HOW TO PLAN A WEDDING 👰

Thanks for the request! We have several articles on wedding planning, but here is the most general one! For the original article and full details: www.wikihow.com/Plan-Your-Wedding
  1. Set a budget.
    It's important to stick to a budget and to keep your wishes realistic. Be prepared to be flexible and to prioritize the big spends that really matter. Remind yourself when you feel like fretting that you still have many wonderful days ahead and you don't want these marred by paying back an unplanned overspend. If your parents or future in-laws are partially/wholly funding, remain conscious to not burden them either. Ask them for their budget ceiling and stick to it.
  2. Set the timeline for planning.
    This is the most important aspect. Develop a sensible, reasonable timeline depending on how much time you've given yourselves. Begin with a calendar before you and try following a suggested timeline from a wedding guide. You're likely to find most guides assume you have 12 months. Don't panic if you don't. Generally what planning guides suggest happens in the first few months can be done fairly quickly. One of the principal reasons for a long lead-in time is the wedding and reception venues.
  3. Choose a workable method for your record-keeping.
    You'll need to keep tabs of everything you've already decided and what's planned ahead. Also, invoices, quotes, receipts, seating plans, photos of desired decorations/clothing, patterns, instructions, etc. will need to be kept in one place. Wedding software or planning apps can work well for digital planning.
  4. Decide on the size of your wedding.
    Remember to talk this over with your fiancé. A dream wedding for one may not be right for the other. You'll need to know how many people are going to attend for the purposes of venues, catering and invitations. As part of this decision, choose your bridal party. Remember that your total number of guests includes your bridal party.
  5. Choose the venue.
    The sooner this is done, the better, so that you know you have the place you really want. Check out the spaces offered, the catering deals, the marriage fees, the ability to decorate, wedding space, etc. Find out whether the prices quoted cover everything or whether you'll be expected to pay for extras. Be aware that even church and synagogue venues may charge fees. Research into venues for the wedding and reception usually starts around the 12 months-to-go mark, with bookings within the month.
  6. Set the date.
    Choosing a date include the availability of your venue, friends and family. Think about who you must have, and try to set the date with their availability in mind. Most people will do their best to accommodate a wedding, so unless you know this person has major surgery or a competing wedding, you should be fairly right with directing their calendar. Setting the date usually occurs at the same time you've confirmed the venues. Do expect some cancellations and possibly some last-minute additions.
  7. Send out "save the date" cards to your guests.
    Once the venue and guest lists are confirmed, let everyone know what's coming up. Send emails if you know people will read them, otherwise, send cards to their postal addresses.
  8. Choose a theme.
    It doesn't have to be anything really specific, but a successful event tends to have a consistent feeling throughout. Choose a theme that is easy to plan and decorate. Visit the venue and take pictures of how the area looks. You may want to measure the dimensions of the room or area. As part of the theme, research the flowers you want at the wedding. Find out if they're available during the time of your wedding or if they're out of season.
  9. Send out the wedding invitations.
    Research into the design of your wedding invitations when you still have around 10 months to go, and work on purchasing or ordering their printing when there are about six months to go. Leave plenty of time if you're making your own and always have lots of spares, as making a mistake now and then in writing or making them is inevitable. Send out invitations around two months prior to the wedding. (If Jewish, get kippots made.) Make wedding programs, print less than a week in advance.
  10. Choose your officiant.
    For a faith-based wedding, you'll be looking for a pastor, priest, minister or rabbi. If they don't charge a fee outright to perform the ceremony, be courteous enough to pay a generous gratuity for their time. For a secular based wedding, choose a wedding officiant, judge or person with authority to marry people who is both available on the date and amenable to any particular special requests you have by way of vows and ceremony. Consider premarital counseling.
  11. Research, design and order your wedding dress.
    You'll possibly need several fittings and adjustments to perfect it. Choose a dress you love -- you don't have to stick with tradition or spend a fortune on something you'll never use again. Select a wedding veil if you're having one. Don't forget the shoes. Decide on bridesmaid's dresses at the same time. Are you paying for them or will they pay? Get groomsmen clothing sorted and ordered about four months prior, send measurements 1 month prior.
  12. Select the wedding rings.
    This is a fun task to do together, and symbolizes your devotion to each other. If you're having rings specially made up, leave plenty of time and be prepared to get to learn more than you ever cared to know about gold and the origins of it (as in, whether or not it has been sourced equitably and so forth). Wedding ring selection should take place around five months before the wedding, with collection of the rings occurring about one month in advance of the date.
  13. Find a photographer and/or a videographer.
    Consider using a professional for this special occasion, and make sure that this person is reliable so that you don't have to worry about him or her forgetting your wedding or stuffing up the photos or filming. Ask for recommendations from friends who have married recently who they'd recommend. Ask to see portfolios at the business premises. This will give you a good idea of their abilities and style.
  14. Hire your entertainment.
    Decide on whether you're going to have a quartet, band or a DJ. Professional musicians will keep the flow of the event, make announcements, and plan all your special events with you. Music students at college/university level are definitely worth considering as they will be at the peak of their abilities and a lot cheaper than professional musicians. This aspect should not be booked last, because all the good bands and wedding DJs get booked first! Recommended at least 10 months before.
  15. Decide what type of food and refreshments you will offer at the reception dinner.
    Try to find a happy medium between what would please your guests and affordability. Consider hiring a professional caterer - it's not cheap, but it's one less thing you'll have to handle personally. Some couples base the menu on the culture of the family or something most people like (e.g. Italian or Asian fusion). Make reservations for any additional rental/hire equipment needed, such as chairs, tables, dinnerware, flatware, linen, etc. Some favor a candy buffet. Focus on this 6 months prior.
  16. Pick a cake.
    Before settling on a cake it's best to have a tasting first. Sample cakes around eight months before the wedding and select the design at this time. Check in on the baker again a few months prior to the wedding to be reassured that your order is still on the books and ready to go as planned. It's best to have the cake delivered directly to the reception venue. Relying on a family member places too much pressure on them and should there be an error you have no recourse to a quick solution!
  17. Register for gifts when there are about 9 months to go until your wedding.
    This gives guests plenty of time to check your list and get the gifts. Be realistic about gift pricing. Acknowledge the breadth of wealth by including very affordable through to more expensive items as part of the gift list. And also allow for non-gift list choices; some people really do not appreciate being forced to use one.
  18. Choose suitable transportation.
    If you have multiple venues, plan how you will travel from the ceremony location to the reception location. Some couples may choose to rent a limousine or ride in a classic car. Others like horse-drawn carriages. If it's popular with other people, book early. If it's your own cars, book them in for cleaning and detail a week before the wedding. Also, if there will be alcohol at the reception, do you have a safe way for you and your bridal party to get home?
  19. Decide on whether to have a special wedding night room or to leave on honeymoon quickly.
    Many couples book a honeymoon suite the night of their wedding to begin the feeling of a honeymoon before leaving the town or city of the wedding, while others simply get going straight after the wedding. The choice is entirely your own.
  20. Ensure out-of-town guests have accommodation.
    You may need to reserve a block of rooms for interstate or overseas guests. Booking as a group will usually ensure they all get the best rate but this should be done at least four months in advance. Make it clear whether you're footing the bill for guests or not. You can clarify that you've booked rooms at a special rate but expect them to cover the costs if need be. Be careful about expecting too much from far-traveled guests; they already have to fund their journey.
  21. Research the honeymoon when there are about 6 months to go.
    This will let you take advantage of any special deals and good prices. Book as soon as possible but always build flexibility into the bookings in case of the need for cancellation; it is better to pay a little more and get most of your money back if something prevents the travel (such as illness, postponing the wedding, etc.) than to get back nothing.
  22. Plan the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. Rehearsal dinners are a North American tradition that has begun to occur in other Anglo-speaking countries too. If you don't want to hold one, it's not essential.
    This should be planned about five months before the wedding date, including booking the site for the rehearsal dinner. In addition, let those attending know early on that they're expected to be a part of rehearsals. These events are held within the week leading up to the wedding. You may want to create a schedule for the bridal party for the day of the wedding, so that they know what time they need to be at places for things such as hair, photos, ceremony, etc.