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Step-By-Step Guide To Planning A Wedding

1. You’re Engaged! Enjoy It.

You’ve probably already heard it: “When is the big day? Where will you have your wedding? Am I in your wedding?” … and just about any other impossible question that comes along with announcing your engagement. Pump the breaks- there’s no need to rush into planning. In fact, it’s recommended that you take time and refrain from oversharing plans too soon. Allow yourself and your partner the opportunity to take a breath and enjoy being newly engaged. You have a lot to do… and don’t have to do anything until you’re both ready. 

 2. Set A Budget & Secure A Venue

Don’t lift a finger until you’ve had the “talk” with any VIPs helping to set the budget. Whether it’s you and your honey, parents, or otherwise- sit down, set a number, and stick to it. The WeddingWire budget calculator is a useful tool to help you determine a realistic budget, regardless of how much or little you’ve planned thus far. Once you’ve established your budget, the fun begins. Take care to work backwards- select a range of dates that interest you and begin your search for the perfect venue. If you don’t know your anticipated guest count, allow the experts handling each venue to weigh in on how many people you can expect to entertain with your budget. Remember that some venues book up a year or more in advance, so know that flexibility may work in your favor. Pro Tip: Check holiday calendars & area events to ensure that accommodations for your guests will be available.

3. Make A Guest List & Secure Your Vendors

Now that you have a picked a venue and date, start thinking about who to invite. Draft several lists with your partner before coming to a final decision, and set some rules: Kids or no kids? How many guests of the family? It’s your wedding, but read up on “the norms” before calling the shots. As you work to determine who will fill the seats at your wedding, start researching vendors. Caterers, officiants, photographers, and bands- these essential vendors are important to secure as early as possible. If you are not working with a wedding planner, ask the team of professionals at your venue for some ideas and recommendations. Be sure to get quotes, and review your contracts carefully with your partner before making any commitments.

4. Set A Vision & Get Shopping!

Whether you are scouring magazines or pinning your heart out, now is the time to establish your vision. Think big before you think about cake flavors and necklace options, and don’t forget to include your partner as you take off running. Is this a formal affair or a beachside bash? What do you want your guests to do to enjoy themselves at the event? What do you what to do to have fun at the event? Having a concept of your wedding’s format will help you understand everything from rental needs, to transportation and what shoes and dress you should wear. Once you’ve identified your event format and expectations, choose your colors and get to planning. Create a checklist as you think of things you have; things you’ve purchased/contracted; and things you may need to buy. Pro top: Set calendar alerts in so you stay on top of contract due dates and deadlines. 

5. Finalize & Set Your Plan in Motion

Order your invitations and postage; select your venue rentals; choose your flowers and cake flavors; pick your first dance song; the list goes on. There may not be a time before the big day that you are “done” planning, but working quickly and efficiently- and staying within your budget- will make the process feel smooth and fun! Breaking your to-do list into a timeline will help you and your partner stay focused and feel accomplished as you near your big day. And don’t be afraid to ask for help. There will always be someone offering support; have something in mind that they can do to help if (and when) you need it. Finally, remember that this is the chance of a lifetime- you are an engaged bride or groom-to-be with the flexibility to have the wedding of your dreams. Don’t let the process weigh down your excitement and remember that, underneath it all, this is all about celebrating the love you and your partner have for one another.


Have questions or need advice? We’re here to help! Email Samantha Martin at


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