How to Plan a Wedding
Congratulations! You’re newly engaged and ready to plan your wedding. Now, what? How do you plan a wedding, exactly?
There are numerous steps that go into planning a wedding and many decisions to make. Here are the main things you need to do to get to “wedded bliss”!
- Decide when you want to get married. One of the first questions couples often get asked after becoming engaged, is “when are you getting married”? Choosing your wedding date hinges on many factors such as your wedding budget, your guest list size and the availability of your wedding venue. It’s good to have a general idea, though, of when you want to get married. The average engagement lasts about 14 months. There are no rules to how long you should be engaged for, but it can take some time to book your wedding venue and other professionals and to plan the wedding you want. Once you have an idea of when you want to get married, you can move forward with the wedding plans.
- Discuss your wedding vision. Sit down with your partner and discuss the type of wedding you both envision. Discuss openly and honestly, what you want for your wedding. The end goal is to come up with a shared vision for your wedding day.
- Set your budget. What do you want to spend on your wedding? What is realistic? Discuss your budget with your partner and with your families to determine what you have to spend and who will contribute to your wedding. Will you need to make any adjustments to your wedding vision based on budget? Do you need to set a longer timeline to plan (and finance) your wedding?
- Decide on your guest list. Now that you have a wedding budget, decide on your guest list. Keep in mind that the more guests you have, the more your total costs will be. Start with a list of everyone you ideally want to invite to your wedding. Then, be prepared to trim the list in order to work within your budget.
- Book your wedding venue. Once you have an idea of your wedding vision, have your wedding budget and have an idea of your guest list size, it’s time to book your wedding venue and set your wedding date.
- Choose your wedding party. Choosing who will stand up for you on your wedding day is an exciting task. It’s a good idea to choose your wedding party after you discussed your wedding budget and booked your wedding venue. A wedding party often means more expense (more bouquets and boutonnieres, more gifts, etc.).
- Hire your wedding professionals (vendors). It’s best to determine what your wedding priorities are. Do you want a certain band or photographer? Use your wedding vision as a guideline to help you determine how to allocate your wedding funds and then begin the hiring process. Some wedding vendors, such as your marriage commissioner, are a must. After that, the vendors you hire are optional.
- Invite your guests. Whether you send out formal invitations, electronic invites, or call each guest personally, you need to let guests know where and when your wedding is!
- Shop for your wedding attire. Whether you are wanting a beautiful gown or a tailored suit, consider the season of your wedding, and as always have your budget in mind.
- Decide on your wedding decor. You may want a simple wedding or something more elaborate. Whatever your decision, you need to determine what your wedding will look like. What will the ceremony be like? What will your floor plan for your reception be (round tables, long tables, or a combination of both?). Do you require linens, flowers or decor?
- Plan your wedding menu for your guests. Whether you are wanting a casual stand-up reception or a fully plated dinner, you will work with your wedding venue and/or caterers to plan meals for your guests. As always, keep in mind your budget. Food and beverage can often account for 40% or more of your wedding budget.
- Plan your wedding day timeline. What is this exactly? In the most basic sense, your wedding day timeline is what happens on your wedding day and when. What time is your ceremony? What time will you have cocktails and dinner? A basic timeline will include all the major wedding day events. When will you be getting ready? What time do your wedding vendors need to show up? If you want to be more detailed, you can plan exactly what time to have photographs taken, what time speeches will be at, when you have to leave to the church etc.
- Confirm your wedding day plans with your wedding “team”. Once you’ve made all your decisions, booked your venue, hired your wedding pros, decided on your decor and meals, and planned your wedding day timeline, you need to confirm your plans. Communicate your plans to your family and friends, and to your wedding team (the wedding pros) who will execute your plans on your wedding day. Confirm your final guest count with your wedding venue and make sure everyone knows where to be and at what time.
There you have it! “How to Plan a Wedding” in a nutshell! Obviously, the process is more detailed then we’ve outlined here, but hopefully, this gives you a basic framework to plan your wedding.
Expert Wedding Planner: Naturally Chic
Naturally Chic is a Canmore-based, mountain wedding specialist known for their natural aesthetic and innovative wedding design. They focus on creating meaningful experiences that are a reflection of the couples they work with.