Congratulations on your recent engagement! This is such an exciting time for you and your fiancé (how exciting is it to finally be able to call them that!) as you begin to put together plans for your dream wedding day, but it can also be overwhelming at first. Don’t worry, we’re here to help! We’ve put together ten pro-tips for your next steps to help navigate and simply the wonderful wedding planning process.

Put Together a Budget
One of the most crucial steps in planning your wedding is setting a realistic budget. Sit down with your partner and discuss your financial situation; if you have anyone contributing to your wedding budget be sure to loop them in too. Decide on a budget that works for both of you and allocate funds for various aspects of the wedding such as venue, attire, catering, photography, planner and more (don’t forget to factor in vendor tips!). Use a Budget Calculator to help you determine what percentage of your budget is typical for each vendor and keep you on track!

Pick Out a Date
Choosing a wedding date can be a challenging task if you don’t already have a specific date in mind. Consider factors like season, day of the week, and any special dates that hold significance to you both. Saturdays are the most popular day of the week for weddings but Fridays are great too, especially if you’ve got guests coming in from out of town – they can make a whole trip out of it! Once you’ve settled on a date or date range, you can start planning other aspects of your day.

Create Guest List
After finalizing your wedding date, it’s time to begin drafting your guest list. Sit down together and make a preliminary list of family members, friends, and colleagues you’d like to invite. It’s always good to start with everyone you think you might want to invite and then narrow it down later with your budget and potential venue capacity in mind.

Start Venue Shopping
Your wedding venue sets the tone for your entire celebration and there’s so many different options. Do you want an outdoor vineyard wedding (we know of a pretty stellar venue if you do)? An intimate indoor setting? Begin exploring different venues that align with your vision and budget. Schedule visits to potential locations and ask questions about capacity, what’s included in the fee, and if they have any vendor recommendations or requirements. Be sure to take lots of notes and photos to compare later!

Decide What Type of Planner Is Best For You
A wedding planner is an essential part of your big day so you don’t have to worry about a thing. Consider whether you want to hire a full-service wedding planner, a day-of-of coordinator, or something in between. Each option offers different levels of assistance so choose one that best suits your needs.

Research Vendors
From florists to DJs, caterers to makeup artists, researching vendors is crucial. With so many out there to choose from, you want to be sure you get one that aligns best with your vision and budget. Read their reviews, schedule meetings, and see if your venue or any vendors you may have already booked for their recommendations. Vendors book up quickly so once you’ve done your research and made a decision, lock in your date with them!

Take Engagement Photos
While not technically necessary for the wedding planning, it’s a fun way to capture your love and excitement during this special time. It’s also a great opportunity to work with a wedding photographer you’re interested in to build rapport and get comfortable with them. These photos can also come in handy for other elements of your planning (wedding website, save the dates, etc).

Create Your Wedding Website
A wedding website is a convenient way to share important details with your guests, such as date, location, travel information, registry, attire, and more. There are various free user-friendly platforms available that make creating a wedding website a breeze!

Order Your Save the Dates
Once you’ve finalized your date, venue, and wedding website it’s time to create your Save the Dates. These help provide an early heads-up for your loved ones, especially if you’re planning a destination wedding or a date that falls around a holiday. Check out some pre-built templates online to make this easy – just pop in your information, maybe one of your engagement photos and you’re good to go! You can also usually have the envelopes pre-addressed so it’s good to have that information on hand. It's recommended to send these at least 6 months out from your wedding date, the sooner the better!

Have Fun!
Wedding planning can be overwhelming at times but it’s important to remember to enjoy the process. Plan early, take break, involve your partner and cherish these moments leading up to your big day.

We hope these tips help! Remember every wedding is unique and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to planning, so be sure to do what’s best for you and your partner during this journey. Congratulations again on your engagement and cheers to a beautiful wedding ahead!