If you got an engagement ring over the holidays, you’re probably eager to start planning the wedding of your dreams. But where do you begin? There’s so much that goes into planning such a large event. Here are the first five things to consider when planning your wedding.
1. Pick a date
This is really the first thing you need to get done. You won’t be able to book your DJ or your caterer if you don’t have a date. Get together with your fiancé and both of your families to discuss when the big day will be. Ultimately it’s up to you two to decide, but you don’t want to set your wedding date to be while your parents are on their cruise.
While debating when to tie the knot, consider what kind of wedding you want and what type of weather will accommodate that. If you want an outdoor wedding, keep in mind that guests might get really hot in the middle of August. Remind yourself that just because you want a winter wedding, that doesn’t mean there will be snow on the ground in January. Be sure to choose one backup date in case you fall in love with a venue and there isn’t any availability.
2. Set a budget
Deciding how much you’re going to spend on your big day early on is very important. Once you set your budget, work out how that money is going to be spent. How much will you spend on food, flowers, music and your dress? There are many resources out there that help break down the average percentage of the budget each category usually takes up. Setting a budget will help you maintain realistic expectations as you plan your wedding.
3. Estimate your guest list
Based on your budget, how many people can you accommodate? If you want a 400-person wedding, be prepared to spend a little more on food and table centerpieces. Put together a rough draft of your guest list – adding everyone you might want at your wedding. Then go through and refine it, narrowing it down to a practical number.
4. Check out venues
Once you have your date, your budget, and a ballpark headcount, you can start looking for a place to make it all happen. Check out churches and banquet halls in your area. When you find one that meets your tastes and your budget, call them to see if they have availability for your date. If they do, make an appointment to go visit. There’s a chance that your space might limit your guest list, so be open to making adjustments. When you find the perfect place, you’ll probably have to put a deposit down – but everything starts to fall into place after that.
5. Choose your bridal party
No need to plan everything by yourself. After you have some details nailed down, call up your closest friends and invite them to be in your wedding party. Get a group of people that will support you through every detail. Planning will be so much easier with a helpful group of friends that are eager to make your day perfect.
After you get the big stuff out of the way, you can start planning the smaller details, like color pallets, centerpieces, table linens and invitations. Be sure to use the resources around you to aid your planning. Try not to get stressed out and overwhelmed; just take it one step at a time. Happy planning!