So you just got engaged! That’s exciting, but now comes the fun part: planning the wedding. There’s a lot of work to do, and that might sound stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. The best advice we can give you is to get started booking services for your wedding right away. The whole process is much easier if you give yourself plenty of time to make decisions, especially because many popular venues and top wedding vendors are booked up a year or more in advance. You want to make sure you get exactly what you want for your special day, and the easiest way to do that is to start right now. Before you start making phone calls, though, you’ll want to make a few key decisions. Follow these steps when you’re planning your wedding, and it will be a piece of cake.
1. Decide On A Date
The most popular months for a wedding here in the South are April, May, June, October, and November. These months are popular mostly because of the weather. It’s not too hot, and not too cold. Because of this, though, many venues and services fill up very fast during the Spring and Fall, so if you’re not planning at least a year or two ahead, you might want to think about a different month. The date doesn’t have to be set in stone right away, though, because your dream venue might not be available on the first weekend you have in mind, but it could be wide open the week before or week after. Being flexible with the date, at least in the early stages of planning, will really make things easier.
2. Make A Budget
Once you have your date decided, you need to get a budget in order. Figure out how much you can afford to spend on your wedding, and keep that in mind for the rest of the planning process. It’s much easier to control your spending if you think in terms of how much of your budget remains, and it helps keep everything streamlined. If it fits your budget, this would also be the right time to hire a wedding planner. A good wedding planner can take a lot of the stress away from planning a wedding, and they can help you secure the best vendors that will fit perfectly into your budget.
3. Choose A Venue
Unless you’re getting married in your backyard, the venue is probably going to eat up the biggest portion of your budget. Start making phone calls and touring venues, keeping in mind their capacity and availability. You should have a general idea of how many people you want to invite, that way you can choose an appropriately sized venue. Once you find your wedding venue of choice, don’t hesitate to book. Nail down a precise date and pay a deposit before somebody else comes along and reserves the day you want.
4. Book Wedding Services
Now that you’ve got your venue, it’s time to start filling it up with wedding vendors. You should prioritize things like a good photographer and catering, especially if you’ve chosen a busy time of year to get married. If you’ve opted for a destination wedding, you might want to do some tastings with caterers in the area while you’re in town touring venues, that way you can knock them both out in one trip. You’ll also need to contact a stylist, a florist, a cake designer, and an officiant (to marry you), and a band or DJ (we can help with this! check out our info here), at least 8-12 months in advance of the wedding. Think about the vibe and the flow that you’re aiming for, and work from there.
5. Send Out Save the Dates
You’re coming to one of the final stages of planning a wedding, and it feels amazing. You can picture it now, everything is in order, and now you just need to make sure that your friends and family will be there to celebrate with you. Now is the time to secure a stationery designer to create your Save the Dates! Like everything else, this should be done well in advance of the wedding date, at least six months or so, especially for a destination wedding. Designing the Save the Dates several months ahead will give the stationery company plenty of time to print your invitations, and will give your guests the time needed to make arrangements to attend such as taking time away from work, booking a hotel room, and securing flights to celebrate with you.
Now, you are definitely on the right track! Let the countdown begin, and try not to go crazy with anticipation!