a year away. Talking to her further, she had no idea where to start the planning process, and was very much overwhelmed with it all. This is not the first conversation that I have had like this with brides and grooms to be, about planning a wedding, and I know it won’t be the last time either. I have gotten so many phone calls like this, over the past few years. People just assume that a couple know where to begin, and know what order to plan everything. I’ve found that many don’t, and they have a hard time knowing where to start, and what to prioritse. Planning a wedding can be very stressful if you don’t know where to start. So I thought I would share some helpful tips on where to start in planning for the big day.
Tip #1- Budget
The first thing that I suggest to couples, is to sit down and work out a budget together. This way, you can know if you are both on the same page as each other, when it comes to a budget. List the most expensive parts of the wedding. These include things like the venue, photographer, flowers and your wedding dress. Make a rough budget that can be changed if you need it to, just in case you change your mind about things that you want, or don’t want, on your wedding day.
Tip #2- Inspiration
I also like to suggest to couples about making a scrapbook or a pinterest board with wedding ideas that sing to you, or colours palettes that jump out at you. This keeps it all in once place, so when you need to choose things like decorations, table runners , or floral settings, it’s all in one place.
Tip #3- Checklist
Checklists are a must have. If you are anything like me, you need lists to remember everything. This will help you to plan months in advance and it also helps you to know what has been booked, paid off, and what still needs to be done, at any given moment. It also helps in reducing the amount of stress leading up to the wedding day.
Here is a list of things you can include on your checklist:
About 12 months before
Work out a budget; choose your bridal party; start the guest list; reserve your date and venues; book officiant or priest; start a scrapbook for inspiration; start to research photographers, videographers, DJ’s, florists, and caterers; and finally, throw an engagement party.
About 8-9 months before
Book photographer and/or videographer, DJ/entertainment, florist and caterer; meet with the caterer; finalise guest list and send out invitations; buy a wedding dress and bridesmaid dresses; and reserve a hotel block for out of town guests.
About 6-7 months before wedding day
Start planning for the honeymoon; meet with officiant/priest; arrange transportation if needed for guests; start organising a timeline of the wedding day; and research makeup artists.
About 4-5 months before
Check on wedding invitations; send guest list to host of bridal shower; buy wedding shoes and start dress fittings; book hair and makeup artist; choose music for the wedding day; start list of photos for photographer; and order wedding bands.
3 months before
Finalise menu and flowers; make a list of people giving toasts and speeches; finalise order of ceremony and reception; send schedule of event to venues and vendors, and give finalised list to photographer.
2 months before
Catch up with all vendors; meet with photographer; review music list with DJ; hold a hens/bucks night.
1 month before
Get your marriage license; have your final dress fitting; send out as many final payments as possible; confirm time and date for hair and makeup; confirm date times with all vendors and venues; assign seating for tables; start to break in new shoes; write vows; and purchase gifts for bridesmaids and groomsmen, and get your engagement and wedding bands cleaned.
Week of the wedding
Confirm arrival times with vendors and venues; send a timetable to the bridal party; pick up your dress and suits; check on last time with photographer; and pack for your honeymoon.
These are just some things that will hopefully help you plan for your wedding day. Even though it can be a very stressful day, remember to enjoy it. Soak up all the moments, and go with the flow. Don’t sweat the little things on your wedding day, and always keep in mind the bigger picture. Never forget that your wedding is a celebration of your union and love for each other. Always be a team, and keep what you want as a couple, at the centre of all your decisions.