Your significant other popped the question! Congrats! Once the glow of the proposal has worn off, it’s time to face the enormous task of wedding planning. While this wedding planning checklist from Real Simple can get you through the next few months (or years), we’ve given you a wedding planning guide that can get you started with the first step, talking to your partner, and can take you step-by-step from there.
Before you shop for wedding dresses or decide on flowers, sit down and talk to your future husband or wife (then follow the next steps in our wedding planning guide). A simple conversation now can give your wedding planning direction and guide you as select and finalize all the wedding day details.
Where would you like to get married? Decide together whether your home town, current city, lake home, alma mater, or favorite vacation spot is your ideal place to get married. Once you’ve narrowed down the city, state, and country, start thinking about what you want and need in your wedding venue.
Next wedding planning step: Use this list of criteria to narrow down your choices for wedding venue; the next step is to contact potential wedding venues and ask them these important questions.
You don’t have to select the exact wedding date, but it is helpful to narrow down your options to a month or season. If there is some flexibility on date but not on budget, ask the wedding venue for an evening weekday or Sunday morning (for brunch!); many venues give discounted rates for off-peak days.
Next wedding planning step: Use this guide to decide on a wedding date you both are excited about. Contact wedding venues and ask if the date is available. If there is some flexibility on date, ask the wedding venue for open dates during the desired season or month.
You and your spouse-to-be don’t have to come up with an exact wedding list, but start talking about whether you want a big wedding or a smaller, more intimate affair. An idea of the guest count is also helpful when choosing the right wedding venue, which shouldn’t be too big or too small.
Next wedding planning step: Use these steps to set a wedding guest list. A final guest list can give you general numbers to give to the caterer and vendors for linen rental and centerpieces.
This is a very important part of the initial wedding planning conversation. Decide how much you want to spend on your wedding day, and where the funds are coming from.
Next wedding planning step: Contact any friends or family members that have expressed an interest in helping pay for the wedding day. Make sure you get a clear answer (not just “we can cover dinner”) to minimize any disagreements later.
Every couple has their own style and vision for the wedding day. Do you want a formal, elegant wedding day? Or a day with a historic style? Is a rustic wedding more your style? As you discuss the big picture, be sure to ask if there is anything really important that either of you really want on their big day. Your spouse-to-be’s answer may surprise you.
Next wedding planning step: Take your desired style and run with it as you coordinate the details of your desire wedding atmosphere. Use the style to find wedding venues and attire, and to set a delicious wedding menu.
Wedding planning can be a monumental task. Discuss the amount of time you both have to allocate to planning your special day. Be realistic; a good wedding planner can be a huge help when your time is small.
Next wedding planning step: If you need a wedding planner, get recommendations from friends or add it to your list of wedding venue criteria. Many venues have a wedding planner on staff who is intimately familiar with the site and local vendors. If DIY wedding planning is the choice, ask friends or family for their help; give them specific tasks and deadlines to eliminate any misunderstandings later.