Being engaged is an amazing and exciting time; you’re in the midst of preparing to spend the rest of your life with your best friend, and such a monumental decision and joyous occasion deserves the ultimate heartfelt celebration!
I’ve talked to many excited brides who are ecstatic to be planning a wedding, but with that, they find themselves scared at the prospect of such a big undertaking. Many brides ask, “How and where do I even start planning my own wedding? How much energy should I put into planning pre-wedding events? When should I have my bridal party?”
These are all great questions. When you think about your wedding planning journey, knowing what to do and where to begin planning will give you the confidence you need to enjoy your big day to the fullest. Take a look at this step-by-step guide to kickstart the wedding planning process!
What are the first steps to planning a wedding?
- Start To Think Like A Wedding Planner
- Determine What’s Most Important To You
- Set An Overall Wedding Budge
- Form Your Wedding Party
- Create Your Guest List
- Determine Wedding Dates
- Start Looking For Your Dream Wedding Venue
- Search For The Perfect Wedding Vendors
- Shop For A Wedding Dress
- Explore Honeymoon Options And Ideas
Now let’s take a closer look at each of these stages of wedding planning so you know exactly what to do and have fun doing it! Think of this like wedding planning 101!
And don’t forget to check out our free wedding planning checklist to make the whole process even easier.
Step 1: Start To Think Like A Wedding Planner
It’s your wedding day, and you have the freedom to dream up the most beautiful event imaginable – the sky’s the limit. If your goal is to plan a wedding that aligns with your unique wedding style, start by purchasing a journal or a reliable wedding planning book. Dedicate it solely to jotting down your wedding vision and details.
As you begin envisioning your perfect day, consider everything from color scheme to wedding theme (be it fairytale, beach, spring, or rustic). Write down your thoughts so you have a quick reference and a way to keep track of all your delightful ideas.
Also, make sure to gather wedding inspiration from images that reflect different aspects of your wedding vision. You can pull ideas from anywhere – whether it’s the Instagram account of your favorite wedding photographer, ads for wedding bands you seen in a magazine, or a friend’s engagement photos on Facebook – any source is fair game!
It doesn’t matter if you desire a unicorn or fireworks for a grand entrance that will leave your family members and guests totally awe-struck. This is your time to think big and personalize your wedding to your tastes.
When dreaming up your wedding details, remember to have fun.
Step 2: Determine What’s Most Important To You
Now that you have the vision, figuring out what’s most important on your big day is an absolute must. Knowing what absolutely must be included in your wedding will help you to capture the vision you’ve just journaled or pinned to your pinterest board.
Is live music a must, or will a DJ do the job? What about really incredible food? Are you looking for a wedding ceremony location with exotic decor and flowers? Valet? The perfect wedding venue that provides the convenience and relaxation of everything in one place? Do you want to work with a wedding planner or do all the planning yourself? Put these ideas into a wedding planning checklist so you don’t miss any of them during the planning process.
Step 3: Set An Overall Wedding Budget
Now that you have a vision and you’ve narrowed down your must-haves, you’re already halfway to establishing a budget. Creating a budget helps you to keep track of all your expenses and maintain a birds-eye view of the big picture.
When choosing a budget for your wedding, it’s best to try and account for every expense.
Want help from wedding planners? Fancy a big, beautiful wedding cake with ornate decorations? Are you creating a wedding website? Are you planning to have a designer spin up formal invitations or print save the date cards on elegant stationery?
These are all things that should be included in your wedding budget.
Whether you’re planning a big or small wedding, knowing exactly how much you want to spend (and what exactly you want to spend it on) makes it easier to manage the details of your wedding day – especially if they should change later on in the planning process!
Budgeting also helps you plan the rest of your wedding as you decide what you want and what you are not so attached to – where you want to splurge and where you want to hold back a little. It makes including all of those must-haves you listed during step 2 much easier to plan for.
Step 4: Form Your Wedding Party
This is the really fun part – you get to ask your closest friends and/or family to be a part of your big day! Sometimes it’s hard to decide on a number because you just love everyone, but once you’ve narrowed down the girls and the guys you wish to include, go ahead and ask them to be your wedding party members!
You can have a lot of fun with this; a couple of fun and creative ideas that brides do is giving their bridesmaids-to-be handwritten letters, or even surprising them with a gift! When I was a bridesmaid a few years back, my friend, the bride, asked me with a beautiful hand-written letter and matching bracelets she had made for herself and the other bridesmaids.
Do whatever fits your taste and personality. The way you express love and appreciation is unique to everyone.
Step 5: Create Your Guest List
Creating your guest list is integral to the wedding planning process for many reasons, the most important being that vendors NEED to know your guest count. You’ll be asked about it during your consultations and bookings, so don’t put this one off.
Plus, creating a complete guest list will make it easy to be certain everyone receives their wedding invitations.
Unsure who to invite? Here’s our recommendation: grab your soon-to-be-spouse and your favorite bottle of wine. Make it a team effort.
When creating your guest list, start by adding the names of your closest friends and family members. Move down your mental list until you run out. Then, head to your Facebook friends list or other social media platforms and check your friends list to make sure you didn’t miss anyone.
Step 6: Determine Dates
Come up with a few possible dates for your wedding ceremony. Pick the one you want most, and you’re ready to start looking into other key elements like booking your dream venue and wedding vendors, planning your rehearsal dinner and honeymoon, or finding the perfect wedding dress.
One of the biggest mistakes we’ve seen from brides and grooms is choosing only one date. Our advice? Choose some backup dates just in case. This helps you plan ahead in case your must-have venue and vendors are already booked.
Step 7: Start Looking For Your Dream Wedding Venue
When searching for local venues, there are a few key points to keep in mind.
Some venues help with the wedding planning process to make sure your special day happens seamlessly. These venues often offer everything in one place to make planning a wedding super simple.
The Dallas Oasis is a great example of this type of venue. We provide everything up front: a place for your wedding party and guests to stay and relax, bartenders, lighting, plus space for your ceremony and reception. We also offer coordination assistance and other services to remove the stress from of planning. All in the same venue.
Venues like ours save you tons of time and effort, so you can focus on other elements of your wedding day.
Looking for the perfect local wedding venue, but still feeling unsure about where to start? A Google search or a wedding planning app like WeddingWire is a great place to begin. You’ll find tons of local inspiration and ideas to get you moving in the right direction.
Step 8: Search For The Perfect Wedding Vendors
If you’ve made it this far, you’ve already figured out which elements and services are most important to you. Now, you can start looking into local vendors to learn more about cost and availability. Check ratings and reviews to get an idea of whether each vendor reflects what you’re looking for. Or, keep it simple and let your venue do the work for you! Just utilize their pre-approved list of industry experts!
Use the internet, call around, and find out what people are saying. The best way to learn about vendors is to ask your friends. If you have friends who are recently married, reach out to them to find out who they used and how it turned out.
Step 9: Shop For A Wedding Dress
Start by finding wedding dress inspiration on Pinterest or other websites. Then, armed with your vision, browse dress stores – both online and in-person.
We recommend getting your wedding dress anywhere from 6-9 months before your wedding date. You don’t have to buy your dress right away, but setting aside time to try on a few different dresses is a great way to get a feel for the perfect style!
You probably already have your wedding rings, but if you don’t, make sure you don’t forget them!
Step 10: Explore Honeymoon Options And Ideas
One of our favorite parts of the planning process is choosing what to do for the honeymoon. You don’t just get to plan your dream wedding – you also get to plan a vacation with your best friend!
Perhaps you want to go somewhere far away that you’ve wanted to visit your whole life. Maybe experiencing something local and magical together is more your style. Explore ideas with your significant other to make sure you’re both on the same page. Seek inspiration by asking friends, searching the web, and using Pinterest.
A small bit of additional wedding planning advice: don’t forget about your wedding night! And make sure to have fun through the whole process. This is about more than getting a marriage license. This is a life-changing event. The journey should be just as enjoyable as saying, “I do!”
Begin The Wedding Planning Process With Confidence
As your journey to marital bliss continues, try to find fun and joy in every step of the planning process. There’s a lot to think about, but none of it has to feel overwhelming.
Allow yourself to dream big. Keep the essence of your love story as the focal point by weaving it into every element of your wedding. With our step-by-step wedding planning guide, you can translate your wildest dreams into reality with grace and ease.
Step forward into this new chapter armed with a well-crafted plan and a heart brimming with excitement, and remember to relish each moment. Let every decision, big or small, be a reflection of the love and joy that brought you to this beautiful beginning. Embrace it all, and step confidently toward your happily ever after.
Ready to begin planning your dream wedding? So are we! Contact The Dallas Oasis today to learn more about what our gorgeous venue has to offer and how we can help you simplify the planning process.