08 Oct Wedding Planning Guild for 2019
Party planning can be a decidedly stressful process — the guest list, the food, the entertainment, the location, regardless the nature of the event, taking a party from concept to fruition is no small task.
So, what about planning — arguably — the most important party of your life? The party which will forever encapsulate a day marked by the celebration of love, splayed across photo albums for years to come, and relived through epic keepsake videos and lifelong memories?
Simply stated, when it comes to your wedding day, the stakes often feel especially high, and each decision presents itself with a certain weight of consideration (and encroaching pre-ceremony timelines).
But, what if we told you it didn’t have to be so daunting? In fact, planning the wedding of your dreams can, actually, be a seamless experience that brings family, friends and vendors together, unified in their desire to witness your big day come to life.
With all those pre-wedding jitters in mind, we’ve compiled the ultimate checklist to ensure you knock this (very important) party out of the park. No tears, no unnecessary stress, just a simple guide to solidify your planning process.
1. Get Clear on Your Budget
First things first, decide on a comfortable budget for your big affair. Sure, talking financial specifics might not be especially fun or exciting in comparison to the rest of the process, but it is a crucial first step. Make sure you, your partner and/or any contributors are on the same page, mock up an (estimated) budget allocation to each part of the wedding, and then you can get the ball rolling.
2. Create a Paper Trail
By this we simply mean, make a “Wedding Binder/Planner”. Basically a vision board or real-life Pinterest board, but for your wedding day — pictures, clips, notes, dates, all of it, stored in one accessible, convenient place. Pro Tip: Divide it up into labelled sections (flowers, table settings, wedding dress, guest list etc.) and order them based on priority (AKA ranging from ‘imminent’ to ‘that can wait for now’).
3. The Perfect Date, at the Perfect Venue
You can’t plan a wedding without a date, after all. Of course, oftentimes, this relies on the venue, so start your search, decide if you plan to have separate locations for the ceremony and reception, and check out the dates available for your desired wedding timeframe. Make sure to keep in mind high/low seasons, work schedules, holidays, family conflicts, seasonal weather etc. as you narrow down potential dates.
Also remember that the process of choosing a venue may take time — so do your research, read reviews, schedule some on-site visits, speak with their teams, and ensure the space is the perfect destination for your big day. Finally, make sure to also take into account the rehearsal dinner, ensuring the venue (or a different venue of your choice) has availability for before the day of the wedding.
4. A Wedding Isn’t a Party Without a Wedding Party…
Now we’re getting to the fun part — who is going to stand beside you on your big day? How are you going to ask them? Who is going to earn the coveted spot of Maid of Honour or Best Man? Go ahead and get the party started (literally).
5. It Takes a Village
Listen, planning a wedding is hardly a one-man or one-woman show (haven’t we learned anything from 90 Day Fiancé?). Once you have your budget, date, venue and wedding party set, along with a binder full of inspiration, decide what kind of help you need while working to bring your ideas to life. Research wedding planners, photographers, videographers, bands, florists, vendors, officiants (and of course family members) to ensure you have the right team of people helping you every step of the way.
6. Choose Your Vendors, and Your Cake
Speaking of help, the vendors you work with will play an undeniably pivotal role in the execution of your ceremony. Did you know you should book your caterer and order your cake 10 months in advance? From the food to the flowers, the music, the decor and more, give yourself ample time to select the vendors that are best suited to the ceremony you’ve envisioned. The good news is, there’s no shortage of ‘Wedding vendor booking timelines’ out there to ensure you don’t leave anything to the eleventh hour, and we’ve even linked one here for you. Oh and, don’t forget to order the cake, that part is important.
7. Tackle the Guest List
Keeping in mind the capacity of your selected venue, it’s time to finalize your guest list. Family members and loved ones, friends, co-workers and so on — these are the guests who will help make your moment a forever memory.
8. Arrange Transportation
If your venue requires transportation for guests, make sure you confirm those arrangements well in advance so you can communicate that information to guests.
9. Set Up Your Registry
Your guests are going to be so excited to celebrate with you, which means they will quickly follow up with the question ‘Where are you registered?’. Setting up your registry ensures guests have access to a wealth of engagement and wedding gift ideas, which is a win-win for everyone.
10. The Perfect Union: Your Wedding and the World Wide Web
These days, making a website is easier than ever before, and it happens to be one of the most efficient ways to ensure all your guests are kept in the loop and have easy access to the information they need (instead of constantly going to the source: you). There are plenty of free providers such as weddingchannel.com that can help you create and publish the perfect wedding landing page, which should include the date and time(s), travel or accommodation information, registry information, and more.
11. Save the Date!
It’s official, everything is happening! The next step? Send out ‘save-the-date’ cards to your finalized guest list to ensure your VIP attendees can plan accordingly. After the Save the Date comes the official invitations, which should be sent six to eight weeks before the big day and will give you a clear idea of final numbers so you can formalize the seating chart, and share meal selections with your caterer.
12. Say Yes to the Dress
This is where things really start to feel real — say yes to the dress (and the tux, and of course the wedding party attire) and continue on your merry way to, you know, getting married.
13. Celebrate Your Big Day Before the Big Day
The good news? While you’re responsible for planning your wedding, your wedding party will likely take car of the other pre-wedding parties. Engagement parties, bachelor and bachelorette parties, wedding showers and more, it’s time for you to sit back and enjoy being the guest of honour.
14. Don’t Forget the Rings…
Perhaps one of the most important pre-wedding steps besides the attire, is the selection of wedding bands. What style will forever encapsulate your style and union?
15. Courthouse Wedding
It’s one thing to get married, but you also need to get legally married. Make sure you set aside time to obtain your marriage license (this process will marriage depending on where you live), keeping in mind associated waiting times.
16. The Ultimate Game of Chess
Keeping family and friend dynamics in mind, it’s time to officially set the seating chart. Who will sit next to who? It’s up to you to decide.
17. Lock It In
Everything is set, and your big day is finally approaching. It’s time to attend your final fittings, and confirm details with vendors who, by now, probably feel like your best friends following many months of close contact and intricate planning. From make-up and hair artists, to photographers, videographers, florists, and caterers (because what is a wedding without great food?), make sure you’ve confirmed any and all pertinent details of your wedding day with each of them, and that they have all the information (schedule etc.) they need to ensure your day runs smoothly.
Pro-Tip: Work with your vendors to compose a day-of timeline, taking into account each component of the day. Continue to loop vendors in and re-confirm this schedule as your wedding day approaches.
18. Toast Master
Which loved ones and members of your wedding partner will be giving a toast at your reception?
19. Don’t Forget the Vows, and the Honeymoon
Writing your vows is an especially special part of your pre-wedding process, and will represent a moment you’ll both never forget. The icing on the (wedding) cake? The honeymoon, of course! Take some time with your spouse-to-be to plan and book your post-wedding get-away.
20. Get Hitched!
It’s finally time, your big day is here! The planning and preparation is behind you, your hard work has paid off — it’s time to get married. Congratulations on your special day, enjoy every minute of it.