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After a couple gets engaged in a romantic movie, a montage usually covers their wedding planning experience. There are cute shots of the couple laughing over slices of cake, trying on wedding clothes and even taking classes to choreograph their first dance.
That’s great for movies, but couples often experience much more stress after getting engaged. Check out these tips to learn how to start planning a wedding and enjoy every moment leading up to your big day.
1. Daydream With Your Partner
People often say wedding days are all about the bride, but your partner should also feel like an essential part of the planning process. Daydream with them while you’re eating dinner or out for a walk. It’s a low-stress way to throw ideas around without committing to anything right away.
Experts say 86% of couples experience physical symptoms of stress or anxiety while planning their weddings. Avoid those uncomfortable symptoms by discussing your wedding in low-stakes environments while your plans become more concrete.
2. Estimate Your Budget
The budget is the biggest driver of wedding decisions. You’ll narrow down options for vendors, venues and dresses by setting a spending limit. Every couple has to reflect on how much they can save before their chosen date to determine their maximum budget.
Once you have an estimated budget, play with the numbers. Divide them into categories like your venue, wedding planner, dress or other significant factors. You should also calculate what you’d need for more minor details. Decorations often cost brides thousands of dollars when they include things like centerpieces, signs and aisle markers.
You don’t need to know anything for sure so early in your planning experience. The important thing is to know your absolute maximum limit for spending to prevent any financial mishaps.
3. Consider Your Guest List
Your guests will need save-the-dates and invitations, which are two separate purchases if you choose traditionally printed cards. Inviting 20 people may only cost a few hundred dollars for both types of invitations, but a wedding with 100 guests or more will be more costly.
In addition to invitations, your guests will need drinks, meals, second helpings, desserts and thank-you gifts. Setting a limit for your guest list before you start adding names is another way to support your budget.
4. Select Your Favorite Songs
Whether your wedding music comes from a playlist on your phone or a DJ, you’ll need to select your favorite songs for the day. Your partner should help you find the songs that will play while you walk down the aisle, enter your rehearsal space and have your first dance. Since your wedding day will last at least six hours from vows to your send-off, selecting more songs is always better than choosing only a few.
5. Create a Delicious Menu
You’ll likely reach out to caterers for your wedding dinner if your guest list isn’t small enough for a homecooked meal. Before researching restaurants that can serve your favorite foods, you and your partner will have to plan a delicious menu that accommodates your guests’ food allergies and dietary preferences.
Dieticians recommend considering the following factors to create an inclusive wedding rehearsal menu:
- Gluten-free food
- Nut-free food
- Dairy-free food
- Vegetarian options
- Vegan options
You can always include a section on your RSVP cards for guests to indicate their dietary concerns. They’ll return them at least two months before your big day, leaving plenty of time to update your menu with your caterer.
6. Book Vendors Quickly
The most important thing for couples to remember is that wedding vendors typically have full weekends. Brides sometimes book their venues, officiants and photographers a year in advance. Booking your selected vendors quickly will ensure that you don’t have to change your date or sacrifice your preferred wedding experts to make your big day possible.
Start Planning Your Wedding
Now that you know how to start planning a wedding, talk with your partner. Throw ideas around over a bottle of wine or a date out in town. Discussing potential options in relaxed environments will help keep stress at bay while you book vendors and plan the best wedding possible.
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