Choose your date
While you don’t have to have your date set in stone to start planning, it is one of your first essential wedding planning decisions after getting engaged, and you want to get it finalised before concluding many other details. Consider how much time you need (do you want to tie the knot asap, or does a leisurely planning timeline sound more appealing?).
Check significant dates: You may want to get married on a special anniversary or 11/11 for luck and look to see if there is a competing event like a holiday. You may want to avoid a big game weekend, as visiting guests will have to pay premium accommodation prices.
Finally, you’ll want all your loved ones at your vows, so take a moment to consider any health concerns. For example, if you have an elderly grandparent who isn’t well, you may want to consider moving up the wedding date.
Set your budget
Before you begin, talk with your parents, figure out who is paying for what, and research the vendors and venues where you’re planning to tie the knot. Note: If you have a smaller budget, you may want to avoid big cities like NYC and Chicago. When you create the budget, think about what’s important to you and be ready to compromise if needed … do you need those elaborate save-the-dates?
Book your venue
This one goes hand-in-hand with choosing your date. Depending on the location, you’ll have to plan around venue availability-some venues book up over a year in advance. (Unbelievable, right?!) If there is a particular location you have your eye on, give them a call to see how far in advance couples typically book or to inquire about potential dates. Your venue can also inform the size and style of your ceremony, so consider these things when making your decision.
Determine your guest list
This is a massive part of what makes the wedding special. Establish your VIPs by writing separate lists and circling the ones you both pick. Decide if you’ll allow plus ones and kids and give that option to everyone or the bridal party. Talk to your parents about their dream guest list and consider giving them a set number of people they can invite.
Select your big-day style
Settling on a style means combining your tastes and envisioning how your ideal nuptials play out in your mind. The best reference is your day-to-day life. For example, if you’re a couple that enjoys laid-back wine nights or casual Sunday brunches, don’t feel pressure to host a formal fête-a wedding that doesn’t need to be black-tie to be meaningful!
Find your photographer
Beautiful, dramatic, professional wedding photos are usually a must for couples. By securing your photographer early, you’ll ensure the pros in your area aren’t all booked up and that you find someone you love.
Investigate any religious requirements
Depending on your faith or the faith of your significant other, you may need to take marriage classes before heading down the aisle (you or your partner may even want to convert). It’s best to do a little research to see how long this preparation might take. Alternatively, if you’d like a particular person to officiate your wedding, check with them as early as possible to confirm availability.
Think about travel
Whether you’re having a destination wedding or not, people fly in from all over the country (and the world) to attend weddings. If you know that any of your guests will need to book travel (flights, hotels, time off, and so on), try to set a date and share the information with these special people as soon as possible.