If you are planning an elaborate wedding the process can get overwhelming. To avoid undue stress, it’s a good idea to start with an outline of what needs to be done and when it needs to be done by.

But even planning a checklist can be more than some can bear. With so much to do, it can be hard to figure out where to start.

Well, never fear. Here is a step by step guide on how to plan a wedding that goes off without a hitch.

Set a Budget

This is a good first step because it lets you know how much you can spend on vendors, venues etc. before proceeding with the selection process. When planning a budget there’s a lot to consider so you may want to sit down with parents and other contributors to come up with those magic numbers.

Decide on the Style of the Wedding

A lot of weddings have a theme. A theme can be something as all-encompassing as having the wedding party dress up as characters in your favorite sci-fi television show or it can be dictated by a color scheme or décor trend. But big or small, the style you decide on will come into play in other decision-making processes so this is another step you will want to take early on.

Figure Out Your Guest List and Your Wedding Party

The size of your wedding will also play a major role in the venue and vendors you select, the amount of food you serve and more. That’s why it’s best to start thinking about your guest list before moving on to other things.

Decide on a Date

Before finding a venue, you should have some idea of when you would like to host the wedding. Couples must have a bit of flexibility starting with a few dates to choose from. That way, it won’t be a deal breaker if the venue doesn’t have a certain date available.

When choosing a date, couples should think about what will work best for themselves and their guests keeping work schedules, holidays and family obligations in mind. And while spring weddings are popular, couples may want to stick to off seasons as these may be the best times to get low prices and have their choice of vendors and venues.

Choose a Venue

Now that you have decided on the style and size of your wedding and narrowed down some dates, you can feel confident in finding a venue that will work for you. 

Read online reviews of venues to make sure they have the accommodations necessary to work for your wedding. An in-person visit will also help you get a good idea of what to expect.

Most venues will require that you sign a contract before confirming your date. Read all the fine print to make sure there are no unexpected surprises.

Start Your Registry

Once relatives hear you are getting married, they may want to buy you gifts early on or they may want to purchase engagement gifts. Starting a registry early on will ensure you get gifts you are happy with.

Create a Wedding Website

A website will help keep guests in the loop about everything that’s happening regarding your wedding including date, location, travel, accommodations and more. Creating a wedding web site early on will minimize the amount of questions you get from friends and relatives that are planning to attend eliminating some of the prewedding stress.

Book Vendors

There are many vendors included in the wedding planning process including caterers, musical entertainment and more. Couples should hire vendors early on so they can be sure to get their first choice.

Finalize the Guest List

You already have a good idea of who to invite. Now it’s time to review the list with those who are contributing financially to make sure everyone they want to invite is included and that the wedding doesn’t go over budget.

Send Save the Dates

If you send out invitations at this point, guests might forget about your wedding by the time the big day comes. On the other hand, if you send out invitations too late, they might already have other plans. 

A save the date is the perfect compromise because it lets guests know to keep the date clear, but it also gives you the option of sending actual invitations to serve as reminders as the date gets closer.

Purchase Wedding Attire

In order to find the perfect piece and have it properly fitted; you will want to purchase wedding attire well in advance.

Plan the Rehearsal Dinner

The rehearsal dinner is usually planned by the groom’s family but its not a good idea to hope they take care of this task and forget about it completely. Review all plans with them to make sure the venue is booked and take care of any other arrangements that need to be seen to.

Plan the Honeymoon

You may be caught up in the planning of your wedding, but don’t forget about the honeymoon. Now is a good time to make all the necessary travel arrangements to ensure your trip is perfect.

Plan Prewedding Events

If you are planning on having bachelor and bachelorette parties, an engagement party or any type of shower, now is a good time to start planning those.

Send Invitations

Wedding invitations should be sent out six to eight weeks before the wedding with an RSVP set two to three weeks before the big day.

Buy Wedding Bands

Wedding bands should be bought a couple of months before the wedding. That way the bride and groom can shop around to find something that fits their personal style. They will also have time to get the bands fitted if necessary.

Create a Seating Chart

Your wedding party will be much more organized if everyone knows where they will be seated. Keep relationships and family dynamics in mind to make a seating chart that will be conducive to a wedding with a great flow and energy.

Obtain a Wedding License

Don’t forget this essential step! Every state has different laws regarding wedding licenses so be sure to research beforehand so you everything will be in order when the big day comes.

Confirm Details with Vendors

A week or so before the wedding, reach out to all your vendors to make sure they know where to be when and to tie up any lose ends.

Get Married

Once your wedding day comes, relax and have as much fun as possible. There may be some slight hiccups, but don’t let that get in the way of enjoying your special day. Just breath, relax and look forward to spending the rest of your life with that special someone.

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