If you got engaged over the holidays, you may be feeling overwhelmed on where to begin with planning your big day. Saying "yes" was the easy part - planning a wedding can be a daunting task! The biggest trick is to make a move and just get started. One of our On-Site Coordinators here at Andrew Jackson's Hermitage has put together a step-by-step guide for stress free planning!
Step 1 - Create Your Budget
Before any decisions can be made, you have to figure out who will be footing the bill, and have the money talk. Be realistic, and find a number you would be comfortable with going a little over. Decide which aspects of the wedding are the most important to you, and which are the least. This will determine where the majority of your spending will be.
Wedding websites, such as Wedding Wire, have budgeting tools to simplify the process for you. Simply enter your total budget, and their tools will separate the budget into categories: catering, DJ or band, florals, etc. Your budget will be your guide for picking every vendor, and making sure you stay under the original number. Don't forget to include taxes, fees, and tips.
Step 2 - Pick Your Date
Don't be afraid to dive in and begin making decisions. Deciding the time of year will help narrow down colors and décor. Spring weddings typically have much different color schemes than a winter wedding. Knowing your date also helps with ceremony and reception locations. An outside ceremony is perfect for an October wedding, but a December wedding might have more limitations.
Once you know your date, you can start looking at venue availability. Get a rough estimate of your guest count, to narrow down what size space you will need.The easiest way to stay under budget is to keep your guest list low. Now you can have your engagement photos done, and begin sending out Save the Dates!
Step 3 - Book Your Venue
Wedding venues often have lists of preferred or required vendors you will need to use. Different vendor requirements will help make a lot of decisions regarding caterers, rentals, etc. From here, you can determine the overall atmosphere of your wedding. Black tie to intimate and casual, the style you chose will help navigate your vendor decisions.
Step 4 - Shop For Your Dress
Start trying on dresses, and learning what style works best for you. Try on as many as it takes until you have that "this is the one" moment. Chose who you want to be in your wedding party and schedule bridesmaids dress fittings. Alterations can take time, and you want your dress to fit you just right.
Step 5 - Vendor Selection
From here, the rest of your vendors will begin to fall in place. Book your officiant, and begin any religious requirements needed. Discuss ceremony preferences with your fiancé, and determine what traditional aspects you want to include, and which you prefer to leave out.
Photographers, florists, caterers, can all be booked at this point. Review vendor's websites, and reach out for a quote. If it fits your style and is within your budget, set up a consultation. Research caterers and narrow down your menu options. Tastings are the fun part! Go with the vendors you click with and trust. Don't forget to hire a wedding coordinator to make the day-of details and logistics run smoothly.
After vendors are selected, the hard part is over. It is mostly small details from here on out, and you are free to focus on celebrating this happy milestone! Congrats!