New bride basics: Absolute first steps in planning a wedding

What are the absolute first steps in planning a wedding? This is a crash course in those first few moments of the wedding planning process so all you newly engaged couples avoid becoming overwhelmed. Below we have four simple steps to help you get started in planning your wedding.

1. Get organized. Basic organization tips for new brides:

The first step before jumping in is to make sure you are organized. Once you start reaching out to vendors it may be hard to manage the back and forth emails, phone calls, proposals, contracts, and general information sent your way.

Create a separate email address just for wedding planning purposes. Keeping your planning emails separate from personal emails helps in two big ways. It ensures important emails won’t get lost among your normal email messages, and it keeps your personal email free of bombardment. Vendor spam is real, and unnecessary wedding planning emails that you may receive after your wedding is over can be mildly annoying. A purpose driven email address dedicated to the wedding planning process is ideal. It’s nice, clean and super smart. Just remember, if you sign up for any wedding planning sites or go to any wedding expos and bridal shows, they will ask for your email address — so be sure to have a somewhat memorable wedding email address. We have tips on that too!

But next, be sure to create a binder or electronic folder that will hold all of your important information pertaining to your wedding planning. Within your email, you may want to categorize or create unique folders; e.g., Inspiration, Proposals, Contracts, Budget, Guest List, etc. It will be good to prepare a basic structure in your new email account (or binder if you’re feeling traditional) so you can remain organized. Once you receive information you will need someplace to store it.

2. Choose a tentative / ideal wedding day

Once you have some basic organization going, it’s time to pick your ideal wedding day. Sit down with your soon-to-be spouse and talk through when you’d like to get married; e.g., spring, summer, and in what year. Once you have a preferred year and season, target a few dates that would be your “ideal” day. This is your tentative, preliminary day that you’ll want to share with vendors. When you start meeting with venues they will ask you what your wedding date is. If you have a few dates in mind, venues will be able to more easily provide their availability and pricing. Having a preliminary date really speeds up the planning process.

3. Estimate your guest count

This is KEY to securing the right venue. If you start planning your wedding without understanding your guest count you could book a venue that may not work. The guest count is extremely important for making a budget too, so you really don’t want to mess this up. At the beginning of your planning process, the guest count does not have to be perfect or exact, you just need to understand what kind of range you will be expecting. If you remember nothing else from this post, remember to estimate the guest count and pick a tentative wedding date. These are by far the easiest ways to get started.

4. Create a budget

This step is often missed because many couples are really excited and want to get started right away by booking their vendors. If you skip making a budget, it’s easy to over spend and not have a good understanding of what your overall expense is for the wedding. Make sure that both you and your soon-to-be spouse (and anyone helping pay for the wedding) are in agreement on the budget. If you are unsure of how much something may cost, do research to see what the usual average is.

You can also ask vendors and request quotes to get a price range for your area and the time of year you are looking to get married. Remember, prices can vary based on the season and date you’re planning on; which is why an ideal wedding date is important. After the budget is completed, you will feel confident going into vendor meetings knowing what the budget is for that particular vendor / service.

Once you have completed these four steps, you are ready to start reaching out to vendors and creating the vision of your wedding day!