So you’re newly engaged, and you’re ready to plan—but you don’t know where to start learning how to plan your own wedding.
Guess what? You’re not alone. Most couples are totally new to planning events like a wedding, and there’s a lot to organize and consider! We’ve created this guide to help you figure it all out.
In the sections that follow, we’ll cover the most important aspects of planning your wedding, including:
Let’s dive in!
At Perennial, we always recommend starting your wedding planning by creating your high-level wedding vision.
Your wedding vision captures the overall vibe you want your wedding to have. For example: Do you envision a laid-back beach wedding? A formal event in the city? A rustic outdoor wedding in a rural setting? A hometown party in the place you and your fiancé grew up?
All of these are awesome ideas, but none of them are for everyone. Creating a wedding vision sets the stage for easier planning because you know the larger theme you want all the details to align with.
A wedding vision board can be really helpful for this step. It’s a visual representation of your vision that can include locations, color schemes, menu items, decor inspo, and more. Here’s one example of what a vision board might look like:
Alt-Text: Example of a wedding vision board, a helpful way to get organized at the start when you’re planning your own wedding.
Next, set your budget. Most couples find this to be a stressful step, but I promise it doesn’t have to be that way. Your best bet is to be realistic and stick to a budget that allows you to be flexible and comfortable with your spending.
You can have an awesome wedding at any price point, and staying within your means allows you to enjoy the process without worrying about its financial implications.
Our advice: Start with your overall budget (i.e. how much you can spend total), then determine how much you’ll spend in each category depending on your personal priorities. Leave some wiggle room where you can for inevitable adjustments. Check out our full wedding budget guide for more on this process.
Once you’re ready to start booking things, begin with your date and venue. These are the two biggies you want to nail down first—everything else can fall in place around them.
Some couples have their hearts set on a date first and foremost, so they’ll only choose venues that have it available. Others want the opposite—it’s the venue they love, so they’re willing to be more flexible about the date. In some cases, couples are flexible about both, so they look at all of their options and go with the combo of venue and date that suits them best.
Determine what’s most important to you so you can go into the process intentionally.
Choosing your wedding party and planning festivities with them is one of the most fun parts of your wedding! What’s better than sharing the joy with people you love the most?!
I always think it’s a good idea to pick your wedding party early and share details with them as soon as you have them.
The loved ones you choose for your wedding party will no doubt be thrilled, but it comes with a certain level of time and financial commitment. You want them to have as much time as possible to mark their calendars for your wedding and other events they’ll need to be present for (like your rehearsal dinner) and budget as needed for their dress or suit.
When it comes to a great wedding, your vendors are the dream team behind the magic. From your wedding photographer to your DJ or band, caterer, florist, cake artist, hair and makeup team, and more, you want your team to be full of people you genuinely like and trust to execute your vision.
With your detailed budget in mind, hire your vendors early so the ones you have your heart set on aren’t already booked. That said, if they are booked, don’t panic. It’s a disappointment for sure, but most are able to recommend industry peers that are equally awesome.
My tips for hiring your vendors:
Keep your guests happy by planning ahead to make their experience seamless. Consider the logistics of your wedding day and make sure your guests will have accommodations and transportation needed throughout the day. Go the extra mile by offering menu options that align with various diet preferences (i.e. vegetarian or vegan) and allergy needs.
Communicate the details clearly with your guests beforehand on your invitations and, if you want, through newer wedding communication methods like a wedding website. The example below shows how you can incorporate accommodation and travel details on your site, with convenient links to directions and booking.
Alt-Text: Wedding website with accommodation and travel details.
As you can see in the image, a wedding website can also serve as a one-stop-shop for other details your guests care about, like your gift registry and the day-of schedule. Having a site can make your life easier because you’ll field less questions along the way.
When it comes to planning your own wedding, spreadsheets are your friend. I’m serious! Get all of your wedding planning details in one place, like an Excel spreadsheet, and keep it updated and organized. Include tasks that need to be done, who’s responsible for executing, deadlines, budget information, contact information—everything.
As wedding planning ramps up and the date gets closer, you’ll be glad to have all of those moving parts centralized in a single document that helps you stay focused and never miss an important detail.
Planning your wedding should be something you love doing and enjoy at every turn. Remember to be flexible and be present in the process. You’ll want to look back and remember the fun you had planning, not the stress you had leading up to your big day!
If you’re ready to book your wedding photographer, consider us at Perennial! We take a documentary-style approach to photographing weddings, capturing your love story and the special moments of your day in their truest form.
Book a call with us today to learn more—we’d be honored to be part of your special day!