Wedding Wednesday: Where to Start Wedding Planning

by Ashton Cude

Happy Wednesday, friends! We’ve got more wedding planning advice for you this week. Just as you are enjoying the excitement of your engagement, you’re hit with the reality of planning a wedding and all that entails. Brides often have a hard time knowing where to start. This is my advice on what to tackle first. Ready…set…wedding plan!

Set expectations:

Before you make one move toward planning a wedding, pump the brakes. Take time to sit down with your fiancé and your parents (especially if they’ll be paying for the wedding), and figure out what your expectations are for your wedding. Do you even want a big wedding? Maybe you want to pay homage to your grandparents by going to the courthouse. Maybe you want a backyard shindig with barbeque and picnic tables. Or maybe you want the biggest white wedding your town’s ever seen. No matter your vision for your big day, once you start the process, it’s easy to get caught up in it all. The best way to avoid getting stressed and wishing you’d just eloped? Communicate your expectations from the get-go.

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Set a date:

This may seem like it goes without saying, but you’d be surprised how many people try to dive headfirst without setting a date. Here’s the thing: you can’t do anything else for your wedding until you’ve picked a date. None of your vendors or friends will be able to commit. Remember that you will never (I mean never) pick a date that suits everybody. Choose a date that works well for you as a couple and for your immediate families. Many people have limited options due to their schedules, but if you’re one of the lucky ones who has more freedom, consider some additional factors. Weather, seasonal pricing, holidays, and special family dates like your grandparents’ anniversary could all be considered.

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Choose a location:

Once you’ve answered the “when,” you can answer the “where.” Will you be having a destination wedding? Maybe you want to use your wedding to provide a whole weekend of fun for everyone. Or, maybe you want to get married in your hometown in the church you grew up in. Narrow down the location, then choose your venue. Unless you’re set on one place, you may want to book tours of a few different places. Most venues won’t discuss their rates over the phone or online, so you’ll need to pay a visit to get the financial details. At this point in the process, it will also become clearer whether the ceremony and reception will be in the same place, or if you will need two separate venues.

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Find your dress:

Last but certainly not least, once you have the basics figured out, it’s time to find your wedding dress. I’ve had several brides outfit the bridesmaids first and then ending up having to work their dress around what they chose for the wedding party. Brides, hear me…you are not being Bridezilla if you get your dress first. You may fall in love with a blush dress but not be able to choose it because you’ve already ordered blush for the bridesmaids. Your bridal look will inform so much about the rest of the day. I honestly cannot emphasize this enough based on what I’ve seen as a consultant: choose your dress before you commit to anything else. You may go in thinking you want Grace Kelly and come out with Great Gatsby. Once your bridal gown has been chosen, the details have a way of falling into place.

Hopefully this gives you an idea of where to begin. Planning a wedding can have its stressful moments, of course, but overall it should be a fun process. If you find that it’s not, go back to step one and remember what you’re working toward. As always, if you’re married to the one you love at the end of the day, you had a successful wedding. Happy planning!

(All photos by Heather Todd Photography)

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