Shrieking “Yes, I’ll marry you” is probably one of the most memorable moments of your life. Committing to the man of your dreams is a fantastic feeling which you should cherish forever. However, it won’t take long before reality takes over. Getting married means you need to start planning a wedding. As soon as you start thinking about what planning a wedding really involves you’ll realize why you need help organizing everything. Fortunately, this guide is here to help you through every step of your journey, discovering how to plan a wedding can actually be fun. This is especially true if you get your girl pals to help.
Let’s take a look at what steps you’re going to have to take between now and your wedding day:
Tips For How To Plan A Wedding
1. Budget Time
This is potentially the most boring and yet essential part of your wedding planning. You need to sit down with your fiancée and work out what funds you have available to spend.
Although it can be tempting to go to town on your wedding day, this is the start of your new life together. But, you need a balance between your perfect wedding day and whether you want to start your married life with a loan.
Don’t forget, it is possible to create a fantastic wedding day on a budget, here are our tips and tricks for keeping the wedding costs down.
2. Your Venue
Just because your parents got married in the village church doesn’t mean you have to follow suit. There are hundreds of potential venues for your wedding, ranging from the traditional church to a local park, or even a museum.
In fact, many couples are choosing to have a wedding abroad and just enjoy the wedding party with their family and friends. This isn’t just a cheaper option, it’s a lot less stressful.
The aim at this stage is to decide where you would like to get married and roughly when. You can then contact the respective wedding venues to check availability. The most popular places will be booked up for months or even years in advance. If you’re serious about your wedding then you should choose an approximate date and book the venue as close to this date as feasible.
It doesn’t matter if this date is 2 or 3 years in the future.
This stage is also when you need to consider whether you’re having a separate venue for the wedding ceremony and the reception. There is no right or wrong approach to this decision, it’s entirely up to your own preference. More about wedding venue choices and average prices here.
3. Think About Who’s Coming
It may seem very early to work out your guest list but the number of people at your wedding is instrumental to all other aspects of your planning. This number doesn’t have to be exact but it will allow you to decide whether you’re looking at catering for 20 or 200; there’s a big difference!
You need to know the numbers you want to both parts of your wedding day in order to ensure the venues can handle the capacity. The alternative is to limit your list to the size of your desired venue, although this may be the more difficult approach. Check out this guide on making this wedding guest list and find there an interactive game to decide whom you should invite to your wedding.
4. Save The Day!
With your date and venue set, you can send out save the day letters. This is also why it’s a good idea to have the wedding guest list sorted in principle.
Save the day is not the same as a formal wedding invitation but it does alert your family and friends to the fact that they need to keep this day free!
5. Consider Fitness
Many brides want to look their very best for their wedding day, you may even have set yourself a target weight.
If this is the case then you need to start planning your fitness as early as possible. The average person can change their lifestyle habits and lose 2-3 pounds a week. This is seen as a healthy approach to weight loss and sustainable.
You’re going to need to look at changing your eating habits and including some extra exercise. But, you should not feel this is compulsory!
Your partner is marrying you because they love you as you are. If you want to lose weight as part of your wedding day preparations then you should do it for yourself.
Don’t forget, your partner may also want to improve their fitness/lose weight. Check with them before you start planning your new healthier lifestyle if they join you it will be much easier for you both to succeed.
6. It’s Your Honeymoon!
The honeymoon has the potential to be the most romantic vacation you ever take. But, it can also add considerable expense to the cost of your wedding. This is why it’s important to consider your honeymoon early in the planning process.
The earlier it is thought about the easier it will be to pay monthly for the vacation without damaging your wedding funds.
Again, your honeymoon should be a place that both of you want to go and it doesn’t have to be the beach, hiking up Everest can be a great honeymoon if you’re both into it!
7. Catering Team
You know need to consider your catering needs. A traditional wedding will have a wedding breakfast which is a sit-down meal for your special guests. It will then have a buffet in the evening for all the guests.
Depending on the number of people you wish to invite this can be a considerable amount of food! The exact decision you make will depend on the number of wedding guests, the venues you have chosen, the time of your wedding, and your preferred format for the day.
It’s possible that your chosen wedding venue will have its own catering team to assist you. If this is the case you’ll simply need to see the menu options and perhaps taste a few dishes to ensure you’re happy with the quality.
However, if they don’t have in-house catering you’ll need to contact some independent firms and work out which offers the best food at the right price for your wedding guests. This can take a considerable amount of time if you want to ensure high-quality food.
This is also a good opportunity to discuss your cake with a local wedding specialist or even your regular bakery. If you don’t already have any design ideas they should be able to give you some.
Again, testing before your wedding should be an essential part of your planning process.
Browse our catering suppliers and our event concierges will help you to find the matching one.
8. Find The Dress
With the basic elements taking shape you need to think about your wedding dress. This is another thing which is intensely personal. You’ll probably want to take some support along to your wedding dress appointment.
However, it is advisable to limit your helpers to just one or two. You need to value their opinions and not have half a dozen girls arguing with each other. Of course, the bottom line remains the same, this is your special day and you should choose the wedding dress that you like the most.
You may also want to consider bridesmaids for your wedding and what dresses they may need. Although, if you prefer you can leave this part until closer to your wedding day.
If you need some inspiration – check out these wedding dress trends for 2019.
9. Table plan
The next step in how to plan a wedding is to look at the space within your venue and work out how many tables you can fit in. The venue will probably suggest a layout but you can choose anything you want.
With a good idea of how many wedding guests there will be you can calculate the number of tables you need and how many will have to sit at each table. To complete this step of your wedding planning you’re going to have to work out who is sitting at each table; that’s a real challenge!
Wedding tables are usually arranged to ensure half the people know each other and half don’t. This encourages people to mingle, but, it will also be necessary to think about people who don’t get along. This is your wedding day and you don’t want them making a scene!
In reality, this can often mean you create and re-create the table plan numerous times until you get the right balance.
More tips on the wedding seating plan here.
10. Flowers Smell Great!
Traditionally the bride has a wedding bouquet to carry. You’ll also want flowers in the church or your chosen wedding venue, and potentially your reception venue. The flowers will arrive at the venues on the morning of your wedding but you need to start planning for them at least 3 months in advance.
When considering your flowers you’ll find this is a good time to consider your theme. Wedding themes can simply be the main color and a couple of ancillary colors. But, you can also adopt a theme that suits you and your partner. It could be something you’re both passionate about, such as Game of Thrones or Harry Potter, or you may want to turn your wedding into a costume party.
11. Look For The Perfect Snap
The wedding photographer is still an important part of the modern wedding. They are the person that will capture the professional shots which you can frame and hang proudly in your house forever.
As part of the planning process, you’ll need to review the local wedding photographers, check their work, and even speak to previous customers. Your wedding day is too important to get the photos wrong!
Once you’ve selected the right wedding photography get them booked in, you don’t want to find they’re not available for your special day.
It is worth noting when planning a wedding that modern digital cameras can be a real benefit. Polaroid cameras can be used to create a guest book and social media sites can be used to create a wedding page where your friends can upload the photos they have taken on the day.
This will give you a fantastic overview of your wedding and the people who attended, even if you can’t see everything going on through the day.
12. Music Mastery
You’re probably going to want some music at your wedding reception, this should be your next step in how to plan a wedding.
The main aim of the music is to add entertainment to the evening wedding festivities. If you get the planning right you’ll even encourage people to get on the dance floor and really enjoy the experience.
This is your wedding day but the tradition is for you to have the first wedding dance. You’ll need to start planning what song you want to dance to and whether you’re going to learn any special dance moves.
If your wedding is being split between a wedding ceremony in one venue and the wedding reception at a different venue then you’re going to need to consider the transport arrangements between the two places.
The bride and groom usually take a special car, and you’ll want to arrive at your wedding in that special car as well.
As part of your planning process, you’ll need to decide which vehicle you want to arrive in and go between wedding venues. However, you also need to consider the distances and types of road involved. A horse and carriage is a fantastic way to arrive at your wedding but not a great option if it will take you 2 hours to get from the wedding ceremony to the reception!
14. Invite Your Guests
You’re doing really well with the planning and the wedding is likely to be just 2-3 months away at this stage. This means you need to invite your wedding guests.
Between 2-3 months is about the right time to confirm your save the day notices. Those invited have enough time to make arrangements to ensure they can celebrate your wedding with you, but not enough tie that they’ll forget about it.
The invitations are actually an important part of how to plan your wedding, they set the tone as well as give your wedding guests all the information they need.
It is advisable to include an RSVP and a date to reply by, this will give you the tie you need to advise the wedding caterers and anyone else who needs to know exact numbers. You may need to revisit your wedding table plan as well!
15. Sort Your Hair
If you haven’t already thought about your wedding hairstyle then now is definitely the time to start planning it. You need to be certain that it goes with your wedding dress, the theme, and your personality.
It’s a good idea to use a hair stylist that you’ve used at least 3 times before. Listen to their advice and make sure you test the wedding hairstyle before your big day, it’s too important to get wrong.
16. Verify The Details
Congratulations, you’re approaching your wedding day and your planning is paying off, in theory.
This stage of how to plan a wedding involves contacting all the parties involved in your wedding day and verifying the plans, dates, times, and any other relevant wedding details.
It’s unlikely that your planning will suffer any setbacks at this stage but it is good to check, while you have time to make alternative arrangements/
17. Take Time Out
You can never truly relax when planning a wedding. But, with everything organized you do should have a little time to relax and actually enjoy the idea of getting married!
In fact, taking time away from organizing your wedding is an important way to stop yourself from getting too stressed.
The Bottom Line
Your wedding day is a very important moment in your life, you want it to go perfectly. But, no matter how well you’ve followed the guide for how to plan a wedding there remains the potential for things to go wrong.
Many of the items that can go wrong on or just before your wedding day are beyond your control. This is when you need to remember that learning how to plan a wedding is not just about booking all the right venues. It’s also about remembering that your wedding is the union of you and the one you love.
If a few things go wrong on your wedding day then don’t worry, enjoy the moment with your partner and laugh about the mishaps in the future.
Also, download our free printable wedding checklist to ease your planning process.