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When To Start Planning A Wedding

Stage I: Budgeting And Organizing


As soon as you tell everyone in your family that youre getting married, theyre going to start asking questions. Whens the date? What are you going to wear? Whats your hashtag? Beach wedding or rustic barn feel?

These are the exciting questions, and you should feel free to dream about them with your friends and significant other. But to really answer them will take some time and some research. Stay patient. On average, couples spend about 13 months between the date of their engagement and their wedding day. Use that time to be intentional about all the steps to plan a wedding.

Experts Suggest Having A Discussion With Your Partner About What You Want Out Of Your Wedding Day

“Our advice for couples is to sit down with your partner and talk through what are the top three to five things that you can’t live without for your wedding,” Jeffra Trumpower, the head of creative marketing and events for WeddingWire, told Insider.

“Talk about your lifestyle, talk about the things that you love to do,” Kristen Maxwell Cooper, the editor-in-chief of The Knot, agreed.

“Let those things influence what’s important to you about the wedding and the things that are non-negotiable for you,” Cooper said.

Those things will vary for couples based on their interests. Some might choose to prioritize food and drinks, while music could be the make-or-break element for another couple.

Picking your priorities and general theme early will also help you create a sense of continuity with all of your pre-wedding events, from showers to the rehearsal dinner.

Cooper and Trumpower said the budget should also be part of that discussion, as it will be easier to plan every step of your wedding if you know how much you’re able to spend. It will also help you decide if it’s going to be a big or small wedding.

And if any parental figures are helping to finance the wedding, they should be part of these early talks as well, since they’ll likely want to give their input on the event they’re paying for.

With all of that information set, you’ll be ready to start planning.

What Kind Of Wedding Do You Want

Let’s get straight to it. What are you thinking of in terms of the wedding ceremony, and what about the celebration or reception?

Church Ceremony or Civil Ceremony?

For the wedding ceremony – do you want a church ceremony or a civil ceremony? If it’s a church ceremony – are you both the same religion? Any preferences on what church – have you got your heart set on your local one or does it matter to either of you?

If you’re thinking about a civil ceremony, are you thinking registry office or would you like to get married at a venue? Do you want separate venues for your ceremony and reception or would you like them in the same place?

Would you like to get married outdoors? It can a bit tricky to get married outdoors in Ireland , but lots of couples choose to have a civil ceremony for the legal bit, and then plan their own ceremony in the location of their choice.

Photo by Rubistyle via One Fab Day

Small and Intimate Party or a Bigger is Better Reception?

Do you want a big party for your reception with all your pals and extended family, an intimate gathering of 25, or something in between? What’s the general vibe you want to strike from your day.

Photo by Savo Photography via One Fab Day

How Does Covid Affect Your Planning?

Photo by Remain in Light Photography via One Fab Day

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Create A Business Plan

A business plan is a fundamental document for any wedding business, and it is one that often gets overlooked since most pros in the industry didnt go to business school. But you dont have to skip this important step in planning just because you dont know where to start! A business plan is simply a document that describes what you do as a business, outlines your business goals as well as how you plan to achieve themand you should learn what goes into creating a 5-year plan for your business before diving into anything else.

Pro-tip: You might realize there are people you need help from as you work to start a wedding planning business and reach your goals. Here are 8 business resources you need to have on speed dial.

How To Plan A Courthouse Wedding

Newly Engaged? 10 Steps To Start Planning A Wedding!

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Big weddings are not for everyone and many couples decide they want to have a simple courthouse wedding. If you are planning a courthouse wedding here are a few tips.

  • Make an appointment. Most courthouses require couples to make an appointment for their wedding ceremony so make sure you call ahead. You will also need to get a marriage license. So gather all of the necessary paperwork before you can actually say I do.
  • Hire a photographer. You will want to capture the big day of course so hire a wedding photographer to join you. Take your images before, during , and after the ceremony.


Destination weddings are a fun way to celebrate your wedding day and can take place in a variety of locations. At one time a destination wedding meant that it was a beach wedding someplace tropical, but today couples plan destination weddings all over the world in all different locations. So take a look at a few tips for planning your destination wedding:

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Arrange Stag & Hen Nights

Hopefully your awesome bridesmaids and amazing best man will have this covered, but make sure you know if theres anything you need to prepare for, pack or pay for so you can factor this into your planning and your budget.

You also want to ensure that the timings suit both you and your partner gone are the days where stag and hen parties take place the night before the wedding so make sure the dates and arrangements are appropriate.

If you think your bridal party may need a little bit of a helping hand then we have some fantastic step by step guides for how to plan the perfect hen party and how to organise an unforgettable stag do.

What to Read Next

Build Your Guest List

First things first, commit to keeping this process as stress-free as possible. Pick a relaxed time on a weekend when you dont have other demands and sit down with your partner. Keep your approximate wedding size in mind building a guest list for a small wedding is going to be different than choosing who to invite to a large one. Here are some tips to keep the process smooth:

  • Write down all of the names of people youd like to attend even if they live across the world or your partner doesnt know them that well.

  • Track your guest names in a wedding planning app or a spreadsheet.

  • Manage guest requests from family. Its okay to invite some people your parents would love to share your wedding day with, but try to keep the number reasonable.

  • Create two categories for your guest list. A is for the names of family and friends who you absolutely want and/or need to have at your wedding. B is for the extended family, friends, and work colleagues youd like to share your day with, but it wouldnt devastate you if they couldnt attend. Take a break and come back to list B. Narrow it down together until the list fits wedding size.

Pro tip: A good way to start sorting who you want to invite is by going through the contact list in your phone, as well as who youre following/interact with on your most-used social media platforms. Chances are, if you want them at your wedding, youll at least have their phone number or Instagram handle.

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Wedding Planning : Where To Start When Planning A Wedding

Its the day youve dreamt of since you agreed to start dating your partner.

You now have the engagement ring, and youre ready to start planning a wedding. Well, you think youre ready to start planning a wedding. Actually, the whole idea terrifies you.

Between the food, bar, dress, and everything else, youre about to freak out. Its overwhelming, and you dont even know where to start.

Dont worry because we are here to help. Keep reading below to discover where to start when planning a wedding.

Wedding Planner Yes Or No

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If youre starting to plan a wedding, one important consideration is if you actually want someone to plan it for you! A wedding planner can be a huge help if youre stuck on how to get started planning your wedding.

A wedding planner takes over many of your responsibilities, like decorating and corresponding with vendors. They also know a lot of tips and tricks that will make a wedding incredible. If your budget can allow it, a wedding planner or decorator can assist you getting started planning your wedding.

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Set Your Wedding Budgetand Stick To It

Whitney Neal Studios

Your wedding budget will be the driving factor for many of your wedding-related decisions, so this should be one of the first things you tackle. If any family members will be contributing, chat with them about what theyre comfortable spending. If youre footing the bill yourself, its time to take a hard look at your finances. Be prepared for a reality check when it comes to actually budgeting for your wedding day as many couples dont realize the full scope of costs involved. Once youve got that magic number, stick to it!

Don’t forget to build in a 10 percent splurge cushion for those unexpected costs or urges that inevitably arise.

Book Your Key Players First

When a couple hires us on with nine months or less to go before exchanging vows, we hit the ground running and reach out to all the “key players” right away to find out pricing and availability. Focus on booking your venue, florist, photographer, caterer, and planner . Once you’ve got your core team locked down, you can slow down and focus on the smaller details.

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Meet With Potential Florists

Much like hiring your other vendors, you want to be simpatico with your florist, as well. In order to do that, we suggest polling friends for recs, scrolling through Instagram inspo, and asking your planner/venue coordinator who they recommend in the area. It’s important that you find someone who is able to deliver on your vision and budget.

Hire A Wedding Planner

Newly Engaged? 10 Steps To Start Planning A Wedding ...

Again, this will depend on your budget. But if your funds allowor if your peace of mind depends on itnow is the time to tap the manager of your big day. This person will be your right-hand woman and will guide you in all decisions, from selecting a venue to tracking your budget and handling all the logistics.

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Buy Your Dress Bridesmaid Dresses & Groomswear

Choosing your wedding dress will be one of the most exciting and emotional parts of your wedding planning.

A lot of designer wedding gowns can take up to six months to make, so give yourself plenty of time to find the dress of your dreams.

Visit the Hitched bridalwear section and browse our list of local bridal shops to find inspiration.

Once you have chosen your wedding dress, you can think about bridesmaid dresses that will complement your wedding gown, and groomswear that will suit the style of your big day.

What to Read Next

At this point, its important to create a schedule for the days events. Not only will this give you and your suppliers something to work from, but itll remind you if theres anything youve forgotten.

Whats more, writing everything down will help you create your Order of the Day cards or signs which you might want to match with your wedding invitations.

On your schedule, include things like when your vendors will arrive, what time the ceremony will take place, what time youll take photos and what time youll sit down to eat. You can also include what time the first dance will happen and what time youll cut the cake.

Be sure to give a copy of your run of events to your photographer, venue, maid of honour, DJ, ushers and anyone else who should be in the know!

What to Read Next

While youve probably already told everyone you know about your upcoming marriage, now is the time to make it official.

What to Read Next

Create A Wedding Reception Seating Chart

Work with your venue and planner to determine how many tables your wedding reception venue can accommodate. Then, use an online tool to figure out who sits wherekeeping relationships and family dynamics in mind. Once youve finalized your seating chart , be sure to send to your caterer, venue, and stationer so that escort cards can be created.

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The Rest Of The Checklist

  • Pick a wedding planner. Do you need one? No. But if your budget allows for one and/or you cant be bothered with minutia, its worth the cost. If you can be bothered with minutia, consider booking a day-of or week-of planner, who can handle last-minute details and hiccups.
  • Find an officiant. And make sure they are legally ordained.
  • Set up your wedding website as a makeshift save-the-date. In fact, you can do this instead of sending a save-the-date card. Jennifer Taylor, a wedding planner atA Taylored Affair, suggests usingSquarespace,The Knot,Minted orRiley & Grey to create a website.
  • Lock down your photographer and caterer. Even if youre meh on these vendors, book them at least nine months before your wedding. If you have your third-choice florist, who cares? Ms. Keene says. But if you cant get a caterer because theyre all booked, thats a problem. The smaller things, like your florist and cake, can come together later.

Take a timeout: Work your way throughWine Folly together to feel like you could be featured in the next edition of SOMM. Or just share a bottle of your favorite wine.

Put Cash In Tip Envelopes For Your Planner/delegate To Distribute

How to start the wedding planning process right. How To, DIY Wedding

Remember those labeled envelopes we talked about for last-minute checks or tips? . Primarily, you dont need to tip people who own their own businesssuch as photographers, videographers, and florists. Its customary to tip the following vendors: musicians, DJs, hair stylist, makeup artist, drivers, bartenders, and servers. Many couples tip the wedding planner, as well.

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