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Planning your wedding should be fun. However, all too often, brides-to-be feel pressure to host the perfect wedding – with no past experience and no clear idea of what they want. Unless you’re a professional wedding planner, navigating wedding planning can be stressful and full of surprises. Many newly engaged couples start with a wedding planning checklist to organize their event.
However, these checklists are all different and can be overwhelming in themselves. Thankfully, planning checklists don’t have to be stressful. Here’s everything you need to know to understand and create a personal wedding planning checklist that works for you.
Start With the Big Picture
Before you start looking at checklists, take a moment to imagine your wedding day. As you walk down the aisle, how do you feel? What’s your favorite part? What moments do you hope guests remember? Write down your answers to these questions to get an idea of the event experience you want to create.
It’s easy to get lost in the details, but details are really just steps toward your overarching goal. In this case, the most important thing on your wedding day is that you get married. The next important thing is up to you! For some brides, good photos or a fun party are the next important thing.
Some couples host 300 people, while others have an intimate family wedding in their backyard. Some even elope! If you’re a traditionalist, you might plan a bouquet toss, read traditional vows and have a bridal party. However, you don’t have to do any of these things.
Plan the Framework
Now that you have the big picture in mind, it’s time to take care of some important details. Before you start looking at vendors and venues, sit down with your significant other and build a budget together. Weddings can cost $3,000 or they can cost $30,000 – it all depends on what you want.
Typically, most of the wedding budget goes to the venue, catering and your photographer. This means that your guest list has a direct impact on your spending. The more people you invite, the pricier your wedding will be. Other expensive costs include the dress, decor and entertainment.
Spend your money on the things that matter most to you and skip the rest. After budgeting, the next step is to choose a date and book a venue. Start by choosing a season and then see what’s available so you have more options. Booking a venue goes hand in hand with drafting a guest list.
Even elopements require help from other people. After you choose the type of wedding you want, the next step is to contact everyone who will be involved. Check your wedding date with important family members before final booking and send out save the dates and invitations in plenty of time.
You should book your vendors as early as possible to ensure other people don’t book them up. Vendors include photographers, caterers, your DJ, musicians, makeup artists, florists, your officiant, venue coordinator and anyone else who’s helping you throw the wedding.
If you’re doing anything more complicated than an elopement, you should also book a wedding coordinator. They’ll ensure everything runs smoothly and you don’t feel worried on your wedding day. If you’re on a tight budget, give this job to a family member you trust.
Wrap Up Details
As you get closer to the wedding date, you’ll need to spend time organizing the nitty-gritty details. Choose wedding colors, order bridal party attire and plan your honeymoon. You can get a final head count and organize a seating chart.
Create a day-of timeline and share it with your vendors so everyone is on the same page. Now is also the time to decide on your wedding music, table decor and lighting. Allow yourself time and room in your budget to make some last-minute decisions as you think of more necessary details.
If you want to write your partner a special letter, draft your own vows or give gifts to your wedding party, now is the time. The sooner you can get things done, the easier your wedding week will be. You don’t want to be making flower arrangements and last-minute shopping the night before your wedding! Knock out your wedding planning checklist tasks well in advance.
Care for Yourself
As you’re crunching numbers and making decisions, don’t get lost in the details. Remember, the goal of your wedding is to get married and make fun memories along the way. The details are just tools to create the wedding you want.
Whatever you do, make sure you plan some margin for your wedding week. You need to eat, sleep and rest to enjoy the day fully. The more tasks you can delegate beforehand, the less you’ll have to think about on the actual day. Make it what you want and enjoy the process!
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