beautiful wedding day after couple organizes wedding planning

Step-by-Step: Where to Start Wedding Planning

Planning your wedding is a journey that can takes a million turns…but they all lead to a wonderful big day. We’ve put together a step-by-step guide that (hopefully) makes those turns not so curvy and helps you enjoy the ride.

Step 1: Sit down and talk with your fiancé.

Every couple gets excited about different details…the dresses, tuxes, wedding menu, décor. The list could go on and on. But before you head to the store or start scheduling meetings, take a step back.

The first step of wedding planning—-where you should really start planning your wedding—is a conversation with your fiancé. This is the time for you to discuss your wants (“what is one thing you want in our big day?”) and important details (“what time of year do we want to get married?”), such as the location (city and state), date/time of year, size of the wedding (large or intimate), and budget.

The latter should involve a lengthy discussion of how much you both have for the wedding and how you intend to pay for it. This part of the discussion may lead to talks with other family members or friends that have expressed interest in contributing.

As you discuss the wedding budget (this wedding budget worksheet can help), ask yourselves how much time you have to devote to wedding planning. If the answer is “not much,” make sure you allocate funds to hiring a full- or part-time wedding planner. (The pros and cons of hiring a wedding planning may be helpful in your decision.)

Step 2: Choose a wedding venue.

The wedding venue is the backdrop for your big day; it sets the tone style wise for nearly every other detail. Before you start visiting wedding venues, ask yourself what style you prefer (i.e. rustic, historic, elegant, modern) and what date or time of year you want to get married.

If you don’t have an exact date, don’t stress (and read through these tips for choosing the right wedding date). In some ways, having a month or season in mind can actually help you find the right wedding venue. Once you and your fiancé have decided on the time of year (and year), you can contact wedding venues and ask them what dates are available during your preferred time period.

In addition to style and date, you and your fiancé should also set criteria for your wedding venue (this wedding venue checklist is helpful). You don’t want to choose a wedding venue that is too big or small, so it’s helpful to have an estimated amount of guests in mind. You should always tour wedding venues before signing on the dotted line, but make sure you ask these wedding venue questions and look for these important details during the tour.

Step 3: Get organized.

Once the biggest details are confirmed, the next step is to organize yourself for the next steps of wedding planning. If you are hiring a wedding planner, this is the time to choose a wedding planner; many wedding venues offer full- and part-time wedding planners that can handle as little or as much of the planning process as requested. The major advantage of hiring a venue’s wedding planner is that the professional is intimately familiar with the venue and local wedding vendors.

If you are taking on the wedding planning yourself, this is your chance to decide whether to use digital or printables (in a binder)—or a combination of both—to manage your wedding planning checklist and deadlines. When a digital approach is your top choice, this list of the best wedding apps can help you choose the app to download. If you prefer paper, it’s time to start downloading these wedding planning printables and establish the system that gets you from planning to enjoying your special day.