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Planning Your Wedding: The First 3 Steps

Posted by Moonlight Weddings on 1/11/2016

You knew from the moment you first locked eyes with your soul mate that you wanted to grow old with this person. Saying “Yes!” to the proposal? That decision was easy.

The next thousand or so decisions you’ll need to make now that you’re planning a wedding? They can get overwhelming. This could be the largest, most important social event you’ll ever plan. But, settling the three most important details right away can put you on the path to your ultimate dream wedding and keep you grounded when things get challenging. When everyone starts chiming in with helpful suggestions and well-intentioned opinions about how you should plan your day, you’ll have decided what you want and how you want it.

First, create your wedding vision. Before you can do anything else, you need to know what you truly want for your wedding. If you could have anything you wanted – the ceremony and reception you’ve dreamed up since you were little - what would that look like? How about your fiancé? Are you on the same page?

Would you like it small and intimate, or the event of the season for all of your friends and family? Casual mountaintop picnic? Black-tie ballroom gala? Simple toe-in-the-sand ceremony as the waves roll in? Once those major themes are decided, when the time comes to think about color schemes, centerpiece options and favors, you’ll be able to consider how they all tie back into your overall vision.

While it might seem like there is plenty of time to figure out the details, taking the time now to explore everything you’ve always wanted will give you a framework to base the smaller decisions on. Also, as you are bombarded with ideas, Pinterest boards, and advice from loved ones, remember your vision. You can use what works and toss out what doesn’t fit. Your wedding vision will serve as a touchpoint from the start and take you all the way down the aisle.

Next, begin to write out your guest list. The number of guests will affect every aspect of the event, from the venue size, to the price of centerpieces, stationery, and favors. You and your fiancé should talk to your families to identify who needs to be invited and who absolutely can’t be in the same room with Great-Aunt Ethel. Setting clear guidelines about things like how far into extended families you’ll go, plus-ones, and inviting children will help reduce tensions down the line while still keeping the list in check. You’ll also want to consider how to handle coworkers and exes. This post from Bridal Guide can help you tackle some of the trickiest guest dilemmas!

Finally, consider your budget. Without identifying how much you have to spend and where the money will come from, it’s impossible to really plan. Some expenses will seem obvious, like the venue, the caterer and your dress, but other factors such as tax and gratuities can sneak up on you. Factoring in help from family and your willingness to take on debt will enable you to decide where to scrimp and where to splurge. There are plenty of sample budgets available online to help you plan, but we particularly like this cost estimator.

Engagement is such an exciting time and it goes by fast – ironing out the most important details straight away can help you make the detailed decisions to come. Knowing what you both want from the event can ease tensions that may creep up and set up expectations for family and friends. When everyone is sharing ideas and your head is spinning, you can revisit these early commitments to guide you through the rest of the planning process.

 Planning Your Wedding: The First 3 Steps

 January 2016