How To Plan A Wedding: A Step by Step Guide

Your wedding day will forever be one of the most important days of your life—planning it out can naturally be a stressful process, so today we wanted to run you through a step by step to plan out your wedding. While your wedding theme or the intricacies of it may differ, these steps will help you have a clear view towards the things you need to cover throughout your wedding planning.

Creating A Timeline

The most important question you’ll need to answer above all, is when you’ll be getting married. The average bride spends around a year or more engaged, which gives you plenty of time to pull your wedding together.  When it comes to deciding how long to wait before the wedding, there are several factors you’ll need to take into account: what time of the year you have in mind for your wedding and how soon you’ll want to be married are at the top of that list. For example, if you want to have a winter wedding and winter is 3 weeks away, we’d strongly urge waiting til next year to give yourself the time to plan out your dream wedding and not be stuck under a stressful time-rush. Once you have an approximate date in mind, you’ll be able to allocate timeframes to get things done, like picking a dress, booking a venue or sending out invites.

Setting A Budget For Your Wedding

This one is on par with choosing a date in terms of importance, setting a budget is super important for you to ensure you can afford everything that’ll make your wedding perfect, while also avoiding any unnecessary stress from going over your budget. Budgeting is the critical step that allows you to know what’s possible and what may require a bit of creativity, change or a more cost effective alternative. Once you’ve sat down with your partner and set a budget, it allows every other aspect of your wedding planning to fall into place far more smoothly.

Search For Inspiration/Choose A Theme

Now that you’ve got an approximate timeline and you’ve got a budget set for your wedding day, it’s time you jumped into the initial planning stages. You’ll want to dive into your early wedding planning by using social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest along with Google searches or reading blogs to learn about and look at the weddings other brides have planned and carried out (dresses too!). To start getting some ideas for your own big day, you’ll want to use your time spent researching to gather ideas for the over-all theme of your wedding, ideas for your gown and any other wedding related ideas.

Choose Your Wedding Party + Estimated Guest List

You’ll want to start a rough estimate of a wedding guest list now that you’ve got a theme in mind. You don’t need to have a complete exact guest list right now, you’ll have a bit of time for that, but it is good to have a rough idea of how many people will be attending your wedding so that you’ll be able to both allocate part of your budget for it as well as be prepared prior to invites.

As you’re pulling together a rough draft of a guest list, it’s also the perfect time to decide who will be in your wedding party. Who will be your maid of honour? Bridesmaids? Who will your husband choose for his best man & groomsmen? These are all important decisions to make, especially deciding who will stand next to you on your special day.

Choose A Date & Venue

For this part, you’ll want to talk with your venue and relay the dates you have in mind, it’ll help you set both in stone. Using your estimated guest list, timeline and the budget for your wedding is the key here, it’ll help you narrow down the options for potential wedding venues.

When it comes down to deciding on a venue, be sure to do all of your due diligence. Look into the venues Google reviews, tagged Instagram posts or search their name on Twitter, among other things, to see what other real humans have to say about them. Researching another couples experience with a venue is a good indication of what to expect and will help guide your final decision on a venue.

Finalise Guest List/Send Out ‘Save The Date’ Cards

Now that you’ve chosen a venue and set a date, it’s time to finalise your guest list. Be sure to keep the venues rules and capacity in mind when it comes to choosing who you’ll want as a guest at your wedding. Once you’ve decided on who you plan on inviting, the next step will be to send out ‘Save The Date’ cards to let everyone know when and where you’ve planned on holding your wedding so that they can organise to be there and support you on your special day.

Lock In Wedding Vendors/Choosing A Theme

You will have already chosen your wedding venue (and date!) By this point, and hopefully should have a general theme in mind to discuss with the vendors you’ll be choosing. After you’ve got a general idea of the theme, you’ll also need to lock in others such as your photographer, videographer, wedding dress designer (more on that soon!), HMUA a.k.a hair & make-up artist, florist, cake maker and more.

Finding all of your wedding vendors will be an intense task but there are ways to reduce stress and streamline it for yourself such as asking friends or family members that have been married recently for recommendations on who they’ve used, looking at the weddings of other brides and finding aspects you like (such as the florist). For this one, you’ll want to use a lot of social media, Google and personal recommendations to find the right vendor for each task. As always, remember to read online reviews of each business or individual to see what other brides & grooms have said about them to be safe.

Choose A Wedding Dress

Now that you’ve got your venue locked in and you have chosen a theme, it’s time to use that information to help guide you towards choosing a wedding dress. For example, if you’ve planned for a boho style wedding, then you’ll be leaning towards a boho style gown for your special day. Knowing what type of event you’re planning for will dictate the type of bridal designer or store you’re after. You’ll also have a relative idea of your budget after setting that at the beginning, so you’ll have a rough approximation to help you know what style of gown you can or can’t afford!

One big tip we always like to give brides is a pretty simple one: take your time and shop around. We meet with brides-to-be each week for consults and we always urge them to shop around before they make a decision so that they’re completely happy with the gown they choose at their wedding. Another key tip: if you’re buying an off-the-rack gown, make sure you choose your heels/footwear prior to getting any alterations work done, having the shoes is mandatory for seamstresses that may be hemming your gown.

Plan Out Your Honeymoon

While we’re limited in the places we can go, a lot of couples are still taking local honeymoons in the meantime until they can go on their dream getaway. One great way to lower your stress around the actual wedding day is to ensure everything that will come after the day itself is planned well in advance such as your honeymoon.

Buy Your Wedding Rings

This step may need to be completed earlier if you’re going for a fully customised ring, so keep that in mind, but when it comes to choosing and purchasing your wedding bands, be sure to give yourself a bit of time prior to the wedding so that there’s no last minute problems. The wedding bands are super important (for obvious reasons) and you’ll want to make sure you’ve picked them up and got them home safe with enough time to not stress it!

Send Off Wedding Invitations

Traditionally speaking, wedding invites are sent off around 6 to 8 weeks prior to your wedding date. After sending your ‘Save The Date’ cards earlier, your guests be aware of your upcoming wedding, now the invitations will make everything official!

Work With Vendors To Finalise Wedding Reception/Ceremony:

Now that you’re on the home stretch, it’s all about finalising the last minute details and making sure everything is in place to run smoothly on your wedding day. You’ll need to speak with all of your wedding vendors and ensure that they’re on plan and ready to roll ahead with the ceremony/reception!

Also, don’t forget the marriage license! This is something that can be super obvious but also easy to forget with all of the wedding rush planning and stress.

Final Step: Get Married!

The time has come to enjoy your day, so go enjoy it! You will have spent a ton of time planning, executing, prepping and stressing all factors of this day, so don’t spend the day itself elsewhere: live in the moment, be present and enjoy one of the best days of your life! 

Optional Extras

There are a few possible optional things you can add in for your overall wedding planning, although these may not apply to all brides.

Wedding Registry: If you plan on setting up a wedding registry, or even a wedding related website for all your guests, it’s probably a good idea to start this quite early on in the process. We’d definitely suggest creating this prior to your wedding invites at least, so that you can add the website in with your invites. When it comes to setting up a wedding website or registry, there are a ton of tools you can find online, as well as many easy to use website builders like Wix or Squarespace that are rather easy to use for those that aren’t as technologically advanced like me!

Events Prior To Wedding: If you’ll be having things like a bridal shower, bachelor/bachelorette parties, engagement party or anything similar, when you plan to do this will be totally up to each individual bride & groom.

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