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Wedding Planning Basics

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You’re newly engaged and ready to start the process of planning your wedding…but where do you start and what all does planning a wedding involve?  While there are several variables, like budget, location, and size, that will impact your wedding planning specifics, we wanted to go through the general basics to help give you a guide to get the process started.

Wedding Planning: First Steps

When you’re ready to get the planning process started, the first thing you want to do is create a wedding binder.  Give yourself a good 2-3 weeks to really pull your ideas together.  This binder will be your goto book until your big day.  It will also make a cool keepsake once you’re married.  You’ll want to keep a variety of things in your binder as you go along:

  • Articles and photos from bridal and lifestyle magazines and websites
  • Contact information for your wedding team
  • Budgets and contracts
  • Swatches, colors schemes and a photocopy of your vision board (if you opt to create a poster size version)
  • Copy of your invitations, reserve the date cards, and your announcements

Your next step is going to be to define your budget.  Decide what the absolute maximum you can afford to spend is and then define your ideal goal.  This way you’ll know how much wiggle room you have to splurge as you go along.

Finally, you want to select your wedding party and pick a date.  Your bridal party will be by your side throughout the process so you want to get them confirmed early on.  And let’s face it, the entire planning process will revolve around your wedding date, so this is a must have before you move forward.

These first steps should take you about a month from start to finish.

Wedding Planning: Bringing in the Professionals

Most newly engaged understand the value of a wedding planner but are under the impression that it’s too expensive or that they can handle everything by themselves.  We caution against this misconception as hiring a professional wedding planner can actually save you time, money, and stress down the road.

When selecting your wedding planner, remember ‘referral, research, and interview’ in order to find the right wedding planner for you and your soon-to-be spouse.  Also, it’s a great idea to share your wedding binder with your planner during your first meeting.  Seeing your binder, and vision board, if you have one, will give your planner a good idea of your wants and likes and will make the overall process much easier for you both.

Once you have your wedding planner secured, you will begin the process of selecting a venue, an officiant, photographer, caterer, band, and florist.  When it comes to finding the perfect wedding professional services, your wedding planner will be able to guide you and help to set up tastings, meetings, and events where you can experience for yourself which services you would like to book.  The monthly EBE Live Band Showcase is a great example of how you can hear tons of great bands in one afternoon and find the perfect sound for your upcoming wedding.

This phase typically lasts about three months from start to finish.

Wedding Planning: The Little Things

Your wedding planner will guide you through everything as you get closer to your big day, but some little details to keep in mind include:

  • Reserving hotel room blocks for out of town guests
  • Creating wedding goodie bags for out of town guests they’ll receive upon arrival
  • Creating a wedding website
  • Developing a day-of timeline so everything is laid out in detail (make this available to your maid of honor as well)

Create a detailed checklist with your wedding planner so you’re sure everything that’s important to you is covered, no matter how small the task is.  RealSimple has a great checklist that you can use as an initial wedding planning checklist guide.  This checklist will help guide you through the remainder of the process, right up through your big day.

The two most important things to remember are that no two weddings are alike….this is your big day, so make it personal and a reflection of you.  This is your love story to tell, not anyone else’s.  Secondly, relax and have fun!  This process can be an overwhelming one, so lean on your wedding planner and maid of honor (that’s what they are there for) and soak up every moment along the way to your big day.