Congratulations on your engagement!

Congratulations on your engagement! This is an exciting time in your lives as you embark on the journey of planning your dream wedding. While the process may seem overwhelming, fear not! Our traveling wedding photographers compiled a comprehensive checklist of the first 10 things you should do to kickstart your wedding planning. So grab your partner's hand, take a deep breath, and let's dive into the essential tasks to get you started on the right foot.

1. Celebrate and Share the News:

Before diving into the details, take a moment to revel in your engagement and celebrate with your loved ones. Share the exciting news with family and close friends, either in person or through a heartfelt announcement. Their joy and well wishes will set the tone for the journey ahead. Don't hesitate to call us for your Nashville engagement photos to capture the excitement!

2. Discuss Wedding Vision and Budget:

Sit down with your partner to have an open and honest conversation about your wedding vision and expectations. Consider the type of wedding you both desire, such as a formal affair, a casual garden celebration, or a destination wedding. Simultaneously, establish a realistic budget that aligns with your vision. This discussion will provide a solid foundation for your planning process.

  • According to The Knot, the average cost of a wedding in the US in 2022 was $30,000, so plan accordingly! Of course, this can vary by city and state.

3. Compile a Preliminary Guest List:

Create an initial guest list to estimate the size and scale of your wedding. Consider the people who are most important to you and those you genuinely want to share this special day with. This will help you determine the appropriate venue size and budget allocation.

Although terms have become a little more fluid these days, you can think of it the following way:

  • An "Elopement" is typically 2-10 people
  • A "Micro-Wedding" is typically 10-20 people
  • A "Small Ceremony" is 20-40 people
  • Anything larger than that is a pretty standard size for weddings, until you hit 200+!

4. Set a Wedding Date and Book the Venue:

Choose a tentative wedding date and consider any significant events or holidays that may affect availability or prices. Research potential venues that match your vision and budget. Once you find the perfect location, book it promptly to secure your date.

  • Keep in mind, wedding vendors (especially venues) tend to book up 12-18 months in advance, so plan accordingly!

5. Hire Key Vendors:

Research and select the vendors essential to your wedding, such as a photographer, caterer, and florist. Look for professionals with a solid track record, read reviews, and schedule consultations to discuss your needs, preferences, and budget. Booking them early ensures you get your first-choice vendors.

  • Pro Tip: Ask LOTS of questions! Do you have insurance? Are you licensed with the state? Do you have a contract? How much is your retainer? When are my payments due? What's your cancellation policy? If your vendors can't answer theses questions easily, they probably aren't professionals in the wedding industry!

6. Create a Wedding Website:

In this digital age, a wedding website is an excellent tool to keep your guests informed and involved. Create a personalized website where you can share details like the date, location, registry information, and accommodations. It's a convenient way to communicate updates and answer frequently asked questions.

  • The Knot is probably the most widely used wedding website in the world, but they aren't the only ones! Check around to see what's the easiest for you to use and to direct family and friends to.

7. Explore Wedding Themes and Decor:

Dive into the exciting world of wedding themes and decor. Research different styles, color palettes, and trends that resonate with you as a couple. Consider elements such as flowers, centerpieces, lighting, and signage to bring your wedding vision to life. Pinterest and wedding blogs are great sources of inspiration.

  • Remember that your decor and choice of venues is going to affect the photography as well! If you love bright and airy images, having a dark barn or mansion isn't going to be as conducive to that as an all white space. Conversely, if you love dark and moody images, a noon wedding in spring probably isn't the right call. Booking your photographer before your venue can be advantageous in coordinating your efforts to receive your dream wedding photos! Let our wedding photographer help you set the mood!

8. Set Up a Wedding Planning Timeline:

With a multitude of tasks ahead, it's crucial to establish a wedding planning timeline. Break down the to-do list into manageable chunks and set deadlines for each task. This way, you can prioritize effectively, stay organized, and minimize stress throughout the planning process.

9. Begin Dress and Attire Shopping:

Start browsing for your dream wedding attire. Explore bridal boutiques, browse online collections, and try on various styles to find the perfect dress. Don't forget to involve your partner in their attire search, as well. Whether it's a suit, tuxedo, or something less conventional, finding the right outfit is an essential part of the process.

10. Consider Hiring a Wedding Planner:

If you find yourself overwhelmed or short on time, enlisting the services of a wedding planner can be a game-changer. A professional planner will guide you through the entire process, offer expert advice, and handle the logistics, allowing you to relax and enjoy the journey. You're still in charge but you have someone in the know to help you along the way!

Embarking on the wedding planning journey as a newly engaged couple can be both thrilling and daunting. By following these ten essential steps, you'll be well on your way to planning a memorable celebration that reflects your unique love story. Remember to communicate openly, stay organized, and enjoy every moment. Happy planning, and here's to a beautiful wedding day!