You’re Engaged! Now what? Our complete guide to planning the wedding of your dreams.

He finally got down on one knee and asked you to be his wife. Whether you’ve been planning this moment since you were a child or just now starting on the wedding planning journey, we’ve got you covered with 9 things you need to check off your list.

How to plan a wedding

Regardless if you have 6 months to plan your wedding or 2 years, the steps are generally the same to pull together your special day.

Set a budget

Let’s be honest, this is probably the least fun aspect of wedding planning but it is the most important. Regardless of who is funding what – be it parents, grandparents or yourselves – knowing how much you can spend at the beginning will help you focus your wedding planning efforts. Your budget will dictate so much of your day but it doesn’t have to limit you! Knowing how much you have to spend will allow you to break down that number into percentages for each element of your wedding and prioritize what means the most to you. If you can’t bear to cut anyone from your guest list, it means that you might not be able to get that designer wedding dress of your dreams or be dropped off at the ceremony by helicopter. The best way to manage your budget is to allocate a percentage of what you have to spend on each element.

Talk to your groom about shared ideas and wants

It’s important to get on the same page with your groom before the planning begins. Sure it’s assumed that every girl has a vision of her wedding from the time she was a little girl but did your soon-to-be husband have expectations too? Does he want to get married at halftime of his alma mater’s football game? Does he just want to know what time to be where and let you handle all the details? Now is the time to get on the same page. There are a lot of ways your can include the groom in the day of activities even if he doesn’t want to have to do much for the planning process.

Research locations and set a date

There is so much that goes into finding the perfect venue for your wedding day. You might have family obligations that dictate that you have your reception at your father’s country club or you want to be different and go with a venue that is more of a destination. Finding a venue is a lot like dating! Can they accommodate your ceremony desires, guest list, and bridal party? Is it in the right location? Have your questions prepared when you visit the potential sites so that you know how they can accommodate all of your requests.

Get inspired – define your style

Welcome to the wonderful world of Pinterest, where you can spend a full day browsing all sorts of amazing wedding imagery and ideas. It’s important to get a sense of what you want from the style, theme, and fashion. Get lost in the details and start to pin your favorite ideas to a wedding board and make sure to follow ours for tons of great ideas from all of our previous brides!

Make your bridal party list

A new trend in weddings has been “proposing” to your wedding party. Pinterest is full of creative ideas to ask your besties to be by your side during your special day. It’s important to make this happen as soon as you can so that your friends can plan and budget all the bridal festivities to make your day as special as possible.

Find a wedding planner

A wedding planner can be an integral part of your wedding day. They can be hired to just be there on the day of your wedding and handle all the details of the day. They can also be hired to be more of a wedding designer, guiding you through all your vendor meetings and details to make sure that your vision comes to life. Find someone that you connect with and is within your price range. Don’t know where to begin the search? Ask your wedding venue for a list of their preferred vendors!

Dress shop!

It’s time to stop binging “Say Yes To  The Dress” and get out there and do it for yourself. Bridal boutiques do a great job in making the dress shopping process enjoyable. Try on multiple styles and make sure to be aware of the dress manufacturer’s lead time so that you aren’t stressed out your dress won’t be done in time for the big day.

Create a registry

Not only is a wedding registry fun to put together, but it’s also a helpful guide for guests who want to do more than just write you a check for their gift. The wedding gift registry is an accepted way to really guide that favorite, yet quirky, Aunt of yours in her well-intended gift giving. Put down a wide variety of items and various price ranges so that there is something there for everyone. Don’t shy away from the big ticket items either, maybe your sorority sisters want to go in and get you something special. There are loads of options to put together your wedding registry. You can go to a traditional brick and mortar store, like Crate and Barrel, and choose a variety of items to add to your list. You can also create online registries from Amazon to Target, most stores offer an online option. Maybe you have a special need that you’d like your wedding guest to contribute to, like a honeymoon or downpayment on a home – sites like HoneyFund make that possible. Feel like you have everything you need for your new married life? Consider partnering with a charity that is close to your heart and have guest make a donation in your name.

Interview and book vendors

It takes a village to make a wedding spectacular. Finding and interviewing vendors is one of the most important steps to take, especially if you are doing the planning process without the aid of a wedding planner. Check with your venue as they might have restrictions and recommendations on who you can use.

Planning Resources

There is an app for nearly every aspect of wedding planning. From a simple countdown to an app that helps you arrange your guests at tables, there are a slew of options to help you stay on top of all of your wedding plans and keep you from getting too overwhelmed with all the details. Some of our favorites include: Tie The Knot, WeddingHappy, iwedplanner, Joy and Wedding Countdown. 

Once you have these big things in place, the rest will start to fall in line as your date gets closer. In the meantime, enjoy the process!

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