Wedding Planning: Where to Begin?
Photo: Cupcakes Photography
You’re engaged! Or maybe you’re just thinking about getting engaged, but in any case, a wedding is on the horizon, and YOU are in the driver’s seat. At first, it seems fun and easy, “Ooh! I’ll Pin that and screengrab that,” but then…”Uh, how do I even find an officiant?” “Wait! When do I need to get my wedding license?!” Yeah, we feel ya.
Most couples have never planned a large event before, let alone a wedding, and it can be a lot. There are a hundred things to consider, big decisions, and pressure from loved ones. Take a deep breath. Relax. You’ve got this, and you’re not in it alone. NOAH’S leads the event venue industry, so we’ve seen couples pull off all sorts of weddings, and we’re happy to share our expertise with you.
So, shake off those wedding jitters and listen up—well, read up—because I’m going to tell you exactly how to start planning your wedding. Also, congratulations on finding your forever person! This will be fun!
Photo: Caitlin Steva Photography
Step 1: Define a timeline.
Whether you’re engaged or just thinking about it, talk with your partner about the length of your engagement. Some couples want to get married right away, and that’s great! If you think you want to get married quick, check out our blog post on planning a wedding in 90 days! Others feel like an engagement lasting over 18 months is better (we have a post on that, too) The average engagement length is 15 months, but what works best for you is what you should do!
Pro tip: People will ask, poke, and nudge you for a set wedding date, but other decisions must be made first. Instead, pick a range of dates that will work for you and the desired length of your engagement.
Photo: Kelsey Diane Photography
Step 2: Set a budget.
Setting the budget is always a little daunting, we get it, but weddings, no matter what, cost something, so establishing a budget is necessary. Look, it doesn’t have to be tough and awkward. Trust me! Communication is key. Be flexible and grateful to those willing to help, and things will be a-ok! After discussing your budget with your family and partner, combine familial contributions, your savings, and a percentage of your current income to establish your final wedding budget. You can also cut costs to save some money. Think of it this way: if you stop going out to lunch for a month, you can save anywhere from $200-$350 (just got flowers!). Making cuts like that in addition to other sources makes this process a lot easier.
Pro tip: The event venue will be a large percentage of your overall budget, so don’t be afraid if the number seems big. That being said, finding an affordable wedding center is very much possible. Some venues insist that using their catering services saves you money, but that just isn’t true! You can pay a lot less for other catering and DJ services if you select a venue with an open-vendor policy. More on that later 😉
Photo: Ed and Aileen
Step 3: Reserve a venue.
Before you think about visiting a dress shop or sampling cake, reserve your venue. Well, actually, you first need to find an event venue. When figuring out which venue to choose, we suggest that you select a reception center that is versatile with an elegant with muted design; this way, you can dress up the venue to look exactly as you envisioned instead of spending hours and hours searching for a venue that may or may not work with your vision. If you find a venue that is beautiful, customizable, and conveniently located, go for it! Our biggest priority at NOAH’S is to provide a wedding center where couples can highlight their personality and taste. That’s why we offer affordable packages, sophisticated interior design, and an open-vendor policy. The open-vendor policy is another must, frankly, when selecting a venue because it allows you to have free reign over all sorts of decisions: decor, entertainment, catering, and more!
Pro tip: Venues fill up fast! Once you have your range of possible wedding dates, call your venue and book the best date within that range! Note that for smaller budgets or shorter engagements, booking on a weekday will work best. Venues will often lower their prices on weekdays and have more availability (NOAH’S offers steep savings for weekday weddings). Once you’ve booked your venue, then congrats! You have a wedding date!
Photo: Kaila Cales
Step 4: Find your style.
Now is the time for Pinterest and dress shopping! When you start the planning process by searching for a theme and style, it can feel like drinking out of a firehose. But now that you have your budget, date, and venue down, you have some guidelines and a better idea of what your wedding will look like. You can find themes and decor ideas that fit in your venue space and attire choices that match the season. This is where it gets fun without being overwhelming! Download our Wedding Style Worksheet at the bottom of this blog to make this part even easier!
Pro Tip: NOAH’S offers tons of inspiration for dresses, cakes, decor, and more. Check our best of 2018 articles or scroll through our blog to get inspired!
Photo: Angela Fortin
Step 5: Consider the details.
Note that I’m saying consider the details and not “figure out everything right now!”. Before you can make definite decisions, you have to get an idea of what the details might be. It helps that you’ve already built the foundation. For example, you know your venue, so you have an idea of how many guests may attend. You know your budget, so you can limit your wedding dress options to what’s in your price range (by the way, TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress offers sage wisdom here: never try on a dress you can’t afford). Here’s a short list of some of the questions you should start mulling over:
-What kind of photos do I want?
-Who will be my photographer?
-What will my guests eat?
-What will I wear? My partner? Our wedding party?
-What kind of music will we have?
-Who will officiate?
-When do I need to apply for a wedding license in my state?
-Where will my out-of-town guests stay?
-Am I making my decor?
-Who’s decorating the venue?
-Will I have a rehearsal dinner?
-Who will do my hair/makeup?
-What kind of cake do I want?
It seems like a lot, but thinking through these questions just means you’re in the detail stage of your wedding planning! That’s a great thing! The timeline for making these decisions and figuring out the details depends on the length of your engagement, but as you begin to plan your wedding, it’s essential to have these details in mind.
Pro Tip: NOAH’S creates a list of vendors we value and trust specific to your location. These vendors are listed in our magazine MOMENTS which is full of great advice and inspiration for your wedding day! Go to your location on the NOAH’S website to find a local edition of MOMENTS!
Photo: Averi Blackmon
So, that’s how you start planning! See? You’ve totally got this! Wedding planning is a fun and crazy adventure. We know that when you first start planning your special day, it seems impossible, but starting is the toughest part, and look! It’s not even that tough.
Not sure where to go from here? Check out our blog for other articles, planning essentials, budgeting, and inspiring couples. Don’t forget that NOAH’S Event Venue is the perfect venue for a variety of styles. We pride ourselves in offering a banquet hall and wedding center that’s the perfect blank canvas for all couples, no matter their tastes, budget, or priorities. Schedule a tour, and see how NOAH’S Event Venue can work with you and help make your dream wedding a reality!