Eek! You’ve just gotten engaged, you’ve got a few (or 10) bridal magazines on your nightstand, and you have all sorts of ideas and advice flying at you from all directions. Where do you start with the wedding planning? You could use one of the many crazy checklists found in all of your fore-mentioned magazines. I kept mine on the refrigerator and another copy in my wedding binder. It was a seriously exciting moment when items got checked off, because that meant we were one step closer to our wedding day!
Checklists are great for a timeline perspective; however, they can be overwhelming and make you feel like you have 101 things to do right now! Where do you start? What needs to be done first? Don’t be disappointed, but it’s not dress shopping or completing your gift registry . . . . . that fun stuff comes later. Today we’ve got the top six priority objectives to get your wedding planning started.
1. Establish a Budget
This is clearly the least fun of all wedding-planning duties, but it is by far the most important. Sit down with everyone who will be contributing financially and determine who will be paying for what and what your overall budget will be. This will be the cornerstone of all of the wedding details to follow.
2. Choose a Wedding Style
What’s your bridal vision? Do you want small and intimate or big and extravagant? Whatever you want the vibe to be, choosing a wedding style early on will help guide you when picking a venue, décor, catering, etc.
3. Start a Guest List
Obviously you don’t need to have an exact head-count, yet, but determining an approximate number will help establish what size venue you will need and it will also help you obtain accurate pricing estimates.
4. Narrow Down a Few Dates
Picking 2-3 potential wedding dates is a good idea, in case your dream venue is unavailable on your numero uno date. Consider things like weather, holidays, work schedules, and local events.
5. Pick a Venue
Now that you’ve taken care of items 1-4, sit down and research potential venue sites. Once you find one (or several) that fits your style and budget, give them a call, or email to see if the date you want is available and schedule a tour. If you plan to check out multiple venues, try to do so within a few weeks time. Some sites book up a year to a year and a half in advance, so you don’t want to hem and haw over the perfect venue for too long.
6. Hire a Photographer
Excellent photographers are hot commodities, and many are booked out as far in advance as venues! To ensure you get the guy or gal you want; book your photog early on.