Here's an oldie but goodie, published on our site around 2006-2007. It's still valid advice today, with the exception of a few outdated planning links which we've cleared out of your way (oh, and the reference to wedding books and magazines, rather than blogs and Pinterest. How quaint!). Happy planning!
Wedding Planning: Where to Start?
Most engaged couples are going through this process for the first time, and may not know where to begin planning their special day. We suggest taking some time to carefully consider the type of wedding that appeals to you, prioritize your budget, and begin researching your vendors.
What’s Your Wedding Style?
A good place to start is developing a sense of what kind of wedding will reflect your specific tastes. There are countless wedding magazines and glossy coffee-table books on the market, and these are a great way to figure out what you like. Bookmark (or, in the case of a magazine, tear out) the photos that really speak to you. After doing this for a while, you’ll get a feel for what best suits your style, whether contemporary, classic, or somewhere in between.
Considering your own unique love story, and your background, is also key in making your wedding your own. Perhaps you may want to incorporate elements of how you and your spouse-to-be met, activities you’ve enjoyed, vacation destinations you’ve visited, or other memories of personal significance. Many couples find themselves including influences from their cultural background as well. These details can help to inspire everything from your venue to your catering, your music to your wedding attire.
Finally, you may want to consider consulting a professional wedding planner for ideas and resources on turning your wedding vision into a reality. Wedding planners do so much more than just booking vendors and handling details on the big day itself — they are truly a wealth of knowledge when it comes to making every aspect of your wedding special and unique.
The Wedding’s Going to Cost How Much?
It would be wonderful if we all had an unlimited budget to plan our dream wedding, but unfortunately, that’s rarely the case. That said, it’s a great idea to consider the major expenses of a wedding, and prioritize them according to how important they are to you. A true “foodie” might insist on a four-star menu, while a nature lover might be moved by a unique waterfront location or an environmental center. It might be your video, your flowers, or even that perfect designer dress. While common sense would tell you that the food and music will have the greatest impact on your wedding day, and the photographs are your lasting memories, the fact is that no one can tell you what’s going to mean the most to you when it comes to where you spend your money. Deciding on your priorities, and allocating your budget accordingly, will help you to make cuts where needed while still preserving the most essential elements of your big day.
Researching Your Vendors
The wedding industry truly is saturated with vendors these days, and narrowing down the list can seem like a monumental task. There are some ways to make it easier, though!
Relying on your wedding planner, if you’re using one, or your reception site coordinator for recommendations is a great place to start. These professionals have worked with many of the top wedding vendors in the area (as well as some whom they’d never recommend!), so their advice can be gold.
Of course, independent research can be equally valid. There are many great websites that can provide you with contact information and consumer reviews for numerous wedding vendors. Hearing from other brides and grooms which vendors they most enjoyed working with can be invaluable in determining who to explore further.
Finally, wedding shows can be another avenue for meeting vendors, though it should be said that these shows can be cost-prohibitive for many wedding professionals. Not to mention, the hectic environment at a show may not be conducive to actually getting to speak to someone!
Once you’ve made a list of vendors in each category, you can then begin the process of establishing contact and taking part in meetings. Remember, any wedding professional should be willing to reserve your date for a reasonable amount of time while you complete your research and compare your options. Once you’ve booked your “major” vendors, you’ll be able to truly relax and enjoy the months leading up to your big day!