Updated: Feb 1, 2022
So, he finally put a ring on it and now you are trying to figure out how to tackle wedding planning. After the excitement of getting engaged, wedding planning can loom over you. If you aren't a type A, Leslie Knope kind of girl who color codes their binders, you are in the right place. Today I am covering the wedding planning countdown. No matter the length of your engagement you this list will help cover the basics of planning from start to finish.
Here is how to plan your wedding in six "easy" steps! First: Create a list of your priorities.
What do you value the most? Do you want images that capture your day perfectly? Do you want to have the best reception ever for your guests? Are you a foodie who must have the best cuisine? Do you want a grandiose venue that will blow your guests away?
Once you pinpoint your priorities, you will be able to better identify where you want to spend your budget.
Second: Choose your vendors.
Create list of vendors you need to hire (or just copy mine)
Planner/Day of Coordinator
Hair & Makeup
DJ or Band
Event Rentals (Decor)
Bridal Party Attire
Accessories (Shoes, Jewelry, Ties)
Trust me, it is SO satisfying to check things off. Even if you just need to add something simple, like researching vendors, so you can check something off, do it. I find that the simple action of seeing something completed, no matter how small, motivates me.
I would recommend nailing down your venue within the first few weeks of engagement. The reason for this is that wedding venues (and most wedding vendors at that) are slammed. Did you know that 2022 is supposed to have the most weddings since 1984?! That isn't to scare you, but hopefully it pushes you to email that vendor that you have been waiting to book! The only reason I would recommend doing this second is if there is another vendor you want more than having free range for venues. For example, if there is a photographer you can't live without, check what dates they have available BEFORE setting a date. After choosing a date, this will set you up for success in finding vendors. Third: Create a timeline.
Depending on time of year (sunset), priorities, and your personality, your wedding timeline will differ a little bit! However, having a wedding timeline for the day is extremely important. It creates structure for your wedding day and gives you and your vendors peace of mind knowing when they need to arrive and how much time is allotted for each part of your day. Pro Tip: Ask your photographer or wedding planner to help you create one if you are stuck! Start with ceremony time and work your way from there going backwards to your getting ready time and after the ceremony to determine reception time. For a general photography timeline, photographers tend to stay between 6-8 hours. 8 hours is the sweet spot, I find that 6 can cause stress, and 10 is almost too much. Fourth: Figure out décor and little details.
This is where you consult Pinterest. Now something to be aware of when looking at Pinterest is the a majority of the images you are seeing come from styled shoots. These photoshoots are intended to create an ideal wedding set-up. A lot of the set-ups you see are not going to be feasible on every budget. Don't let this discourage you though have some friends help you figure out a way to create something similar. Also, consider little details for your day:
Perfume, shoes, jewelry
Exit (Sparklers, Getaway Car, etc.)
Order Invites (send out ~3 months in advance)
Save the dates (send out anywhere from 6 months-1 year in advance)
Wedding Night Hotel
There is a period in wedding planning where you have all of your vendors, the details are pretty much all together, and you really just need to rest before the crazy begins. You have spent so much time figuring out who is going to be a part of your wedding day, trust that they are going to take great care of you! Sixth: Crunch Time.
Crunch time occurs about 1 month out from your wedding. This is the most stressful part of wedding planning in my opinion as you are finalizing all of the details. You making sure all the vendors are paid, creating a seating chart, gathering last minute decorations, securing your marriage license, consulting with vendors about your timeline, and more. My best recommendation for this month before the wedding is:
1. Don't sweat the little things--those pink cups you wanted of every table may not be available anymore, and guess what? That's ok! The guests are going to enjoy their drinks just as much in clear glasses.
2. Prioritize date night with your love. Wedding planning can be consuming, so go on a date with your fiancé and do not mention anything wedding related. Just enjoy each other's presence.
The Wedding Day:
This is the day you've been planning for what has felt like ages. The best advice I can give is to let all of the little things go and move through the day with gratitude in your heart. Chances are you have invited family and friends from all over and they are here to cheer you and your lover on! How incredible is that?!
I took the morning of my wedding to go on a morning walk alone, journal, and pray/give thanks to God for where He had placed me. I highly recommend taking a moment to yourself in the morning to reflect on your relationship, and how beautiful the gift of marriage is. You will start the day with a mindset of thankfulness and the problems that arise that day will seem insignificant.
That is all, my friends! I hope that this blog helps calm your nerves when it comes to wedding planning. Just take things one step at a time, one day at a time, and it will all work out. Keep in mind that huge wedding days and the stress of planning isn't for everyone. If you find planning a large wedding overwhelming, then consider a more intimate wedding or an elopement! Whatever you end up doing, stay true to who you guys are as a couple and it will all work out.