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  • Maggie O'Heran

Wedding Planning 101

The first 5 steps to take when wedding planning.

You may be wondering why I am writing this post when someone can type in “Wedding Planning” into any search engine and get 10,000 results on the subject, but I feel the steps below are all too often overlooked and honestly, who talks about STARTING wedding planning when they can talk about all the to-do’s you need to complete. But, we all have to start somewhere and plan our way along the journey, so sit back, relax, and start your journey with ease!

Step #1 - Decide Your Wedding Day Goals, Objectives, & Vision

The New Year always brings around resolutions, goals, and visions for everyday life, but it is also the perfect time to consider the goals, objectives, and vision that you and your partner have for your wedding day. You may already have the vision of your wedding day cemented and that's okay, but now is the time to cement that vision if you haven't already. It’s your very first step in the planning process and without a vision of your wedding day to strive towards, the goals and objectives cannot be decided. While it may be obvious that your goal is to tie the knot, what other goals do you have for your big day? Do you want your guests to feel special and involved? Do you want your family to play a large roll? Do you want as little stress as possible? Do you want it to be just the two of you? Once your goals are determined, you can map out the objectives needed to achieve those goals.

Step #2 - Break It Down Into Phases

It’s easy to miss the forest for the trees when you are wedding planning. There are 15 million things to do, think about, and coordinate. While you do need to consider the “big picture”, be sure to break it down into phases. This will help you not feel so overwhelmed and give you a sense of accomplishment along your wedding planning journey. I recommend that you have 3 phases in your wedding planning:

Early Planning – overall, big picture details (vendors, venue, etc)

Detailed Planning – day of details specific to you (decor, attire, etc)

Execution – how it will all come together on the day of (timelines, table settings, etc)

Each phase’s length will depend on your wedding date and how far or near it is. As mentioned above, you can type in wedding planning into any search engine and get 10,000 results for timelines, checklists, and other tools to help you fill in what needs done during your phases, but this is the point in which I recommend hiring a wedding planner if you have not already. They can help you break down your phases and guide you along your journey. They are not a wedding coordinator, who executes the plans you make for your wedding day but make the plans for you. A planner need incorporated early into your wedding planning journey to make it as stress free as possible. Plus, they usually have all the resources already curated for you to utilize, so you don’t have to spend hours scouring the internet for the perfect ones.

Step #3 - Gather Inspiration

Here comes the fun part! It’s time to gather inspiration. Get fun with it! Scour Pinterest and local wedding planner pages on social media. Get some magazines (wedding or not) and make collages of what matches your vision. Get extravagant even, nothing is impossible as inspiration. As Mary Lou Cook says, "Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun." It is your wedding day and whatever inspires you to have a great time can certainly be incorporated one way or another.

Step #4 - Pick the Right Professionals

Your next step is finding the right vendors to execute your vision and the inspiration you have found. It’s important to know the difference between vendors, their services, and their style. Pick what best matches you and your partners style and personalities. Not every vendor is the right vendor for you but there are many skilled professionals that would love nothing more than to help you make your vision a reality. You can never ask too many questions or take up too much of our time. This is step is where you’d find a wedding coordinator to help you execute all of your plans. They are not there to make the plans for you, but to make your plans work. And can be a great resource in finding other vendors to help you execute your wedding day vision.

Step #5 - Relax & Enjoy

It is far too easy to get caught up in all of the to-dos, as mentioned above, so be sure to schedule breaks into your phases and planning. Don’t lose the joy of your partnership in the little details that make up just one day of your lives together. Be sure to continue to date each other and pour into your relationship as you plan. Don’t let small disagreements get in the way of your love together and be sure to hone your communication skills before walking down the aisle.


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