Wedding Planning 101

There is no one magic recipe for every couple when it comes to planning a wedding. We are all unique - we have our own timelines, traditions, desires, and dreams. So when it comes time to layout your plan, I always recommend starting with a conversation with your partner. Family members and friends can be great resources when it comes to the details, but ultimately this day is about you and your partner, so first and foremost, you both need to be on the same page. This will set you up for success later in the planning process.

I'm engaged! But now what??

First off - CONGRATS! Enjoy this moment. This is a special moment that will only happen once and you should enjoy the fact that you and your partner are strong enough to want to take the next step in your relationship together - to show the world that you are ready to be committed and continue being committed to each other.


Ok. Ok. If you're anything like me, you savored your moment with your partner and now you are just too excited and ready to get to picking florals, and your color scheme, and venue, and dress, and .... (getting ahead of myself here).

So you're ready to start planning. Have you talked with your partner about what they are looking for when it comes to a wedding? These are the questions I recommend starting with:

  1. Who do we want to invite?
  2. PAUSE

I recommend ALWAYS starting with this first question - "Who do we want to invite?". And go nuts. List out literally anyone and everyone you can possibly think of that both you and your partner would want to invite. Take a look at that list then continue to the next questions.

  1. What size wedding do we want?
  2. Would we prefer an elopement with just us or maybe a few close friends?

Now take a look at your "dream" guest list again. Does it jive with how you answered the above questions? Maybe you listed 300 people, but you and your partner just decided you'd rather elope. That's totally fine! If this is the case, take a highlighter and go through your guest list and highlight your top 20 guests. If you want to elope, this is likely still too many, but baby steps...

  1. Out of these people, who are our must haves for invites?

This may seem like a lot of upfront planning, but here's why it's important - you will choose your venue not only based on aesthetic and location, but also size. The venue must be able to fit the number of expected guests you have coming because if it can't - you'll run into other problems down the road. Venue size limitations are usually due to physical size and safety limitations. And I promise you don't want to try and overpack your venue - you need space to dance!


Talk to your partner about location. Do you want to get married locally or make it more of a destination wedding? Now it's time to start researching venues! Go and see as many venues as you can. Here is a GREAT list of all of the questions you should ask when shopping for a venue Shutterfly's 75 Questions to Ask When Booking a Wedding Venue. I cannot recommend looking at this enough. These are all things I wish I had thought about when planning my own wedding and I always recommend my clients take a look at it. This resource breaks the questions down into multiple categories including general questions, setup and breakdown, decorations and rentals, vendors and staffing, entertainment, food and drinks, payment and insurance, and logistics. If you ask these questions of every venue, you'll be able to easily compare your options and decide if that fits within your guest list goals.

The venue is booked!

Yay! Congrats! This is a huge step and now you can start to decide on your other vendors. Does your venue have a list of "preferred" vendors? If so, that's always a great place to start. These are vendors who have worked with the venue a lot in the past which means they are familiar with the layout and rules there. If none of these vendors really match your style, that's more than ok. I recommend doing some googling or looking at theKnot vendor list. You'll be able to see examples of their work, pricing, and possibly availability.

Don't feel rushed by this process. This is really where your vision for you day comes together and you want to make sure you are choosing vendors that match your style and are easy to work with. I personally used theKnot Checklist when planning my wedding which really helped me stay organized and on target!

The most important thing to remember is to enjoy the process. Take it step-by-step and if you find yourself getting overwhelmed, take a break and enjoy a fun day out with your partner. Also remember to lean on your friends, bridal party, and family. They are all there to support you and celebrate this exciting time in your life.

Happy planning!

XOXO Harmonic Light