wedding planning: the big things

Well gals, it’s February (the honorary month of love) and engagement season is starting to wind down. So I figured, it’s the perfect time to share some wedding planning tips for all you bride-to-be’s.

Now, just fair warning, I am no award-winning wedding planner, but I have planned my own wedding. Which should count for something. Trust me, it’s no small task no matter how big or small your big day is.

Okay, quick back story.

J and I got married on 6.17.17 in Tyler, Texas. Just for reference, we had about 140 people and $20,000 to spend, which nowadays is on the lower end of budgets. Crazy, I know.

But let’s start from the beginning. So, you just got engaged and you’re like “where do I start?”.

1. Create a Pinterest board.

Sounds kinda silly, but even if you have ideas brewing in your head, it’s going to be so helpful to vendors, yourself, and family if you have some visual of your ideas.

I really only used my Pinterest board in the beginning because I started to realize that somethings I really liked were never in the budget for me. I wanted to be realistic and not constantly get my hopes up, but still used it to visualize things like flowers, stationary, and overall themes. Here’s my wedding board for some inspiration. Also, you can pin any of my wedding pictures to your board by clicking the image and hitting the “pin” button.

2. Download a planning app or buy a planning book.

There are a couple different ways to go about this step, but it’s a crucial step. I downloaded The Knot’s planning app, but my mom also bought me a planning book. They are both super helpful and it just depends on your preference. I loved having the book because I could cut out inspiration pictures and I even taped ribbon of my wedding colors in it. I’m linking two wedding planning books that have great reviews and are super detailed, here and here.

  3. Make a “must-haves” list.

Before you dive into planning, I highly recommend you sit down with your fiance and create a list of must-haves for your big day. Brainstorm what you can’t live without. Whether you’ve always wanted a certain videographer, venue, or florist it’s so important that you make those known and plan around your “must-haves”. No matter how indecisive you might be, you will never stray from the staple items you feel are important for your wedding.

My must-haves were:
  1. Killer flowers. Here’s my florist.
  2. A venue that perfectly fit my style. Here’s my venue.
  3. An artistic photographer. I’m biased, but mine is a gem and you can see her work here.
  4. An amazing video. You can watch mine here.

And Jackson’s only must-have was alcohol. Shocking.

*queue killer flowers*

This is super helpful for so many reasons and will help create your budget for everything else once you know how much your “must-haves” will cost. If you aren’t sure what you’re not going to be able to live without, do some research. Watch some wedding videos or look at some real weddings to get inspo.

 4. Make your first big decision.

Some people buy their dress first or lock down their date and venue, but whatever your first big decision is just do it. It’s the kick start to your wedding, an exciting moment, and you can center the rest of your details around this big decision. I chose my venue first and it made it easier to start planning all the smaller details. I knew what I would need/want based on my venue. It made it easier to pick a dress because I knew the vibe of my venue and the date I had reserved too. I used The Knot to find my wedding venue and it’s a super helpful research tool.

There are so many venues popping up everywhere which is great because you have more options, but can also make it harder to choose. My biggest advice is to make sure the venue serves your vision. If you aren’t wanting to spend a lot on flowers, maybe look at venues with pretty architecture that don’t need a bunch of flowers. Or if you are thinking a small, laid-back wedding is for you, don’t pick a grand ballroom that won’t look full with everyone in it.

There’s a lot to consider when choosing a venue, but ultimately you’ll fall in love with the perfect space. Here are two articles that are super helpful in choosing a venue, here and here.

pro tip: Don’t get stressed over following every step of every guide throughout this process. Not everything is going to be relevant to what you’re planning, but that’s okay. Trust yourself.

Next week, I’m sharing how to make your wedding personal and how to add in some unique details. Can’t wait to share with y’all.

cheers,

caitlin

4 comments

  1. You’re wedding looked romantic! I had a planner and a wedding coordinator but I like to plan myself so I pretty much knew everything I wanted when I got married. I like this post because it is truly, very helpful! and something I did myself during the planning. Your flowers were gorgeous!

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