Getting engaged and working through the wedding process is an exciting experience that will create memories that can last a lifetime. Every wedding planning process has a hitch or two, but saving yourself from unnecessary stress is key. The best way to save yourself from stress is to get organized right away! Breaking the process down into bite-sized pieces will help you focus on what is most important each step of the way.
Let’s focus on 12 months prior to the wedding. You are one year away from saying, “I do!” to your soon-to-be spouse. Here are the first 7 steps to get the process going.
Start a wedding folder or binder.
As soon as you get engaged everyone will ask a million questions about wedding colors, venue, wedding size, season, how you are going to wear your hair…it can get overwhelming! Before you start planning anything definite, take some time to look at what other people have done to get inspired. Pick up some wedding magazines and see what stands out to you. Go online and check out photos from other weddings, or go on Pinterest and find those DIY projects that everyone is talking about. Remember that your wedding day is for you and your soon-to-be spouse! Choose details that reflect who you are and that will make your day special and include them in folder or binder specifically for your wedding. These are things you can refer to later that will help you continue planning.
Pick a date and time.
Once you set a date things can really start progressing! Now that you have been inspired, pick the season that most appeals to you for your wedding day. Keep in mind, venues will often offer discounted rates if you get married outside of their typical wedding season. However, if you want a summer wedding don’t let that stop you! There are plenty of places in your budget where you can move funds around. Now that you have a season in mind, choose an exact date. Select a few options, then check with important guests and the officiant, and potential venues before you finalize.
Work out a budget.
Decide how much you want to spend in total on your wedding. If there is money coming from other sources like your parents or a close family member, keep that in mind when creating a final number. You can create a day to remember on any budget, you just have to prioritize what are the most important details and work down the list from there.
Pick your wedding party.
At this point you have probably already been asked by at least one person who is in the wedding party. Choosing who will stand beside you on your big day is important for a couple of reasons. They will not only be there to support you on that day, but they are often also involved in the planning process and help relieve some of the wedding stress. Let them know so they can join in the excitement! It will also give them time to make sure they can take time off of work and make travel arrangements.
Start a guest list.
Start with the people who are closest to you and work from there. Also, if you have already chosen a venue make sure you know exactly how many people can be seated in that space. Remember that budget you created a couple steps before this? Don’t forget about that when creating your guest list either. Food is another expense that directly relates to your guest list!
It is often helpful to create a spreadsheet with the name of each guest, contact info, an RSVP column, and even a gift column to keep track of information relating to the guests. By starting this right away you can keep track of all of the details in one place. This will save you lots of time and keep you organized as RSVP’s come in and after the wedding when you are writing out thank you cards.
Assemble a “planning team.”
Who will be helping you plan your big day? Consider hiring a wedding planner. They have experience with weddings and can give you tips and tricks along the way. If that isn’t in the budget, talk to your family, wedding party, or close friends. Often times people will offer to help out with different details to take some of the stress off of you. You don’t want to be running the show on the big day, you just need to enjoy it! Having someone work side-by-side with you through the planning process will ensure someone else knows what should be happening when the wedding day comes.
Optional: Have an engagement party.
Celebrate! Having an engagement party gives you a chance to tell everyone the engagement story at once and lets them share in the joy of your engagement. Just remember that anyone invited to the engagement party should also be on the wedding guest list.
Congratulations on your recent engagement! Keep an eye out for the next wedding planning steps from Waterfront. Check out the Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist for a complete list of how to plan your wedding!