Starting to plan your wedding but maybe you are not sure where to start? Or maybe you are feeling a little overwhelmed at all that you know you have to do. Keep reading to find my ULTIMATE WEDDING PLANNING CHECKLIST where I give you a 10 step process on how to plan your wedding in a stress free and enjoyable manner.
1. Determine your wedding budget and stick to it.
Those who have been following me for a while will know how important having a wedding budget is, however if this blog is your first port of call then let me explain why I think this should be your first step in planning your wedding. Knowing your overall budget for your wedding and the allocation of that overall budget to the different elements of your wedding, will make your wedding planning journey a great deal easier. It means that you can make your decisions with ease, you know which suppliers you can and can't afford. You know where you are at every step of the planning process. To determine your budget, first sit down with your fiancé and determine how much you can afford to spend on your wedding and how much you want to spend on your wedding. From here you can allocate your overall budget to the different elements. - For more on WEDDING BUDGETS see my blog post where I address all these. You can also find my PDF download there onHOW YOU CAN BREAKDOWN YOUR BUDGET into the different elements
2. Start Determining Your Wedding Vision
You may ask what I mean by this? By your wedding vision, I mean, how do you picture your wedding day, what flowers do you picture, what overall design do you picture, what happens during the day? This does not have to be very specific at this point in time but if you don't know where to start when it comes to working out what you want your day to look like you can pop onto Pinterest or Instagram to find your inspiration to get that overall idea. There is a great deal of inspiration on both platforms which can help you with pulling together your overall vision. - To give you some help in FINDING YOUR WEDDING VISION. See my wedding style blogs
3. Set Your Wedding Date & Find Your Wedding Venue
To help you have a stress free planning journey one of the first things you need to do is to book your wedding venue and set your wedding date. In order to set your wedding date you will need to have booked your wedding venue and you will need to determine the availability of your marriage officiant. You will most likely need to work with both your venue and your wedding efficient to determine the most suitable date.
Once you have determined both of these aspects you will then be able to start your planning journey in earnest. You won't be able to obtain quotes from suppliers until the know if they are available for your wedding date and if they know how far they have to travel. You will struggle to determine your decor needs until you know what space you are working with. These are just some of the aspects that will require both your wedding date and your venue to be determined.
4.Determine Your Planning Process & Give Yourself Due Dates
Create/ map out your planning journey. Determine the tasks you need to complete in order to have the wedding you always envisioned. This includes finding, meeting, booking and paying suppliers, producing a wedding design (with mood board), confirming details of your ceremony, attend catering tastings, send out your invitations, receive & track your RSVPs and any other tasks you might need to see to. I suggest creating a spread sheet to help you with all of this. Once you have written out your list of tasks to complete give yourself due dates by when you need to have completed each task. This way you can make sure you have completed all tasks by the time your wedding day comes and you will have paid all your suppliers on time. Nothing like a good spread sheet which will help you with all the tasks you have to complete.
5. Create Your List of Suppliers You Will Want to Make Contact With.
For each element that you will need to hire in a supplier for, create a list and start searching for your suppliers. Remember to keep within your budget. I suggest that you list down 3 options of suitable suppliers and make enquiries with each in turn to determine their availability and to obtain a quote from them for their prospective services for all that you require.
You may be lucky and find that your first supplier that you contact is both available and within your budget and you can hire them, however, this may not be the case and you may have to keep enquiring. This is the reason why I suggest listing down your top 3 suppliers who you would like to hire for your wedding day. If you can, try to arrange a face to face meeting with your chosen supplier as this will give you a good feel for the reliability of the supplier and also if you will work well together. this is especially important for suppliers that you will have the most interaction with such as your wedding photographer, wedding caterer, hair and make up etc.
6. Find Your Wedding Stationer & Send Out Your RSVPs.
This is usually done between the 3-4 month mark. You will want to have found your stationer and give them enough time to design and create your wedding invitations so that you can send them to your guests within the 3 month mark.
Ideally you will want to give your wedding guests a date by when they need to RSVP by as this will give you enough time to collate their responses, to list down all the dietaries and then share the all important information with the suppliers who do need to know particularly your caterer, your hire company and your wedding coordinator.
7. Finalise All The Wedding Details
Confirm all your orders with suppliers, all your details with your guests. It is also at this point that you will want to go for any dress or suit fittings that may need to take place. You will want to confirm all delivery times or arrival times with suppliers. This is especially important for any suppliers who might need to make deliveries the day before (or even a few days before) the wedding and for any suppliers like wedding entertainers who will be arriving part way through the wedding day and who might need to be met and shown where they can off load any equipment/ store said equipment etc. If you have hired on a wedding coordinator, this might be something that they include in their wedding coordination services.
8. Hire A Wedding Coordinator.
Ideally you should consider doing this at least 4 month before hand or at least start your search 4 months before your wedding date. This gives you enough time meet with your coordinator, provide them with all the details they might require in order for them to be able to do their job on the day. If your wedding coordinator does include services such as finalising details and creating your wedding day time line then they will need this time to be able to do so. You may ask if you really need a wedding coordinator and I will answer in the affirmative, not just because I am one but because having a coordinator there who is fully aware of all plans, who know all the timings, details etc will mean that you have very little stress on your hands. It will mean that they will make sure your day runs smoothly, that all your suppliers arrive on time and that if any suppliers get lost, your coordinator will be able to help them find their way. They will have all contact details for suppliers and see to any potential hiccups that may arise on the day.
9. Create Your Wedding Schedule
If you have chosen not to hire a coordinator or you wish to do this yourself, the next item on your to do list is to create your wedding day schedule and share this with the relevant suppliers who will need to know the running of the day.
This will also include any relevant information for suppliers to know i.e. that the florist must deliver the bouquets to room xxx for the bridal party, or that any suppliers who will be there for the day must park in a specific spot. You do need to make sure that you send this within enough time so that your suppliers can ask you any questions they may need to and that they can make any necessary arrangements that need to be made.
10. Hand Over all Paperwork and Plans & Enjoy Your Day.
Once you have completed all your tasks, created all relevant paperwork and paid your suppliers, hand over all plans to someone who will take charge of them on your day, someone you trust to run the day for you and enjoy your wedding day.
Take a step back from your wedding planning duties and allow others to see to everything. Enjoy this special day and have fun.