10 First Steps for Planning Your Dream Wedding
You’ve just said yes to the man of your dreams, and the proposal was more special than you could have imagined. Now it’s time to plan a wedding that is equally as unforgettable. What woman hasn’t pictured walking down the aisle in a white gown, with rose petals at her feet, and the love of her life waiting to take her hand? You can see it all clearly in your mind, but how do you possible get there? The first question brides always ask when they start planning their wedding is “what do I need to do first?” I’ve met with hundreds of brides who’ve all asked the same question. Here is our list of the ten steps every bride should take first when planning her wedding.
- Tell your immediate friends and family — in person. It may be tempting to post a photo of the ring to Instagram minutes after you say yes, but you will want to experience the reactions of your closest friends and family members before broadcasting your news to your social media circle. Make sure your grandmother hears your news from you, before she sees it on Facebook.
- Decide size, location, budget and theme — together. Before you start tasting cake samples and auditioning bands, make sure you both agree on some fundamentals: the size of your wedding, where you want to say your I do’s, how much you want to spend, and the theme. You may be envisioning a garden wedding in River Vale with 200 guests, and he may want to get married at a golf club in Ramsey surrounded by only your 50 closest friends and family. If you don’t agree right from the start, don’t worry. This will be your first lesson in marital compromise.
- Decide your theme. Your wedding theme should be a reflection on who you and your
fiancé are as individuals and as a couple. Your theme should reflect your relationship and your lives together. Whether it’s vintage to reflect your classic, traditional love story, or rustic to reflect your outdoorsy lifestyle, decide a theme that will guide decisions on venue, floral arrangements, colors, and invitations.
- Choose Your Squad. Your bridal party should include those people who have been the most integral part of your lives as individuals, and as a couple. Inviting someone to be part of your wedding is a true honor; so choose only those people who have proven they will support you on your big day and throughout your marriage.
- Build a guest list. Guest lists can easily grow larger than expected, especially when you start handing out plus ones. Take the time to truly envision who you want to be a part of the most important day of your lives, and resist the urge to send an invitation to everyone that you can think of.
- Set a budget.Once you know the total amount you want to spend on your wedding, prioritize the key elements. Do you want a specific venue, or can you be flexible? Do you want a lavish, one-of-a kind gown, or is your style more casual chic? Do you want a band, or a DJ? Deciding what aspects will make your day the most special will help you prioritize your budget line items.
- Select a venue. Wedding reception halls, banquet facilities, gold clubs, resorts, and even barns have limited availability, especially during wedding season. Lock in your venue as soon as possible since it will dictate so many other factors, like options for caterers and whether or not you have room for that ten-piece band you love.
- Save the date. Before you can book a venue, a caterer, or a photographer, you need a
date. Once the date is set, send everyone on your guest list a save the date notice. Especially if you have chosen a date during the peak of wedding season, which is June through September, you will be competing for attendance with family vacations, graduations, and other weddings. Make sure your loved ones have time to plan ahead so that they can be a part of your special day.
- Hire priority vendors. Wedding season never really ends for those of us in the industry, and unfortunately our calendars are limited. If you know of must have photographers, caterers, or stationers (*wink*) let us know as soon as possible so that we can plan to be a part of your special day.
- Revel in your engagement. Planning a wedding can be stressful due to all of the details that need to be considered, and because want your wedding to live up to the vision you have had in your mind since you were a little girl. Try not to let the tasks involved distract you from what’s most important. You have made a lifelong commitment to the man of your drams. Make sure you spend time during your engagement remembering why you fell in love, and thinking about what will come after your wedding.