Your prince charming has asked you for your hand in marriage! Now that the easy part is out of the way, it is time to plan for the big day. Planning a wedding is a really long process and will require a lot of planning and a lot of patience. There are so many different ideas around the web that it is easy to get overwhelmed. But rest assured that this wedding checklist will give you all the planning tips that you will need to have a successful wedding.
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1. Start a wedding binder
Read through wedding magazines and articles for inspiration. Your wedding binder should be organized in categories that fit your needs. For example, your guest table inspiration should be located in the same section with images and price points. It is important to keep track of the ideas that inspire you, but it is even more important to keep track of the cost. If you are actively searching for something and you come across a sale, you should right it down with the web address and amount for future reference. When you are ready to purchase the item, you will know that you found the best price and the website you found it on.
2. Work out your budget
Determine you’re out of pocket cost and be sure to leave yourself a room in the budget for last minute needs.
The most common mistake is under estimating the overall cost. When you set your budget, budget an extra 20% for items you may need the day of. Focus on the small details of your budget early on.
3. Pick your wedding party
Choose your wedding party early. If you choose your wedding party early, your wedding party will have time to adjust their schedules for the events that lead up to the wedding day. Once you’ve chosen your wedding party, it is a good idea to start planning bridal party gifts.
4. Start your guest list
The earlier you start your guest list, the easier your overall planning will be. When you know the number of guests that you will invite, you will have a better idea of the amount of money and resources you will need to entertain your guests. Don’t go over board when inviting guests. A lot of money and time will go into planning your wedding. Invite people who are worth enjoying the time and effort that goes into planning your big day.
5. Reserve your wedding date and venues
Once your wedding venue is secured, planning your wedding will feel a bit easier. Venue selection should be completed as soon as possible. Once the venue is secured, you should go back to your budget and rework anything that may not fit or should be added. This is a very important step to move on to the next phases of planning. When you visit the venues, make sure that you can visualize your setup. Your reception setup is important to map out as soon as possible. Whatever you want in your setup, have an idea of where it will go, how much space it will use and what will be needed to make it stand out.
6. Book the officiant
A lot of people wait until a few months before the wedding to secure their officiant, but, the officiant should be booked early on. If you decide o book your officiant later on in your planning, make sure that you have another option. Wedding season is from early March until late August. Officiants are usually booked ahead of time because there aren’t many great ones available. Do not take this step lightly.
7. Research entertainment
Decide how you will entertain your guests. Most weddings have bands or a deejay to entertain their guests. You also have the option to hire performers. This step depends on the vibe that you want to have. If you are planning a reception only, a deejay would be perfect. But if you want real entertainment you may want to look into a performance of some sort.
8. Plan an engagement party
Not everyone will have an engagement party. It totally depends on you. An engagement party is a celebration for the bride and groom to be on their upcoming nuptials. The engagement party can be a huge celebration or it can be small like a dinner or outing with friends. It really does depend on your personal style.
9. Pick your photographer or videographer
Decide early on who will be your photographer. Most photographers have a package deal that will come with wedding day video and photographs. But if you are lucky the photographer may be able to shoot your engagement photos as well. The goal is to save in most areas of the wedding. Do not try to save money when choosing your photographer! Think about the fact that these pictures will be forever and you want to make sure that they are perfect.
10. Choose your food
If your venue doesn’t have a food option, you may want to figure out what you want to serve early on. Brides have the option to ask guests for their food choice. In your invitation set, there should be an option to choose their meats. If you plan to add the option, decide who will cater early on.
11. Choose your dress
Look through magazines, search online or in stores for dress inspiration. It is important to go into the dress shop with an idea of the type of dress you are looking for. If you don’t have an idea of the dress that you want the chances of finding your dress during your appointment will be stressful. Dress shopping should be a fun experience, don’t ruin it by going in blind.
12. Launch a wedding website
Your website is another thing that is fun, yet still important for your big day. Once you announce your engagement, a wedding website is the best way to keep your family and friends in the loop. It is also easier to make announcements, stay organized and get input for your big day. Seriously consider wedding websites, but only if you will be able to put in the work to run it.
Register for your wedding day and bridal shower as soon as possible. If you are like me, there are things that pop into your mind that you may need at random times of the day. It was easier for me to add things to my registry as they popped into my mind because I registered for everything early on. As I cooked dinner I would see things that I needed to buy and instead of purchasing it, I added to my registry and placed the money that I would have spent on the item in my honeymoon jar. I actually had an extra $500 to spend during our honeymoon from this hack.
14. Invitation selection
There are so many invitations around the web that I actually got overwhelmed. You will find options to purchase invitation bundles and you can find templates for invitations that you can make yourself. This step is totally up to you of course, but understand that they both have pros and cons.
15. Save the date cards
Save the date cards are not necessary for all weddings, but they are essential to save the date weddings. If you are planning to send save the date invitations make sure that you send them to your guests at least six months in advance.
Check out my wedding binder printable bundle at the end of this post!
16. Booking your rehearsal dinner and venue
If your wedding venue does not have an option for a rehearsal dinner, plan a rehearsal dinner that is intimate and purposeful. Go over the day of details and make sure that everyone’s day of needs is met.
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