Getting Started | Wedding Planning 101

There is a lot to think about after the big engagement. When will the wedding be? How many guests will you invite? Are there more bridesmaids than groomsmen? Where will the reception be? What am I forgetting? And, don’t forget the most important question, when am I going to find time to do all of this?

Decide right now that you are going to take this one step at a time. Take it all in stride, even if that does mean that you are juggling a list of twenty things that have to be completed by tomorrow! First things first, decide whether your budget allows you to hire a wedding planner and/or other professionals. If you are going to hire a wedding planner, begin shopping around. Schedule appointments and consultations with some of the most recommended planners in your area. Talk to your friends and family members about it. Don’t be afraid to get their opinions. Oftentimes people who have been through this experience before will be able to tell you who you should hire, or better yet, who you should stay away from. Schedule your appointments as soon as possible so that you leave your planner enough time to get to know you and start organizing the affairs of your big day. If it’s not in your budget to hire a planner, I would suggest purchasing a good organizer and/or software program. There are many websites that will offer review of these types of products. This will help you find a system that works best for you and your needs.

Now that you have decided on your method of planning, it’s time to jump on in. Compile a checklist of items that need to be taken care of, along with a timeline of when each item needs to be completed. Most wedding planners will have a generic checklist of the appointments and events that need to be taken care of during the planning process. If you have one of these lists, sit down and cross off anything that may not apply to you. For instance, if you are choosing to have friends and family help with the catering of your event, you will be able to cross off anything that pertains to tasting, menu planning or meeting with the caterers. In exchange, you may need to add to your list. If you choose to have your family help with the catering you may have to make a list of who-brings-what to the event.

Going through a generic checklist will often trigger other ideas and items that you may want to add in order to customize your planning checklist. It’s a good idea to add those things as you think about them so that you don’t forget about it when you sit back down with your checklist tomorrow. This is also a good time to start working on a budget. Decide, along with your fiance and parents, what your budget is. When you start meeting with your vendors you will want to know exactly what you are willing to spend with them. That way you don’t go into a consultation with your cake decorator and look at cakes that are way over your budget. Or, you don’t go to the bridal shop and try on a $7500 gown, fall in love with it and then realize that it’s way more than you are willing to spend. Don’t set yourself up for failure or disappointment…decide ahead of time! By using your budget and checklist together, you can now get a firm idea of what you are looking for and expecting for your big day. Use your customized checklist to start planning away. And, don’t forget to check back to our site often for tips, tricks and ideas to help you along the way!