Category Archives: wedding planning guide

bride and groom at wedding reception planned in short time

12 of the Very Best Wedding Planning Posts of 2019

We could all use some help with wedding planning—especially with such a long wedding planning checklist to tackle. Even the small wedding planning tip (or idea) can be a big help!

That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the best wedding planning tips of 2019. These “how to” tips can get you through every stage of planning your big day (including keeping you sane throughout the process!)

How to start planning the day of your dreams…

How to organize your wedding planning…

How to avoid some of the worst wedding planning mistakes…

How to decide if you need help…

How to make sure your wedding venue checks off all the boxes (and how to reserve it)…

How to make sure you’ve found the right “one” during your wedding venue tour…

How to have fun even when you’re stressed…

How to choose the best vendors to add to your wedding team…

How to add a local Wisconsin flavor your guests’ll savor…

How to add a little fun to your wedding reception…

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.

The Ultimate Wedding Venue Checklist

Once the glow of popping the question wears off (and the “yes!”), the next logical question is “where?” The good news is that there are quite a few wedding venues in the Milwaukee area that make a beautiful backdrop for any couple’s big day.

Narrowing down those options to the perfect wedding venue can feel overwhelming, because choosing the right wedding venue is a big choice. This is the site of your wedding, after all, and it’s incredibly important.

The right wedding venue is the foundation of all your other wedding details. It can be the perfect backdrop with a staff that makes wedding planning less stressful—-or the complete opposite. That’s why we put together a wedding venue checklist. This guide can help you choose the best wedding venue that fits all your criteria and makes you and your guests say “wow!”

Of course, before you start venue hunting, don’t skip the crucial steps of setting a budget and asking your fiancé some crucial wedding planning questions. From there, use this wedding venue checklist to narrow down your options to a list of venues worthy of a venue tour.

Venue Availability

___ Available on wedding date (If you don’t have a wedding date, ask the wedding venue for available dates during your desired season or month.)

___ Exclusive use of wedding venue (This is important if you don’t want other events held at the wedding venue at the same time.)

___ Guest accommodation (Use these tips to set a wedding guest list. Always ask the wedding venue for the number of guests they can accommodate for comfort and safety.)

___ Ceremony space (Applicable if you want to hold your wedding ceremony and reception at the venue. Also ask if guests need to wait for breakdown and set-up after the ceremony.)  

Venue Cost

___ Budget-friendly (Don’t forget to ask how many hours are included in the rate, if there are any overtime fees, and what equipment is included in the cost.)

___ Wedding planning services (This is important for couples who want help with some or all of the wedding planning.)

___ Venue staffing (Ask if there is any staff included in the rate, such as an on-site manager, coat check, and bar staff.)

Venue Policies

___ Liability insurance (Very important! Be careful about booking a wedding venue without insurance.)

___ Cancellation policy (Be sure to ask just in case of an issue. If you are in the military, ask if the date can be moved without penalty.)

___ Vendors included (This can include the caterer, décor, equipment, and even the photographer.)

OR

___ Open-vendor policy (An open vendor policy allows you to select and bring in your vendor of choice, such as your favorite caterer.)

___ No limitations on volume and alcohol

Wedding Venue Accommodations

___ Guest Parking (Ask to see the parking lot to make sure it is close and affordable.)

___ Handicap Accessibility

___ Close to local accommodations for out-of-town guests (i.e. hotels, inns, etc.)

Wedding Planning Guide: What is the first step in planning a wedding?

wedding day at a reception hall with bride and groom dancing after wedding planningYour 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.

Location

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.

Date

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.

Guest List

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.

Budget

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.

Style

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.

Time

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.