I am at the start of my wedding planning process, and it already feels so overwhelming. There are so many things you have to think about… what you want, what you not want, how much it costs, etc. Here are some things I did to get me started on the wedding planning process.
1. Wedding Planning Binder
The first thing I did when I started the wedding planning process, was made a wedding planning binder. You can order these off of Amazon, find them at bookstores, or make your own. I found free a printable website that had all the wedding planning necessities: wedding planning timeline, wedding budget planner, ceremony detail tracker, reception tracker, stationary guide, guest list guide, and more. (Website: https://www.botanicalpaperworks.com/blog/read,article/741/free-printables-new-wedding-planning-binder-download-with-extra-pages )
(P.S. Stickers are from Redbubble if you were wondering what I had on my Wedding Binder. Not an ad, wish it was.)
2. Start a wedding Pinterest board! (You probably already have one like I did before I got engaged ;P)
This one is self-explanatory; you can have all of your ideas and favorite designs at your fingertips. Brides before my generation had to buy bridal magazines. Pinterest is so much easier and FREE. You can get all the best ideas from Pinterest, that’s where I’m getting all my ideas!
3. Pick your Month/Time of Year and Color Scheme
This one was challenging for me. I wanted a fall wedding because it is my absolute favorite season. I wanted to have my wedding in October of 2020, but the feedback was that it was too far away and my favorite flowers are not in season in the fall. (Oct. 2020, I could have had my Wedding on Halloween [my favorite holiday], but that was a no-go from the fiancé.) So after A LOT of deliberation, we decided to have our wedding in May of 2020. This would give us over a year to plan and time to save up money to have the wedding of our dreams. I was always told to set your date. I think you have to set your month until you start looking at venues. The venue will ultimately decide your wedding date. If you do choose a date and a month there is the possibility of the venue already being booked. Have an idea of the month you want, so you don’t get your heart set on a day.
Picking a color scheme was also tricky for me. I have always wanted the color blush to be incorporated into my wedding since starting Pinterest (in 2012). I loved the color blush because it was the color of my favorite flower. Since blush has become so popular, I had to decide if I wanted to go with blush or do something different from everyone else. I decided to do something different and have mauve in my color scheme.
4. Pick Your Bridesmaids and Make Them a Cute Box!
This one was my easiest decision. I knew I wanted my childhood best friend, my friend that I met in college, and my cousin to be my bridesmaids. So I went on Pinterest to get cute ideas for a bridesmaid proposal. Check out my other blog "Bridesmaid Proposal Boxes!" to see the boxes I made for them!
5. Making a Budget
Setting a budget for a wedding is something I knew nothing about. Like most brides, you don’t know what things are going to cost until you start pricing it. At one of the Open houses, a wedding planner gave out a pamphlet that had an average cost of different things. I found this very helpful. Here is the average cost of each big-ticket item that is on your budget.
Ceremony Location: $2,000
Ceremony Musicians: $700
Rehearsal Dinner: $1,300
Live Band / DJ: $3,800 / $1,200
Catering: $25/person (I think that is really high)
Extra Rentals: $1,500
Full Service Wedding Planning: $2,000
Day-of Coordination: $1200
This list gave me an idea of what the average bride is paying.
6. Get a headcount
The headcount at the beginning of your wedding planning process does not have to be a precise number. On the Botanical Paperworks website, which I previously talked about, there is a printout where you can write out guest names. You can also ask your parents, grandparent, and mother-in-law to send you names of family and family friends to invite.
7. Go to Venue Open Houses and Bridal Expos!
This one is a must, especially if you get engaged right before spring. The venues in East Texas have open houses in the early spring. The Venue will invite local bridal shops, wedding planners, makeup artist, photographers, caterers, and so much more to come and chat with you. Not only can you look at different venues, but you can also find local businesses to hire. Now my wedding planning binder is filled with business cards and information!
8. Start Getting your Free Return Address Labels From Shutterfly!!
When you sign up at Shutterfly they send emails with "freebies" every so often. Some of those freebies are 4 sets of 24 return address label for FREE. As soon as I got engaged I started ordering them right away! You do have to to pay shipping, which is around $6-$7. They are so worth the $7 for 96 return address labels!