5 First Steps to Planning Your Wedding

Updated: Dec 22, 2020

You’re engaged. Congratulations! Now what?

There are thousands of decisions to be made and it can quickly become overwhelming. To keep your head on straight, break the process of planning your wedding into the following bite-sized pieces.

1. Make the Announcement

First things first, announce your engagement!

Consider a personal phone call to family and close friends, if you can’t tell them in person. I promise the reactions are worth seeing in person if you can manage it.

Depending on the proposal, you may have some special photos to share of the big moment, or if it was completely spontaneous you can get a little creative! Share your news with the rest of your community on social media or via email with a fun photo and caption that expresses your personality.

2. Pick a date and create a timeline

Before you can book anything, you need to decide when you want to get married.

Consider the weather and seasons during the year to help narrow the date. If you think you’d prefer an outdoor wedding, try for a date in spring or autumn, but you’ll be competing with other couples as it’s the height of wedding season. Summer can be beautiful, but you’ll want a venue with air-conditioning.

Be prepared for your first choice of date to be unavailable, so have a few dates set aside that you’d be happy to get married on. Don’t forget to consider Public Holidays near your chosen date and how this may impact your guest’s attendance, the cost of vendors, etc.

Once you’ve chosen a wedding date, or have an approximation, work backwards on a timeline to ensure you have enough time for planning, tastings, an engagement party, bridal shower, hens and bucks parties. These are of course optional, but if you’d like to include most or all of them, make the time and spread them out across your engagement.

3. Narrow your choices

Now that the date is set, you have dozens of choices to make.

Narrow your choices by deciding on a few key things:

  • Indoors or outdoors

  • Elopement or ceremony and reception

  • A large or small crowd

  • Sit-down reception or canapes or a grazing table

  • Alcohol or dry

  • Colours or theme

  • Vibe and atmosphere

Once you have these things settled, everything else can flow and follow along.

4. Set your budget

Now that you have a bit of a handle on what you want for your wedding day, set out a preliminary budget.

If you’ve never planned a wedding before or been a bridesmaid, it can be difficult to know how much to budget for when you don’t know the average cost for vendors and suppliers. In Australia, the average wedding costs about $30,000. This includes everything except the rings, the dress and the honeymoon.

Don’t let this frighten you! Anything is possible, but consider how realistic your expectations are. If you have a $5,000 budget and want to feed 100 guests a three-course sit-down dinner, this is an unrealistic expectation. However, if you’re doing a DIY venue with a grazing table for the reception, keeping things under $10,000 is manageable.

When setting your budget, also consider which elements of the event you don’t want to skimp on. For me, it was the rings and the photographer, because it was all I was going to have left at the end of the day. So, while I shopped around to find a caterer and venue to suit my budget, I chose my photographer first and made the day work around their availability. Little unusual, but it was worth it for me.

5. Consider hiring a wedding planner or coordinator

Planning a wedding from start to finish takes upwards of 200 hours for a newly-engaged couple; that’s about one year of full-time work. If you’re not confident you have the time to dedicate to fully planning your wedding day, consider hiring a wedding planner.

They can take as much or as little of the planning load as you like, have insider knowledge about great vendors and working within a budget, and will help keep you on track for the day.

If you prefer to do the planning yourself, also consider hiring a coordinator. They come for the day, ensure everything runs smoothly according to your timeline and handle any last-minute problems that may arise. You don’t want to be thinking about a wet-weather plan or if the toilets are clean during the day. It’s your special moment! Let someone else take the pressure off so you can be present for the unforgettable moments.

Until next time, keep making your moments unforgettable x

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