Post # 1
A lot of women seem to say they’ve always know how they wanted their wedding to be… and I’m over here having kind of never thought I’d actually want to get married. I feel like I need remedial girliness lessons or something!
Luckily, my mom re-married two years ago and I adored her wedding and plan to rip off from it shamelessly, and she’s excited to help me do so. But at the moment, Fiance and I have only the vaguest of ideas. He was married once before, but really wasn’t at all involved in any planning, so he really doesn’t know anything much more than I do. I’ve been looking for venues in our area, trying to get a sense of what kind of dress I might want, looking at catering options, and I just did a first run at a guest list just to reassure myself that it wasn’t going to START crazy-huge (it isn’t, under 90 including a lot of people who I’m sure won’t come and some I’m not sure we’ll want to invite). We’ve got approximately a year and a half, so I don’t feel too pressed for time– yet.
So, seriously: how did you start planning? Do you think that was a good place to start or do you wish you’d started with something different?
(And do let me know if there’s an old thread like this that I couldn’t find!)
Post # 3
I found the venue first. Then the dress and everything else just kind of happened. The knot checklist helped too.
Oh yeah…define your budget as well.
Post # 4
Like you, we began with a basic guest list, which helps determine the size venue needed. One of the other first things (and I admit I started thinking about this before getting engaged) was considering the time of year we wanted to get married and what colors we would use, which can help you get started on a theme. With a year and a half, you have plenty of time to figure out what you want.
Post # 5
1) Guest List– (Avoid talking about your wedding to anyone that you aren’t ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN you’ll invite, otherwise your list will creep up…)
2) Priorities/wedding vision- Decide what is most important to you… food? dancing? the drinks? entertainment? And prioritze them. What do you want it to look like? Rustic? Elegant? Histoic?
3) Budget- Since your mom just got married, you should have a basic idea of how much things cost. Spend less on the things you don’t care about (for me, those would be centerpieces, linens, and favors) and spend more of the things you really want (for me, ease of access for guests who are mostly from out of town)
4) Start looking at venues. You may find that many of them won’t fit your budget. I had a choice of three in all of San Francisco after accounting for priorities and budget.
5) SET A DATE BASED ON WHEN YOUR VENUE/CATERER/PHOTOGRAPHER (or whatever your priority is) is available. But don’t forget to factor in date conflicts of immediate family members and wedding party.
Post # 6
We started with an idea of what we wanted to spend and how many we would invite. Those two things dictated everything else, really. Reception venue was the first big thing (which accomodated the first two things) and then photographer, since the one we wanted booked up wayyy early.
Post # 7
Absolutely, good points. I’ve defined a potential working budget, but won’t pin it down for a bit as it’s going to be a group effort. And luckily, I do have a few friendors– a friend volunteered to laptop-DJ, my sister has serious baking experience and will probably make us an amazing cake like she did for my mom, and I’m hoping a family friend who does professional photography on the side will fit into our budget.
We’re sort of thinking about fall, but that’s not set in stone. The two main factors are that I graduate from grad school next May, so I want a little time after that, and my sister lives in Germany so I need to confer with her about when she would like to visit as she often combines family visits and her work.
Priorities are definitely key.
Post # 8
@TankGirl: You are off to an excellent start 🙂 You have lots of time to plan, so it’s good to skim magazines and the internet and WB for inspiration. Start saving things you ‘like’…flowers, dresses, decor, invites…to get a sense of your wedding style. Then when you’re ready to book vendors, you can share these as the vision for your big day.
Post # 9
- Wedding: October 2011 - Tre Bella, Mesa, AZ
@sonj818: That’s actually pretty much what we did without even meaning to. We started with a REALLY rough guest list/count, budget, then I decided what I didn’t want in terms of looks and theme. I looked at a ton of venues online and pricing, and narrowed down what we would visit. From there, it all sort of fell into place. Our venue does packages so there is a lot we don’t have to cover, but we picked the date based on our Wedding Party and photographer’s (friend of family) availability. I got the dress somewhere in there and decided on Bridesmaid or Best Man dresses. 🙂
Post # 10
I agree with everyone above! Get yourself a copy of the Knot or Martha Weddings which has a time line in it. Def decide season(spring, summer, winter, fall), general location where you want to get married(i.e. suburbs of Baltimore, downtown Indianapolis), how many guests you will be inviting(rough estimate like under 100 or 150-200). Browse some wedding books and magazines(go to your public library where they have all that for free!) to get an idea of the vibe you want for your party. And the first thing you should book is your venue, followed by your photographer. We had to book our site 14 months in advance due to the area we live in. That was the first goal I set for myself(our engagement is 19 months) was booking the venue and just by looking at venues I figured out my wedding style. Good luck and enjoy this time! Planning is fun!
Post # 11
My list looks like a lot of other people’s:
Proposed guest list
After that, I looked at venues and decided on one. Once I got those down, I decided if I wanted a decorating scheme or not (I already knew I didn’t want a full theme, just something to base the decor on). Once I decided that, things started falling into place.
Post # 12
I agree with a lot of people. Decide on a basic season that you might like your wedding to be in (or a specific date if you have your heart set on something). Then think about a rough guest list and budget, and that will let you know which venues are even options.
From there think about the feel you want your wedding to have.
Think about places with good bones. They’re worth their weight in gold for the amount of decorating you won’t have to do.
Post # 13
We started with the time of year we wanted to get married. Like you, I’m not super girly either so we’ve been blindly feeling our way forward. 🙂 After deciding when, we found the where, how much, and how many. Lots of revisions have been made along the way.
Post # 14
@jo.lee and @SapphireSun: Yeah, I can’t say I’m all that excited about working out decorations to make a place look a certain way that it doesn’t already… but it’s still a good idea to come up with a general notion to focus on. I’m sort of hoping for a place with a nice outdoor area for a ceremony that wouldn’t need much added to it, and an indoor area for a reception.
Everyone else: I am so feeling the love right now, thank you for all the feedback. Occasionally I think “Why am I on WeddingBee at all, it just makes me obsess about things I don’t even care about!” and then I remember… it’s all of you and your lovely calming influences when I have a freakout, and getting to see how other people have figured it out so we don’t have to each re-invent the wheel. So cool.
Post # 15
I am the spreadsheet queen. I currently have one that has a bunch of ideas on it for venues and a notes column.
I also have a working guest list brainstorm spreadsheet.
I’m not really going to be officially planning until late summer (Making final decisions) but I am trying to be as organized as possible to make it easier on myself!
Post # 16
I had no idea where to start – I have very very specific tastes but had NO idea how I wanted to incorporate them into a wedding. So I just blindly stumbled into a huuuuuuuge bridal show in January here in Knoxville and just let everyone talk at me, pitch to me, show me pictures, give me brochures, etc etc.
From there I went home, layed everything out on the bed, put things into a “no” pile, a “maybe” pile, an “i love this” pile, an “i love this but it’s too expensive” pile, etc etc and put everything into a binder and went from there.
I have been going to as many bridal shows as I can and I do the same thing after every one.
Slowly but surely, the perfect venues/colors/dresses/cakes/music/decor etc etc has all come ot the surface through my slow sifting after every show. I have also learned what is most important to me by my gut reactions after every show. Like… Videography? No way. Flowers? Meh, they’re pretty, but whatever. Venue? OMG SO IMPORTANT. Bridesmaids gifts? VITAL. So on and so forth. Then I take those gut feelings and act on them one at a time.
Have fun!! Fiance and I decided that the minute wedding planning stops being fun is the minute we go to the Sweetheart Chapel and get it over with and say, screw the party. But it’s still fun so we’re still planning 🙂