A few weeks ago, we shared our Guilt-Free Guide to Guest Lists as one of the first things to do once you're ready to begin your wedding planning process. What else should be part of the first steps? That article will serve as the first of a series of articles to help you collect your thoughts as you begin planning your special day.
If you've never been engaged or planned a wedding before, the entire experience can be quite daunting. Where does one even begin? When you finally start your wedding planning, you should have four main objectives on your preliminary To Do List:
2. Guest List
Once you have this To Do List set, what do you do first? One of the hardest parts of planning is knowing how to prioritize. Do you make a rough guest list and find venues that fit the capacity? Do you pick the perfect date and see what venues are available or the other way around? Do you find the perfect venue and then see how it factors into your budget? As you can see, there are many ways of going about this and every couple's circumstances may be different. However, when in doubt, if you try to accomplish these four tasks in this order, it will be one less thing to cause you stress down the line.
The first thing you should finalize before starting your planning process is your budget. What you (and your families, if they're helping out) are willing and able to spend on the wedding should pretty much dictate everything else. This will determine the types of venues and vendors you will be able to hire as well as how large your guest list can be.
2. Guest List
Think very carefully about the potential number of guests you'd like to invite. Don't forget to include your parents' friends, possible plus-ones, and any other less obvious people. You don't have to end up inviting them all, of course, but you'll be happier later when you overestimated than underestimated.
Once you have an accurate sense of budget and guest list, you'll be able to start considering venue options. Keep in mind that signing a venue contract and putting down a deposit is binding and will likely be one of the biggest chunks of your budget. Make sure you are certain that it's the right venue for both of you and the celebration you are envisioning.
Just because we have this action item as the last of the four, doesn't mean you can't think about dates until you've found a venue you love. Just know that if you're dead-set on a date before anything else, it may be more difficult to find available venues that fit your other criteria.