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8 First Steps to Planning Your Wedding

Updated on April 8, 2014

Congratulations! You've gotten engaged. In the mist of all of the excitement, you know that extensive planning must begin to in order to have the wedding of your dreams. Yet, you aren't quite sure where to start. Here are some tips to help you get on your way to planning your special day.


1. Make the Big Announcement!

You can tell your friends and family about your engagement in several ways. You can simply go with the old word of mouth method. Or, you can gather everyone together and have an engagement party. This will give the two families a chance to meet and mingle if they haven't already. Also, if you have already decided on who your maid/matron of honor (and best man) will be, you can announce this as well. You may also want to make an announcement in your local newspaper and create a wedding website to keep everyone up to date.

2. Decide What Type of Wedding You Want

Traditional, beach or destination; Large, or small? It's totally up to you, but you have to make a definite decision. Then, estimate the number of guests you plan to invite. All of this will affect the estimated budget and the amount of planning time needed. If you want to have a large wedding, you may need about a year to plan.

3. Know Who Will Pay for What

You need to know your approximate budget and how expenses are going to be paid. Many times the parents or grandparents of both the bride and groom may chip in to pay for some of the wedding expenses. This will be good to know early on. If one is paying for something or another, find out how much they are willing to spend. This way you can be mindful to stay within a budget. There are helpful tools on wedding websites and planning books to assist you with keeping up with expenses.

4. Pick Your Date

Picking the date, or at least having a general idea of when the wedding will take place, is very important. Once you have the date, it will be a driving force of many other things to come. First, consider what time of the year you want to get married. Next, look at your calendar and find days that don't conflict with any other important events that are going on such as graduations, any work related events or etc. Then, narrow down your choices.

5. Gather Your Wedding Crew and Support

Consider who you want to be apart of the wedding party and inform them. If you want to use a wedding coordinator or wedding planner, this is the time to get in contact with one. If not, know who will be assisting you with certain tasks.

Contact the officiant/minister you want to perform the ceremony. You want to make sure that he/she is available for this day. He/She may also want to have premarital counseling sessions with you and your fiancé.

6. Start a Check List

Make a list of every task that needs to be done. Include things (big and small) that you need to purchase for the wedding as well. You may want to use an Excel file or something similar to help you organize this list. The items can be arranged by level of importance, cost or by when you will need them first. Then just add to the list as you go along.

7. Pick Your Venues

Decide on and secure your venues. This is important to do this early on because most places book fast, especially if your date is during the spring or summer. Also, when picking a venue, see if you are able to taste samples on the menu.

After the venues are secure for the ceremony and reception, you may want to send out save the date cards and make this update on your website.

8. Get Inspiration

Start getting inspiration by doing your own wedding research. Use videos, television, magazines and wedding websites to get ideas for your theme choice, color scheme, wedding attire, flower arrangements etc. You may want to start visiting boutiques to try on wedding dresses. Once you decide on the bridesmaids' dresses, inform the bridal party. You can even arrange a fitting party.

Other Details Along the Way

  • Ordering or making invitations and programs
  • Selecting floral arrangements
  • Find music for the ceremony and reception
  • Choosing a photographer
  • Cake tasting and choosing a cake topper
  • Selecting party favors
  • Decorations
  • Order or rent chairs, candle stand, aisle runner, arch, flower girl basket, ring bearer pillow, etc.
  • Start planning your honeymoon

Don't forget to get the license!


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    • davenstan profile image

      Katina Davenport 5 years ago

      I had no idea if what I wanted for my wedding besides a fall theme and ivory dress. so glad I had someone to help me plan my wedding, my auntie in law. She was excellent.