Your significant other has just asked for your hand in marriage, and you’re over the moon about it! After showing off the ring to everyone you know, you’re excited to start planning the perfect wedding. If you have opted not to hire a wedding coordinator, the planning process can be a little stressful, and it’s tough to figure out where to begin. Follow these simple guidelines to get your planning off on the right foot and avoid running into major problems down the line.
Determine your budget
This is the single most important detail that needs to be hashed out before you begin planning. Your budget determines how many guests you can invite, where you will hold your reception, and the type of vendors you will hire. Sit down with your fiancé and discuss how much money you are willing to spend on your wedding, but be reasonable. Don’t wipe out your savings account or put yourself in debt to throw a blow-out bash.
Write out a guest list
You don’t need to know exactly who you are going to invite at this point, but you probably have a rough idea. You and your fiancé should each make a list of must-have guests, such as family members and close friends. Combine the lists and check out the total number; if you have room in your budget, make a second list of people who you would like to include (i.e., co-workers, neighbors, friends you haven’t seen in a while). You may also want to decide whether or not you will allow your guests to bring a plus one; note, however, that spouses and fiancés of guests should always be invited.
Pick a few dates
Don’t set the wedding date too early or you run the risk of missing out on your perfect ceremony or reception venue. Instead, decide on your favorite time of year and choose a small handful of dates that would work well for you. It’s less likely that your favorite spot will be booked, and you can set the exact date once you’ve found your ideal venue. Here’s a tip: if your budget is tight, choose to hold your wedding from November through March and ask if the venue will give you a small off-season discount.