Ten Things to Do When Starting to Plan a Wedding

My dear friend Kelly, of PeanutButterandKelly.com, recently became engaged to her boyfriend Steven aka Schmidtty. Here they are right after he popped the question…in Vegas!

Adorable, right? Kelly quickly reached out to me for help figuring out where to begin with planning her wedding. See, her and her Schmidtty are moving to AUSTRALIA (so jealous!) and need to get as much planning done for their Chicago nuptials before heading down under around the holidays.

Just going through the wedding planning process, I sent her some thought starters to get the whole process going. So here are my 10 things to do to start planning a wedding:

1. Celebrate!! Take AT LEAST a week or two to enjoy being engaged.

2. Figure out where (city) you want to get married. This should involve a discussion between you, your fiancee and parents (if they’re paying).

3. Decide on a season you’d like to get married in. I’m partial to Spring since it’s before all your friends get inundated with weddings and it won’t be unbearably hot! Fall is also a great time too.

4. Make a rough guest list to give yourself an idea of the capacity your venue will need to hold. Task your parents with helping list out family and friends. Or better yet, get your married siblings old lists!

5. Determine what’s more important to you: the venue (church or reception site) or the date. If it’s the venue, then call them immediately and see when they’re available. If it’s the date, then crowd source places you like to see if any fit your calendar.

6. If you don’t have a place in mind, then the next step is to figure out some venue options. The Internet is a great resource for finding ideal wedding locations. You can also look on local photographer’s websites to see where other couples have gotten married (that way you can research photographers AND venues at once).

7. Before setting your date in stone, research the weekend to make sure there aren’t any major conferences, sporting events or tourist traps taking place in your city that weekend. If there are, keep in mind hotel prices may be sky high and flights for guest pricey.

8. Research and book the vendors you care most about. If you have your heart set on a photographer, certain band or make up artist. Call them to lock in their availability right away. You’ll have more time to think about the auxiliary players you care less about.

9. Search for hotels close to your reception site and begin negotiations with them for a block rate. Make sure you read the contract carefully, or you might end up in a debacle like we did!

10. Set a timeline for getting your dress, bridesmaid dresses and groomsmen attire. Sometimes dresses can take up to six months, so if your engagement is short, you’ll want to start dress shopping right away.

Getting these first 10 things checked off your list will help ensure you’re is a really good place for your wedding planning. Once the above is figured out, the rest of the details will fall into place and you’ll have some time to relax and enjoy the process.

Would you guys add anything to my top ten? Rearrange the order? Let me (and Kelly) know!

PS- Congrats Kelly and Schmidtty! So happy for you guys.