(Closed) Where to begin…

posted 12 years ago in Waiting
Post # 3
367 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

Maybe just start with putting together an inspiration board with images you’ve found that you like.  That way you’ll keep yourself busy for a little while and find out what style you’re really going for. When I was planning, I already knew the color scheme I wanted and was determined to design my own invites, so I started there.  We have had almost a 2 year engagement, so designing my invites helped me with pulling together colors and an overall feel of what I want.

Best of luck with everything!

Post # 4
45 posts


I’d say because your hopeful date is in less than a year, it’s really important that you book your most important venues, etc – ceremony and reception site, photographer, maybe florist. That way even if you don’t know what colours/themes you’re going for, at least you have some solid decisions made. GL!

Post # 5
33 posts
  • Wedding: August 2009

Congrats on your upcoming engagement!! I was in the same boat — we were already planning on getting engaged and had a timeframe in mind for the wedding. I also wanted to start planning a little earlier on, especially because I was moving out of the state where we are having the wedding.

I agree that the process can be pretty overwhelming, especially with so many great resources on the web! The way I approached it was by starting to think about the general vibe and feeling I wanted my wedding to have — at that moment, I wanted something outdoors, catered, and in a historic venue. With that basic criteria, I started to look through a list of venues in the area and narrow down my options. I really feel that you need to know your location and venue first before you can make all of other decisions, like flowers, decor, sometimes even your dress!

Local bridal magazines, your local Knot, or regional Brides are a great starting point. Be efficient in your research and determine as early on as you can whether a venue is available on your date, within your budget or even in a convenient location. As I did my research, I realized that some of my criteria weren’t compatiable with my preferred budget, so I adapted and made changes to my plans and was able to find the perfect combination of locations that could accommodate my budget but still fit my revised vision as close as possible =). From there you can start planning and pulling in all the little details that will ultimately make up your big day! Inspiration boards are a great way to do that (and I would recommend browsing through boards at Snippet and Ink or Style Me Pretty, especially with the formal where she categorizes by color and feeling as well!).

Good luck in your planning =)!

Post # 6
107 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

The first thing I did was ask our mother’s for a tentative guest list. With that number in mind, I started checking out venues.

We wanted an outdoor ceremony with an indoor reception at the same location. We booked the place 15 months in advance because it’s popular in my area.

The next thing I did was attend bridal shows at local malls just to get a sense of how other brides were planning their weddings. I still had more than a year to go, so I just read everything I could get  my hands on. The next person booked was the DJ.

Now that I’m down to 11 months to go, I’ve been searching for photographers, which I’ve booked. My next step is just focusing on how I want my wedding to look. I’m going to go around to florists and figure out what I want from there. I’m looking through magazines of invitations to get an idea of how I want to create mine. I’ve already decided on center pieces and wedding favors and, of course, my colors!

However, my BIGGEST task is still trying to get the guest list tacked down. My parents are divorced, so I’m counting on my mom and dad’s mom to give me their lists. On top of that, my FI’s father passed away and his mother is remarried, so I’m getting three different lists from my Future Mother-In-Law for all three families… And my Fiance still hasn’t given me a list of the friends he wants to invite so that we can make our own list.

I only want 150 at the wedding. EVERYONE is giving me a hard time about cutting down their lists..

Other than that, I feel like it’s all falling into place. Just take it one task at a time. It’s working so far for me!

Good luck!

Post # 7
305 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2008

ditto fadedblue, the first thing you need is a venue, and of course to arrange that you need to know the approx. number of guests.  And don’t do what I did.  I did a quick count with the help of Fiance and my family.  My first number was 100 guests. In the end, we invited 200 guests, and 137 will be coming.  Our venue is packed!!!!

 Then you need to focus on those vendor’s whose sevices are booked far in advance.  DRESS, Photographer, LIMO, florist (though not bad for me, I booked 2 months in advance, ect.)  Around the time you start looking for these vendors, is when you want to try to pin down your idea board.  Even if you don’t have an actual board, just to start to plan things in your head.  My dress was very critical to the designing, since it has a gold sash that hangs down in the back, I got bridemaids dresses that do the same, and I incorporated that sash everywhere I could.

 Then all of a sudden, the wedding takes on a life of its own.  Really.  Forget about your life, for a certain period of time your life is the wedding, and it will all fall into place.

Good luck.

3 days till my wedding!


Post # 8
344 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

Yup, venue is #1, getting prices from them. I started on that before I was engaged, started my spreadsheet with all the info. I told my fiance that the more I did before we were engaged, the less stressed I would be after we got engaged. He bought it

Post # 9
1061 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

Just so you know, I booked our venue and planner and bought my dress before we were "officially engaged." So don’t worry about planning early! People can look at you like you’re crazy sometimes if you don’t have a ring on your finger (mainly people who have never planned a wedding, mind you), which made me feel horrible…but don’t let that stop you! If you have a date in mind, things just have to get done — ring or not.

I agree with what everyone else has said. Congrats!

Post # 10
51 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: March 2008

i agree with everyone that the most important elements to start with are venue, size, and theme. a lot of "popular" venues book pretty far in advance so you might want to make sure your dream venue is still available.  Once you have a venue, you can start deciding what type of wedding you want to have–often times the venue will dictate the theme, and then you can put together your inspiration board

@Candi–best wishes to you and congratulations! 

Post # 11
220 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

I started with my budget.  Once I knew how much I could spend, it created some focus. Not to mention eliminated some of the crazy "what ifs".  (In-N-Out truck vs. Ben & Jerry’s Cart)   Then I looked at my guest list.  Did I want a fancy wedding with a smaller guest list or a more laid back wedding with more people. 

Have fun.  Get your venue as soon as possible.  We are planning in less than 9 months, its been a challenge.

Post # 12
471 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2008


The girls gave great advice. First, determine a realistic budget and who is contributing; also determine a style. Shabby chic, preppy, romantic, fun, whimsical, etc.? Next, find a ceremony and reception venue. This more than often will determine when the date will be based on availability if this is a priority for you. 

Check out the checklist on The Knot http://www.theknot.com. After you find your venue and determine a date, they will generate a to-do list for you and things to book based on this date on a countdown.

Post # 13
5 posts

We’re unofficially engaged too. We know we’re getting married within the year. So I just started looking around at the things that were most important to me. And then I created a spreadsheet in Excel, highlighting links and pictures of things I liked.

I mean, it can be as simple as listing songs you like.

And congrats!

Post # 14
5 posts

Oh, on my spreadsheet, each thing had a tab.

Ex: Engagement party was one, brides dress was one, music was one, etc.

Post # 15
41 posts
  • Wedding: June 2008

Don’t worry about rings and "officially" engaged!!  Start plannin’ girlfriend!! That’s when all the fun stuff begins!!  Like you I didn’t have a ring for awhile.  He told me in September that he had decided he wanted to spend his life with me – we were not together at the time – i gave him ring ideas in December but didn’t get the ring until late January.  We are getting married in 24 days!!! 

I agree with the girls on numbers first.  It will really help you determine what you can and can’t do.  The numbers then help you determine your budget.  There was a museum here that thought I wanted to get married at but when I called to get prices I figured out we woud have to cut the "estimated" guest list let alone the people that we hadnt’ thought about yet.  So we opted for another location which led to ceremony location decisions.  Before long all sorts of decisions are made as you go along.

Pictures, pictures, pictures.  I spent HOURS on the Knot website looking at slideshows of "real weddings".  I looked at different color schemes, decoration ideas, invitation ideas, everything.  I would email myself pictures of stuff that I liked.  Then I would print them up and kept them in a folder.  After looking at stuff a few times I would decide if I really liked it or if it was just cool for that couple’s wedding.  It also helped that I could show my guys pics and say do you like this or this.  I stopped letting him make major decisions when he changed the whole color scheme on me in the tuxedo store!!!  Fortunately, invitations could be changed without any added expense.   

Congrats and No Nervous Breakdowns!!  You’re about to embark on loads of fun which leads right up to getting to spend the rest of your life with the love of your life!!


Post # 16
508 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

Congrats!!!  Great advice already.

For us, we talked about what kind of ceremony we wanted – thinking about great weddings we had attended and what was most important to us about our wedding.  For example, we knew we wanted a very small non-religious wedding with the ceremony and reception in the same venue.  We also knew we wanted a local wedding. 

Once that was settled, we bought some books, looked online and started with a basic budget using an estimated guest list.  The first round was based on a national average budget for 175 guests, pared down to our desired guest total (more like 60).  It needed some definite tweaking based on local prices (curses, bay area prices!!), but it got us started and helped with sticker shock.  It’s also a great time to sort out what is most important to you – everlasting photos of the big day?  perfect dress? a rockin’ DJ or elegant string quartet?  the hot videographer?  tons of flowers? Tweak your budget based on what is most important to you as a couple.

Once you know what stlye of wedding and rough size – start the venue hunt.  The venue will determine so many things, particularly if they have a set vendor list or do everything themselves in house.  It will also help you sort out other items like the decor.

While you are hunting venues, start looking online and pulling together an inspiration file, but don’t get bogged down in all sorts of things too soon.  The very beginning of the planning is probably not the time to fixate on what centerpieces or escort cards you’ll have.  Stick with the biggies (venue, dress, caterer, photographer, music – whatever is most important to you should be first, but also consider that the big things book up fast, especially for popular months).

Now that we’ve finally booked all our biggies, we’re focusing on some of the DIY projects and scheduling them out over the next few months so we’re not going crazy as our date draws near. 🙂

Enjoy the planning – it is overwhelming at times, but the hive is a fabulous resource!


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