Post # 1
I just got engaged a week ago. I’m kinda of lost on how to start wedding planning. I want to take it easy at first and just enjoy being engaged, and then gradually start figuring out the details. Can you ladies give me advise on how to start? Is there a certain order of things which need to be determined first that depend on other thing’s timing? I assume finding a venue is first to figure out which dates are available, right? What’s after that? How long do most weddings take to plan? Is there anything you wish you had known from the beginning that would have made your experience easier? I am a bit overwhelmed with all of these questions, lol! Thanks, bees, I really appreciate any advice that would make my planning go smoothly, and hopefully stress free!
Post # 3
Congratulations on your engagement 🙂
Setting a budget should be the first thing you do. Then, like you stated, the venue. The venue will set the theme for your wedding, so you can get your gown. I strongly suggest that you make a list and/or lists of everything you want for your wedding. I have a vendor list and a DIY list. Keep them updated. WeddingChannel.com has an awesome budget planner that you can modify to suit you best. I use it constantly. It is best to keep your budget updated every time you spend for your wedding and hire a vendor. WeddingChannel.com is also a great resource for planning tools.
Post # 4
@beebeebuzzbuzz: Yep, I agree that finding the venue is first. The venue and date set the general tone for your wedding. For us, next up was photography, catering, and officiant. Then flowers, and details/crafts. Hope that helps! 🙂
Post # 5
I looked at venues before we set a budget BAD IDEA. Start by thinking about what size/style/season you want you wedding to be. Next I’d do budget/guest list as those are probably the most stressful things to figure out. Once you know what you have to spend and what look you’re going for I’d go scouting venues.
My advice? I always sleep on every decision. I loved my dress, I went home and thought about it without family/friends commenting. Venue we waited a few days to sign a contract. People around me always encouraged me to make a decision right away but I prefer to think about whether anything was really what I wanted and whether it was worth the expense.
Im going to be engaged for 17 months, partially because I didnt start planning until 13 months out. You can definitely plan a wedding in less time, but it was nice having my pick of vendors.
Post # 6
Congrats 🙂 The first things we started with were our guest list and our budget, since those two items determine everything else. If you want to invite 30481 people and have a $1000 budget, that’s obviously going to limit your choice of venues (and guarantee that you’ll be feeding your guests very small bags of peanuts). Once you know roughly how many people you’re going to invite and how much money you can spend, start looking for a venue. A lot of venues will have exclusive vendors – make sure you like the vendors before you sign a contract with the venue. Once you know the where and when, you can start looking for other vendors – caterer (if not included with the venue), photographer, florist, and DJ/band are the biggies.
Our wedding took about a year to plan, but it was a hurry up and wait process. We booked a bunch of vendors right away, and then I just sort of hung around wedding boards, gathering inspiration. And then, in the final couple of months, there was another huge push to get stuff done. Things I wished I had known before I started: (1) Think very carefully about your guest list prior to sending save-the-dates. Once they are sent, you have to send that person an invitation. (2) Don’t choose your wedding party too early. Friendships change, and unasking someone is way harder than just not asking in the first place. (3) Don’t register too early. Items get discontinued, and if you register too early, you’ll just end up having to choose things all over again.
Most importantly – don’t let planning your wedding take the place of establishing a foundation for your marriage. The wedding is one day, and hopefully it will be absolutely marvelous. But your marriage is for the rest of your life, and its quality will not be dictated by [insert wedding-planning problem here].
Post # 7
As all the PP’s have said, budget and guest list are the first place to start. What worked for us, is we had ourselves and our parents (who were contributing 1/3 of the budget each) make their dream guest list. Luckily for us, that list was doable, but if not look at your budget, and the type of wedding you’ll want, and you may have to slash from there.
This is just my opinion, but if your parents are planning to contribute money, but aren’t intending to pay for everything, see if you can try to get them to contribute a lump sum. We did this with our parents, and then you KNOW what your budget is, and you can allocate as you wish. As opposed to them saying they’ll pay for flowers for example, and then having to feel guilty that you want something expensive.
Post # 8
Went I first got engaged I went to The Knot and they have a checklist that was helpful in getting started. However, don’t let their timeline freak you out – I planned our wedding in five months and I was fine. There are also tons of books and resources on-line and in bookstores that can help you get organized.
Also, pick up the book “How To Plan A Surprisingly Dignified Wedding” by Judith Martin. Its a great resource and it gives a lot of great advice regarding wedding etiquette. It will help you steer clear of some of the wedding industry pitfalls.
Post # 9
First: Set a budget. Really. It determines every single thing after it, and if you know you only have xyz for a venue, you’re not going to look at (or fall in love with) venues that cost abc. Also, talk to your parents and see if they can possibly contribute anything, and if so, what it is.
Then, draw up a preliminary guest list, just so you know a rough number in order to find a venue space that will fit all of your guests.
Then think of the time year you want it, the tone/formality, maybe even a basic theme or colour scheme and FINALLY, after all that, start calling venues.
A REALLY great resource is marthastewartweddings.com. So much better than theknot – their budet tool actually lets you move money around – say they give you 1000 for a venue and you only end up spending 800. It will let you take that 200 and put it somewhere else in your wedding like your dress. It’s the only one I’ve found that does that. Its awesome! I totally recommend.
Post # 10
Pick a date…my head was spinning prior to that, once we finally decided things started to fall into place, next step set a budget, then start looking at venues..once you have a few things booked you will feel alot better 🙂
Post # 11
I can’t believe I forgot the obvious, Budget is first! Like the PPs said, it will determine what kind of venue you can have. I also agree it’s best to hammer out the guest list early. You don’t want to be envisioning an intimate 60 person affair, when you future in laws plan to invite every member of the extended family and all of their work colleagues.
Post # 12
Yes! Set the budget, then find the venue. After that, comes booking all the vendors (photographer, caterer, etc). The dress should come after finding the venue.
I got this book as a present (The Knot’s List of Wedding Lists” and it contains a timeline and different lists of things for you to ask or do – It’s been the biggest help so far!
Post # 13
Thanks for the great tips, ladies! I can’t believe it didn’t occur to me that budget and guest list come first. Duh, lol! Those will be the hardest for me because I’m unemployed and we will be paying for everything ourselves. I refuse to take any money from my parents because the don’t have very much and I’d rather have them save for retirement. FI’s parents aren’t exactly rolling in dough either. But we’re thinking about having a super small wedding of at the most 20-30 people so that should help cut costs. Almost all of my family and friends live very far away and I’m really scared that they won’t make the effort to come 🙁 so that’s why I’m not planning on having a huge guest list.
I really like the tips on sleeping on every decision and not letting vendors take advantage of me or pressure us into anything. And all the resources you ladies suggested sound wonderful. I went to the bookstore today and bought Bridal Bargains – Secrets to throwing a fantastic wedding on a realistic budget and The Knot Book of Wedding Lists. Having all that info in one place seems like it will be very helpful and time saving.
Post # 14
As the other ladies stated, budget is a definite first, then guestlist. After you have those 2 things, prioritize what’s most important to you – the specific day you get married or a particular venue (for me the date was the most important since I wanted to accommodate my in-laws who were flying in from overseas).
A couple of tips:
- Don’t count people out because they are far away and you think they won’t come. We thought we would be lucky to just get my husbands immediate family (7 people) and ended up with 11 people coming to California from the Netherlands! And that was including 2 non-family members. People can surprise you sometimes. 🙂
- When you choose your vendors, meet with them first-hand especially the ones you will have to be in contact with a lot (like photographer, videographer, wedding planner, caterer – anyone who will be around a fair bit on your wedding day or prior). You want to make sure that you will mesh well with them personality-wise!
- Meet with more then one type of vendor and be open to possibilities that are different then you were thinking at first.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. In the grand scheme of things, many of the things that we as brides become obsessed with, aren’t even noticed by guests or at least wouldn’t have been noticed if they weren’t there.
- DIY isn’t always the cheapest course, price things out before-hand and then make a decision as to whether the time/cost (savings or hike) is worth it. Some of my DIY’s saved me a fair bit of money, some maybe cost me the same or more, but the ones I did, I did because I decided they were worth it, or I wanted that personalization.
- As some of the other ladies stated, don’t worry too much about the timeframes listed on this wedding site or any others. It’s a guideline but you *can* plan it in much less time. I planned mine in 6 months on a very tight budget.
- Start believing that something WILL go wrong and realize that when it does, that it’s not the end of the world. For me, the biggest thing that went wrong was that my hair/makeup artist (for me and my ladies) got the wrong date and was a no-show. We managed to find another place, and most people didn’t know that anything had even happened! Those that did, thought the new place did a better job all around. 🙂
- The most important thing is that at the end of the day, you’ll be married to your guy. Never lose sight of that. The day is just that – one day. The marriage is a lifetime!! Take time to spend with your Fiance that doesn’t involve wedding planning during this process.
Welcome and congrats by the way!!
Post # 15
First things we worked on were budget, preliminary guest list and acceptable dates. Then we booked our venue and chose the date based on what was available within our list of options. Now we’re looking into photographers (will most likely go with someone recommended by two of our friends) and I’ve decided I’ll probably have one of my co-workers do my flowers since she has a floral design business on the side and will give me a discount! I’ve also purchased my dress already (from J Crew online – I’m a pretty laidback bride) and shoes and some items for DIY reception decor.
Post # 16
For us, we started by setting our budget, and from there we tried figuring out dates.
Depending on how quickly you want to get married, the venue can affect the day as well. We picked a weekend we wanted, then called venues to see what was available. We didn’t get our ‘first choice’ of days (Saturday) but we were able to book both of the venues we wanted for Friday night, and we actually saved money (about $500) by doing on Friday instead of Saturday.
Next, I didn’t do ANY detail planning until I found my dress. People kept asking what my colors were, and I kept saying “well, maybe this, maybe that, but I’m not picking until I find my dress”…. I am SO GLAD I did this. NONE of the colors I had initially thought about using for Bridesmaid or Best Man dresses worked with the dress I eventually picked. The colors are still similar (I ended up going with shades of peach instead of shades of coral, basically) but not what I originally planned at all!
I think that the dress is SO important to find before the other details get planned- it can change the whole feel of the wedding