I got engaged earlier this year and am in the middle of planning our wedding for early 2022. We had a little over 14 months to plan our wedding which was a little bit longer than I would have liked to plan but given some other life events the timing just worked out that way. I think the ideal timing is about a year of planning.
- Don’t start right away. This is the first thing I tell all of my friends who are recently engaged. The minute you start there is no turning back. Yes, there are lulls in the planning but it never actually ends until the wedding comes so take some time to just enjoy being engaged and not worry about all that it is to come.
- Talk with your partner about what you care about. There is a lot that goes into a wedding so talking about if you want a big or small wedding, a destination wedding, a party, certain timing, etc. One of the most important things you can do ahead of planning is agreed on a budget, a wedding can get out of control in terms of dollars spent very quickly so coming to some agreement upfront will go a long way. Plan a wedding within your means. Other things like venue/location, guest list, food/alcohol, linens, rentals, paper, favors, wedding parties, music etc. are important but you can’t care about all of them so figuring out with each other what it is that you really care about and try to optimize for those.
- Decide on a planner. If you have the means to afford a planner to take care of everything and that’s what you want then you can go that route and start researching planners. They’ll take care of most of the long list of items that go into making a wedding happen. We ended up with a planner who handles month of coordination + design/rentals (our venue is BYO everything) so that meant a lot of the bigger things we were on our own for which leads to the next step…
- Find a checklist that you like. There are so many out there and each of them advises more or less the same thing so just find one and stick to it whether it’s from your planner, online, etc.
- Make a spreadsheet. This is how I do things so it might not be the best format for everyone but I have one spreadsheet with A LOT of tabs that includes everything from our guest list and addresses to every vendor I’ve contacted to the ones we are actually working with. I continuously update this with new information I get and make sure that as things are finalized it’s reflected on the sheet. I also make use of my calendar to remind me of important dates, milestones, etc.
- Family. As much as you can figure out upfront what your families want to be a part of in the planning process. Figure out ways to include them in the things they care about but also be clear when you want to make decisions on your own. If you are going to delegate a job out to someone, delegate it, and don’t get involved every step of the way.
- Have fun, make it personal, and don’t get wrapped up in the craziness. Wedding planning can be incredibly stressful if you let it consume your time and obsess over every detail. Constantly check back into the things you and your partner cared about to see if you’ve achieved them. If perfect signage wasn’t on your list and you’re worried about your budget, don’t worry about hiring a calligrapher, using printing or your own writing. If you and your partner aren’t caked people but like pies or candy, no need to stick with tradition get what you both enjoy and speak to you. At the end of the day, a wedding is really about you and your partner, your love, your vows and the people you’ve chosen to surround yourself with…the rest of it is just the “nice to have” stuff.