The First Steps to Take When Planning Your Wedding

wedding planning tips / wedding planning / New Jersey bride / wedding inspiration

When you first get engaged, the excitement is real! You're on one of the highest highs you will probably ever experience in your lifetime. You will be soaking it all in, enjoying the moment, and then once you realize it's actually time to plan your wedding, things can get overwhelming very quickly. 

There is so much that comes along with planning a wedding, you may have no idea where to start. You can seek advice from others who have been there and done that, BUT remember, the planning process is different for everyone and you want it to be stress-free. Today I'm sharing tips for the first steps to take when planning your wedding, based on my experience so far! 

STEP 1: DECIDE WHAT'S NON-NEGOTIABLE 

As a blogger, I naturally value photos. Ever since I met Jay, the owner of Twisted Oaks Studio, two years ago, I KNEW he was going to be the one who photographed my wedding. His style is so unique and his images are always stunning. Needless to say, he was non-negotiable for me.

Because he is so talented, his schedule is SO busy. He was the first one I asked about available dates for fall 2018. Good thing I did because he only had THREE. From there, I had to find a venue we loved that had at least one of his dates open. Most people would probably start with a venue to secure a date, but not me! This is why you need to decide if there are any vendors that are non-negotiable and take it from there. 

STEP 2: ASK YOURSELVES WHAT REALLY MATTERS

After deciding on non-negotiables (if any), it's so important to ask yourselves what aspects of your wedding you value the most. Is it flowers, food, music, invitations, etc? Deciding what is really important to you will allow you to invest your money where it matters.

For me, it was photography and flowers. Since I already had photography nailed down, I started to search for a florist who creates arrangements beyond anything I could ever imagine. For Rob, it was food and accommodations/transportation. Luckily our venue has an amazing menu & works with a nearby hotel that will make it convenient for all of our out of state guests.

STEP 3: MAKE A GUEST LIST

Now that you've talked things over with your fiancé and have a list of what matters the most, it's time to find a venue and set a date! Before you do this - make a guest list. Most venues have a minimum number of guests they require and a maximum number of people they can hold. You don't want to waste your time reaching out to venues if your guest list is 200+ and their max is only 100.

When making your list, include everyone and anyone that you would invite if your budget was endless. You can then go back in and edit the list once you decide on a number or specific "requirement" for cutting it off. As much as you don't want to hurt feelings, you have to remember it's YOUR wedding and you can probably only afford to have so many guests. Keep it consistent and hopefully people will respect your decisions. 

STEP 4: SEND A SAVE THE DATE

Once you book your venue and secure a date - send a save the date!! You didn't make that list for nothing, #amiright? I know there are people on your list who you absolutely want to come aka family, bridal party, and close friends. You want them to be able to plan accordingly and have ample time to request off of work, etc. Sending your formal invitations out 3 months in advance might not cut it for some people.

As far as when to send a save the date, The Knot says 6-8 months in advance. I feel like this is a personal decision and will probably be sending ours come the new year (about 10 months in advance). I see no reason why you can't send one as soon as you secure a date, but only to those you know you will absolutely be sending a formal invitation to. 


If you're a bride to be, I hope you found this helpful! Feel free to comment with any tips you have because this girl is all ears! 

If you missed our engagement story post, click here to see the proposal pics! 

Thanks for reading!

xo