A Roadmap to Planning Your Wedding
About the Author
Vicki is the founder of Weddings by Day, a considered wedding planning service offering couples a wide range of services for the hands on, to the hands off.
Vicki enjoyed planning her own wedding (and going through two postponements due to the dreaded pandemic) and supporting close friends and families with their weddings so much that she launched the business at the beginning of 2022.
Weddings by Day offers a number of services to ensure you get the wedding of your dreams - from the full planning service, to providing you with the handiest of toolkits so that you can plan your own wedding from start to finish with ease and enjoyment.
A Basic Roadmap to Planning Your Wedding
If you are here, then it means congratulations are in order…you’re engaged! You’re probably enjoying your newly engaged bubble, which really is a great time so make sure that you enjoy it!
Then the realization has hit that you now need to plan your wedding. A wedding that you have perhaps been dreaming of for most of your life, or something that you hadn’t really thought about at all. Where do you start?
It can be a minefield to know where to start, and what the key steps are to planning your perfect wedding without it taking over your life (too much!). It’s an exciting time for you, and you want to be able to enjoy it.
Here are my top six steps that all couple’s should stick to:
Whether you have had a vision in your head for many years, or not, the best place to start is by thinking of the design and theme of your wedding day.
This could feed into many important elements like the type of venue you want to book, the style of photographer you work with, stationery themes etc. So, before you start anything I suggest creating a mood board and deciding as a couple the route you want to go down.
Your theme can be anything you want. Popular themes for 2022 and 2023 include rustic, minimalist, bohemian, romantic, fairytale, glamorous - just to name a few.
This is the most important step when it comes to setting out your intentions for your day. You don’t want to jump in to booking a barn for your wedding venue and then decide that rustic just isn’t the feel you want…
If you need help with this element of your planning process then the Small Helping Hand Service from Weddings by Day can be really helpful in this area. This doesn’t only provide you with mood boarding and designs for your day, but also a handy toolkit of templates and advice to plan your perfect day.
The topic that all couple’s want to avoid but it should be step two on your roadmap to planning your wedding - your budget!
There is no point enquiring at venues and then later down the line figuring out that it’s out of your price range. Although money conversations can be challenging, it’s important to have this conversation as a couple up front. It’s also worth speaking to your families to see if they are able to/if they want to contribute any money towards your wedding at this stage - get all the money conversations out on the table.
The Small Helping Hand Service from Weddings by Day includes a handy, and very detailed, budget template to help you get on your way.
Get in touch with those vendors that you really cannot have a wedding without. Assess what type of vendors they may be - do you have your heart set on a videographer for example that fits with your theme? Or a venue that you’ve dreamt about and will help you bring your vision to life? Or a make-up artist that you have worked with before and you know will bring out your best-self on the day?
The venue is the most important thing to get locked down as early in your wedding planning journey as possible. If you have three or four vendors that you know you want to have on the day, then make sure they can all do your date before you lock anything in with deposits.
Be prepared to be flexible on your wedding date to get all of your top vendors that are non-negotiable. Then you can work other vendors for the smaller things around them.
In this step, you should also be considering how you will get married. Do you want a religious ceremony at a church - in which case you will need to ensure the church and your venue are free on the same date? Or do you want a civil ceremony - and can that take place at your venue? Are their registrars available on your wedding date at the time you want to get married.
The all important guest list! By this point, you should have a venue locked down, so you know how many people it can hold for the day and evening portions of your day (if you are deciding to separate your guests in this way). The venue will likely also have a minimum number of guests so think about the minimum and maximums when you are pulling your list together.
Everyone has different strategies for doing their guest list (and again there is a great, handy and detailed template available as part of all of our wedding services), but it’s best to create your list together as a couple. Remember, it’s about who YOU want at the wedding, and not who everyone else wants there (unless they are contributing a significant portion of the budget!).
Once the guest list is sorted, you can start confirming stationery quantities including the save the dates and/or invitations and also catering!
Tell your guests when and where you are getting married by designing beautiful save the dates and/or invitations that fit in with your theme that you determined in step one. In terms of timing, save the dates should go out as early as possible, or as early as you like. Ideally, 12 months before your wedding. Invitations should then be sent 4-6 months before your wedding date with the finer details.
These timings change if you are getting married abroad as your guests may need longer to plan.
All the fun details bits can start now that the fundamental areas are covered. You can start thinking of those additional design elements of the day and those details that will make your day more personal for you and your guests.
Think about your wedding dress/outfits, flowers, on-the-day stationery, how will you dress your tables, decide on catering menus and drinks, wedding favors, etc. The list of all the lovely extras could go on for days. Don’t leave this too late, but this should be left until all the fundamental steps have been taken.
You should also now discuss with your venue the timings of your day in detail - by this point you should have already agreed on a ceremony time but it’s now time to confirm seating times for the wedding breakfast, cutting of the cake, first dance, etc. and confirm this with all of your booked vendors.
There are obviously a lot more than six steps that go into planning a wedding - and each of these steps takes real time and consideration - but these are the basic elements that should make up any wedding planning roadmap. We absolutely love planning weddings, but what we love more is helping and empowering couples to plan their own weddings with our handy advice and toolkits. Take a look at our website for all of our services and find what is right for you.