How to Begin Planning Your Wedding
Photo by Jackie Averill Photography
The holidays tend to be a popular time to get engaged. Given the current state of the world, there is even more to think about when figuring out when you actually want to hold your wedding. 2021 is jam packed with couples rescheduling from 2020, but that doesn't mean it can't happen if that is what you want. Many couples are opting for 2022, but it is a very personal decision. Today we are going to talk about ways to kick off your wedding planning as well as things to consider when selecting your date.
2021 vs 2022 (or even 2023)
When you want to have your wedding is a very personal decision and there are a lot of factors to consider. If you are looking to start a family right away, maybe you don't want to wait until 2022 and that's totally fine! If you have a lot of out of state and older family members, maybe you are feeling a little on edge and waiting until 2022 makes more sense for you- also totally fine!
Here's what we recommend at this point:
Weight the pros and cons as they relate to you and your partners plans as well as family and friends.
If you are considering a 2021 wedding, start by getting a sense of availability, not just with venues, but with vendors too. Talk to venues about outdoor options. Make sure vendors are actually available that you'd be happy with- your vendor team is a huge part of making your day run smoothly. Talk to them about what would happen if you have to reschedule. Finally, be open to a weekday wedding! The more flexible you can be, the more likely you'll be able to make your 2021 wedding a reality.
If you are thinking 2022 or beyond, you should still plan to get a move on your wedding planning. We aren't saying that you need to dive right into the little details, but this is the earliest we've ever seen people booking vendors. That said, we'd recommend that you begin booking your vendors as soon as you have a date. This includes wedding planner, photographer, videographer, band/DJ, florist, hair and makeup. Transportation and rentals shouldn't be far behind!
Now let's get started
The first thing we recommend, even before you begin to look at venues is to figure out a rough guest list. The guest list will impact the size of your venue as well as your overall budget. If you are inviting 200 people, that doesn't mean you need to budget for 200, but we encourage couples to still budget for more than they expect to come. It's always nice to have a little extra savings at the end. Head over to our Wedding Planning Guide and check out the article on Developing your Guest List for more details.
Get that Budget in Order
This is a big one guys! Please, please don't start looking at venues until you have an idea of how much money you are able to and willing to spend on your wedding. If you look at a venue before your know your budget and then find out you can't afford the venue you are in love with, that can be very upsetting. Additionally, if you book a venue assuming you will "make it work" and then leave very little money left for hiring your vendors, that isn't helping the situation either. We recommend figuring out your total budget in advance of your venue search. You can assume that about 50% of your budget will go towards your venue. If you are choosing to do a tented wedding, your 50% should include your rentals and catering, not just the small rental fee for the land. For more details on developing your budget, head over to our Wedding Planning Guide and check out the article on Creating Your Budget for more details
Selecting A Venue
Once it is time to look at venues, we'd recommend reaching out to venues via phone or email to find out rough pricing (to make sure they are within your budget) and availability before visiting. Venues will be able to share pricing in more detail once you meet with them because there will be a lot of different tiers, but it is important to at least get a sense for their pricing in case it is out of budget for your total guest count. From there, don't overwhelm yourself with visits. Start off by selecting 2-3 venues to visit and go from there. Once you start looking at them, you'll likely quickly figure out things you like and don't and can adjust from there. head over to our Wedding Planning Guide and check out the article on Booking a Venue for more details. If you are about to head out on some venue tours and would like to check out our free list of questions to consider when touring, let us know HERE.
Once your venue is booked and you have a date, it's time to start selecting your vendors. The fun is just getting started so pop the champagne and start celebrating the love you have for each other!