If you’re reading this, first things first… congratulations!! You said yes to the love of your life and you are about to embark on one of the most exciting journeys of your life, wedding planning! If you’re anything like me, you’ve been dreaming of this time in your life since you were little, and you’ve had a “wedding” pinterest board for several years already.
Amidst all of the excitement surrounding this phase of life, you’re probably wondering “Where do I even start?!” So we are here to help you! I know this whole process can be a bit overwhelming, but we promise if you just take it one day at a time, your big day will be here before you know it, and it will be everything you’ve ever dreamt of. So, here we go!
The first thing you want to do as soon as you get engaged is start talking about what time frame you want to get married in. It’s important that you don’t automatically choose a date, because that will really limit your search for locations, vendors, and availability of anyone that you want to be involved. Start talking about a time frame based on how you picture your wedding day. For me, I knew getting married in the summer was out of the question, because I wanted outdoor photos and I did not want to be drenched in sweat while taking the. (Fellow Floridians would understand) For some people, summer is ideal because they are able to take time off, they are okay with an indoor wedding, etc. Talk about what is important to you, how you picture your wedding day, and start narrowing it down. Start with a season, then narrow it down to about two months that you are open to getting married in.
The next thing you’ll want to do is decide on a realistic budget. I know this can be a feat in and of itself, but doing your research will be a great help to you when planning this aspect of your wedding. Some ways you can figure out a realistic budget is by researching venues and other vendors that you love, and start getting an “average” price for those things, and add them up to see what you’re looking at. This is where a lot of brides get “sticker shock” because they don’t realize how costly it can be to host hundreds of guests and provide food, have it documented professionally, etc. However, don’t get discouraged by the numbers. Many wedding vendors allow you to make payments on their services all the way up until one month before the wedding day, so you’re able to make small monthly payments which are more manageable than paying everything up front.
After determining your budget, start looking into and narrowing down venues. The venue will be one of the things that books the absolute quickest, and will most likely determine your specific date. My recommendation would be to pick a max of 5 venues that you love, and schedule tours with them, then sit down with your fiance’ (and family if you choose) and decide which one fits your vision and budget the best. *tip* Just because a venue *seems* less expensive, does not mean it will save you money. Many venues that are more expensive include tables and chairs, which can be a large expense if they’re not included in other venues. Make sure you take this into consideration when looking at pricing. Renting tables and chairs could cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars if not included with the venue.
So you’ve booked the venue, yay! That means you have nailed down a date and it is time to send out “save the dates” to make sure all of your loved ones know to block that date off on their calendar to see YOU get married!! This is such an exciting part of the process, because everything is starting to feel so real!
Last but certainly not least, start securing your other vendors! Besides your venue, the two vendors that will typically book out the farthest in advance will be your photographer and coordinator/planner! (Sometimes you will have your planner booked before the venue, and that’s great! If not, they definitely need to be secured asap).
We hope these tips are helpful for you and that you have the wedding of your dreams! If you have questions about anything along this journey of wedding planning, we are always here to help! Feel free to reach out via our contact form, email, or any of our other social channels that you can find linked at the bottom of our site! Happy planning! Xo, Nikki