Category Archives: start wedding planning

Your First 5 Wedding Planning Tasks: Where to Start

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wedding day at a reception hall with bride and groom dancing after wedding planningEverybody has that one thing they really want in their wedding: unique wedding favors, a fantastic DJ, that must-have band, the one-of-a-kind cake or menu option.  Fact is, it’s easy to get caught up in all the details and miss out on a few—and important—wedding planning details.  It can make you miss out on the best site for your reception, the quality caterer, and all the other big details that leave an impression on your guests.  So where do you start wedding planning? Here are five big details that’ll get your wedding planning off on the right foot—and create the perfect foundation for your big day.

Fiance & Family Conversation

We know this first step isn’t technically a wedding detail, but it is vitally important to the wedding planning process.  Talk to your fiance about the guest list (specifically how many), budget, style, and any specific requests or wants they want (you may be surprised!).  If you have other family members that have expressed interest in helping you with planning, talk to them about any guests they want to invite, any financial contributions they may want to make, and any special requests they might have for your big day.

During your conversation, set a date or a time of year for your wedding so you can start to research and confirm the major details of your wedding.

Wedding Venue

It’s time to turn your vision into reality. Start with the one detail that sets the backdrop for your vision, and plays a major part in creating the right atmosphere for your big day.  Decide the area you want to hold your wedding in, and any special needs you might have (i.e. handicap accessibility, parking, close to hotels, etc.)

Contact venues that fit the location and any special needs you have, plus fit the style you and your fiance want for your big day.  For instance, if you’re looking for an elegant venue with character, look for historic venues in the city with plenty of parking.  When you contact the sites, make sure you ask for a list of fees (along with these other questions) to make sure your final cost fits with your wedding budget.

Catering

Not everyone can create a delicious spread that fits your atmosphere and delights the taste buds, so make sure you book a quality caterer right after you book the venue.  Some wedding venues require you to use a specific caterer; if you have a caterer you really want to use, ask your wedding venues if they have an open vendor policy.  Open vendor policies allow you to bring in whatever vendors you want and ask the staff for recommendations for others if you don’t know.

Entertainment

If you want excellent wedding entertainment, don’t wait to contact and book entertainers.  The best wedding entertainers’ (bands, DJs, etc.) calendars fill up fast, so make sure you don’t procrastinate.  As soon as you have your date and wedding venue, start contacting and booking the right wedding entertainer for your big day.  Many venues have limitations on how long your wedding entertainment can play, or sound restrictions, so make sure you ask your venue about entertainers before you sign on the dotted line.

Dress shopping

Once you have your backdrop set and have a set wedding atmosphere, it’s time to fill in all the details that make a coordinated wedding—including the dress!  Make sure you wait until after you book the venue to make sure you don’t have a mismatch, such as a traditional hall and a modern dress or a contemporary dress with a historic hall.  It’s time to make sure all your details fit together for a beautiful, coordinated day—and to have fun wedding planning!

10 Questions to Ask Before You Start Wedding Planning

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wedding reception with MR & MRS letters after wedding planning has startedAs soon as the elation wears off from the proposal, it’s time for the fun wedding planning to begin.  Dress shopping, designing invitations, ordering cakes…you’re going to need a good wedding planning calendar.  You’ll also need to have a conversation with your partner, and anyone else significant to your wedding.  This simple step is an IMPORTANT initial step before you jump into wedding planning feet first.  So what should you talk about?  We’ve compiled ten questions that can get you both on the same page and set your wedding planning up for success.

Where do we want to get married? Do you have a wedding venue in that location in mind?

Nail down where you want to get married.  Do you want to hold the wedding in your home town?  Or have you always dreamed of a destination wedding?  Would you like to hold your big day in the city you live in?  Or at the college where you met?  Or would you like a peaceful setting like a family member’s lake house?

Next, discuss the criteria for your venue (or venues) in your chosen location.  What do you want in a ceremony site?  Do you want a religious ceremony?  Or would you rather hold your ceremony and wedding reception at the same venue?  Do you need a venue near hotels for your out-of-town guests? Use your answers (and these tips for choosing the right wedding venue) to create a short list of venues in your chosen location.

When do we want to get married? What dates works for us?

This is a BIG and important question.  For some couples, it’s easy to come up with special day: their first date, parent’s anniversary, etc. though you can if you want to get married on an anniversary, holiday, birthday, or other special day. For others, it’s a process trying to choose the right date; after all, there are 365 days a year to choose from (tips to help you choose the best wedding month here).

If you are on a time crunch, consider holding your wedding on a non-traditional day, such as a Thursday, Friday or Sunday, when wedding halls, caterers, photographers and other wedding vendors tend to be available. Also try to choose wedding venues where many of the details are set, such as a venue where the wait staff and coat check is included.

For couples who have longer to plan their wedding, start with a date, month and year, or series of dates. If you know what time of year or month you want to be married in, contact your wedding venue to see if they have any dates available during that time. 

How many people do we want to share our big day with?

Big or small?  Before you make any major wedding planning decisions, before you book your venue, before you contact caterers, you need to decide—and be on the same page—about the size of your guest list.  Make sure you actually write out the names (they don’t have to be exact names on the invites) with the amount of guests per household so you can make sure your guess is an accurate count.  If you know your parents want to invite friends, ask them for a list now before you start contacting venues and vendors.  You don’t want to book a venue that’s too big or too small for your guest list, or choose a caterer that blows your budget because of an inaccurate guest count.

What is our budget?

This is one of the most important questions in your initial conversation.  Where is the money going to come from to pay for your wedding?  How much do you have to spend?  Ask any family members that have expressed interest in contributing to your budget for an idea of how much, or what vendor, they are willing to pay.  If the answer is something like, “we are willing to pay for the wedding venue” ask for the amount they expect to cover so you don’t book a venue that is far more than they expect (or more than you expect to chip in for over and above their help).

How much wedding planning can we take on?

It’s an honest question that demands an honest answer; wedding planning takes a lot of time and follow through.  If you don’t think you can take on the overwhelming task list (or don’t want to), consider hiring a wedding planner to plan your big day or choosing a wedding venue with event planners on staff that can make your vision a reality.  

What is one thing (or things) you’ve always wanted on your wedding day?

The answers to the question run the gamut: some people dream and plan their big day for years, while others are fine with whatever final product comes their way.  If you ask this question, you may find that your fiance, who you thought fit into the latter category, has a particular request (or requests).  Now is the time to talk through any special requests now before the wedding planning begins.

What do we want our wedding day to look like?  What kind of wedding reflects us?

This is your special day together as a couple, and now is the time to decide what style you want to exude in your wedding details.  Would you like an elegant wedding? A more vintage occasion? A rustic and romantic evening?  Set the tone at the beginning of your wedding planning so you don’t choose details that don’t fit with your style and make your wedding look haphazard—and not well-planned.