Congratulations on your engagement! You may be asking yourself..now what? You and your partner may already have your own timeline but if you’re not sure what decisions need to be made, now is a good time to get organized. Whether you’re getting married a few months or a year from now, here’s a helpful list of things to consider to get your wedding planning journey started!
1. Set the Date
This one seems so easy but can be the most complicated decision for a newly engaged couple. Do you take in holidays into account? Will your family be able to join you? Do you fee like a spring or winter bride? There’s a lot to consider here. Start with the dates that are important to you as a couple, like your first date or your anniversary and go from there.
2. Have the Budget Talk
Not the most fun of discussions, but having a budget (or a basic idea of how much you want to spend on your wedding) is an absolute must! Consider if your parents or future parents-in-law are contributing, or if you’ll need to save ahead of your wedding date. This is also a good time to talk about what kind of wedding you want like having a civil ceremony, small backyard wedding or large reception.
3. Register for a Wedding License
Make sure to check city hall or the local hall of records for your state’s guidelines and laws when it comes to weddings. Most of this information is available online but you can also call to see if you need to schedule and appointment for your license. Typically, you’ll need to get married 30-90 days from the time your license is issued so be aware of any deadlines and fees. (Also, don’t forget to turn in your signed copy after the wedding!)
4. Guest List + Sending out the Invites
Now that you have a date and a budget, it’s time to go over the guest list. You probably know who you’d like to invite but you’ll want to compare lists with your S.O. Generally, save the dates are sent 4-6 months in advance and formal wedding invitations are sent 6-8 weeks before your wedding date. Make sure to include a time for your guests to RSVP, typically 3-4 weeks so there’s no stress about who’ll be in attendance.
5. Pick the Venue (+ Vendors!)
If you’ve fallen in love with a venue then you’re set but one of the biggest mistakes couples make is forgetting to consider the number of people invited. For example, a community garden might be able to accommodate more people than say, a wedding cruise. Having an idea of your guest count will inform your venue choice. Keep in mind that you can always plan your reception to be in a bigger space after your wedding ceremony. Be sure to check if your venue has a list of preferred vendors and decorations already included.
6. The Fun Stuff - Find the Dress
Finally, it’s on to the fun stuff like finding your dresses, jumpsuit, tux, or suit! If you’re just starting thinking about your wedding, start a Pinterest board that you can share with your bridal party later and save any ideas that fit your wedding style.
7. Food and Cake
Honestly, our favorite part of wedding planning is cake tastings. So many yummy choices to make. You can also choose to have a whole dessert bar of cupcakes, donuts and special treats! Food options will depend on your venue choice but we love the latest trend of having a taco truck or pot-luck weddings.
8. Vendors, Photographers and More!
This next step is to hire any vendors or day-of-event planners you may want to include, and of course a fantastic photographer and/or videographer to capture your special day. If your venue didn’t have a list of rules, think about how you’d like to decorate and order any linens / centerpieces to match your theme or style.
9. Last Minute Details
Whew, almost done! Take time to go over any last minute details like post-wedding plans (honeymoon or wedding moon), wedding favors, music playlists and finalize RSVP lists and vendor delivery times.
10. Get Married in Style!
It’s finally time to celebrate! We wanted to include this on the list because of course, wedding planning can feel like a marathon no matter how chill of a bride or groom you are. Your #bridetribe is going to be there for you in stressful times! Just keep in mind, there’s a wedding at the end and a beautiful new adventure waiting for you!
Keep in mind, this list is not a set of rules but more guidelines to help you. If you plan on hiring a wedding coordinator or event planner, be sure to discuss this list with them. Being on the same page with you, your SO and anyone helping with your special day will make any party planning that much easier!
We hope this inspires your wedding planning journey! Be sure to help our brides-to-be and share your wedding planning ideas in the comments or tag us @BalsaCircle or #BalsaCircle on Instagram with tips or questions!