Monthly Archives: December 2015

How long does it take to plan a wedding? Where do I start my wedding planning?

10632619_10152731218526803_2716563146322134270_nThere is no standard answer to this question; if you ask Google “how long does it take to plan a wedding?” the search engine’s answer is six months. The truth is somewhere in the middle: wedding planning can be done in a short amount of time or as long as years depending on your schedule as a couple.

More important than the amount of time you have is the amount you can accomplish; wedding planning is a process that does take time. Once you get through the initial excitement of your engagement, it’s time to jump in and kick start your wedding planning.

Where to start

Before you go dress shopping, before you order your cake, sit down with your fiancé (and any other family members involved with the wedding planning) and discuss your vision, style, budget, options and needs. Even if your fiancé seems uninterested in wedding planning, find out if he or she has any preferences for your big day. If your parents or other family members have expressed interest in helping pay for your big day, talk to them now and find out how much they are offering, or what expenses they want to cover. Set your budget higher than you expect—incidental costs often come in higher than you anticipate.

Next set a date, which can be three months or three years out—again it’s all dependent on your schedule as a couple. Setting a date does not mean focusing on a single day, though you can if you want to get married on an anniversary, holiday, birthday, or other special day.

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. Schedule appointments with potential wedding venues so you can narrow down your options.

For couples who have longer to plan their wedding, start with a date, month and year, or series of dates. Set in stone the major details of your wedding: wedding venue, date, and any specific vendors you want on your special day. Contact venues to find out what dates they have available, and make appointments with the halls to view your options.

Decide who is going to take your wedding planning from there

wedding planningSome couples want to handle every step, every detail of their wedding planning. If that’s who you are as a couple, set a schedule of tasks that need to be done as your selected date draws near. If you are splitting up the wedding planning to-do’s before you say I do, be very clear about who is doing what and what deadlines need to be met.

If you as a couple don’t have the time, have a lot of professional obligations, or just feel overwhelmed by all the wedding planning, look for a wedding planner or a wedding venue with event planners on staff. An event planner can book your important details, such as your wedding venue and food, and coordinate all the small details so your wedding matches your vision, no matter how long or how short of a time you have for wedding planning.

Enjoy the results

Wedding planning is a labor of love so keep your eye on the goal: a memorable wedding that fits the two of you as a couple. If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask your wedding venue staff, wedding planner, friends and family.   Wedding planning is a team effort, and the result, your special day, is worth the effort.

Wedding Planning Tasks to Get Done Over the Holidays

wedding planningThe holidays are crazy busy, but they are also an opportunity for couples wedding planning. We can hear you: “Seriously?! I’ve got too much to do!” Whether you just got engaged over the holidays, or you’ve been waiting to pull the trigger on your wedding planning, the holidays are your chance to “get the ball rolling” and start checking off boxes from your wedding checklist.

So why are the holidays the right time to get started? Depending on your occupation, you and your fiancé may have less professional obligations. If you have family coming into town, this is your chance to involve them in the wedding planning process.

Booking your venue

wedding day venueBefore you design the invitations, or plan the flowers, you’ll need to start by choosing the right wedding venue for your special day. While choosing the right venue sounds easy, reserving the perfect site is a lot like Goldilocks in the story about the three bears. You need to find a site that’s not too big and not too small. Fortunately, you don’t have to eat porridge to find the “just right” venue, but finding the place that’s perfect does require a conversation with your fiancé about all the factors you both need to consider when selecting the perfect wedding venue such as your style as a couple, your needs, expected amount of guests, date, and budget. We’ve written in depth about how to choose the perfect venue in a past blog post.

Once you’ve set your wedding venue criteria, set up appointments to visit halls. If you can’t personally visit the hall, send someone you trust. Make sure you ask questions and confirm every detail, and enjoy your storybook transformation from Goldilocks finding the right place to one of those fabled princesses or princes who finally finds true love.

Dress shopping

The holidays are an ideal time for dress shopping when your friends and family are in town and off of work. Remember, wedding and bridesmaid dresses should be ordered 6-12 months before the wedding day. If you can, make an appointment at your preferred dress shops. An advanced heads-up ensures enough staff to give you personal service.

When you go dress shopping, use this piece of advice: select who comes along with you carefully. While your friend or family member may be an enthusiastic dress shopper, you don’t need a “Negative Nancy” when choosing your special dress. You don’t need a full entourage either, no matter what you see on those TV shows. Use caution when choosing friends and family to come along for a less stressful, and fun, experience.


wedding foodThe food at your wedding is a huge part of your big day and a decision that should not be made lightly. If you have a caterer in mind, be sure to ask the question, “can I use my preferred caterer at your venue?” when researching wedding venues. Some venues only allow certain caterers, or have an in-house caterer that you are required to use. On the other hand, venues with open vendor policies allow any licensed caterer to serve at their location.

If you do have a choice of caterer, make sure you ask caterers you are seriously considering for a taste test and information about their services. Be very clear about what you want at your wedding, so your caterer can give you accurate pricing information.

These items are by no means an end-all list (you can find that full planning list here); feel free to book your entertainment (once you’ve booked your hall), select and draft your invitations and save the dates, book your photographer or videographer, and choose a florist. If you don’t have the time, or just feel overwhelmed by it all, add another criteria to your wedding venue list: a wedding venue with event planners on staff. An event planner can book your important details, such as your wedding venue and food, and coordinate all the small details so your wedding planning doesn’t feel as crazy busy as the holidays.