How to start wedding planning

CONFESSION: Wedding planning is scary, tough and totally over-whelming if you don't know where to start. When I first got engaged, I didn't want to think about wedding planning. I just wanted to enjoy that "just engaged" bliss — and maybeeee stalk BHLDN's website on a regular basis.

So when the time came to start planning, I had no idea where to start. And so I did nothing. It felt so impossibly overwhelming that for a while I actually considered hiring someone to do it all including finding me a dress. Don't worry, that feeling DEFINITELY did not stay. 

But I remember one morning sitting in bed, and talking to Maxim like, "babe, we need to start planning." He was all about it, and super chill. All we had to do was, you know, start.

But where?

What to do first?

I'm pretty sure I googled "how to start wedding planning" It led me to a bunch of planning websites, and an infographic about the horrors of hidden costs, and some videos on how to get the perfect, toned arms for that strapless, sweetheart neckline. 

But eventually we got there. I signed us up for WeddingWire, started looking at venues, and now here we are. It's months later, Save the Dates are in their envelopes, planning is underway and it's (almost) stress free.

After the jump, I share the easiest things to do to get started, because once you start it gets easier and easier.  

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My wedding planning essentials? A fully charged laptop, tons of La Colombe's vegan lattes, Weddiculous (for a good laugh), my camera, Minted + WeddingWire's app


SET A DATE

This is literally one of the easiest things you'll do — but everyone is different. You'll want to think about how long you want your engagement to be, what season you want to get married in, if you care if it's a Saturday or Sunday, etc. 

We're getting married in May on our birthday (we were born on the same day) — so the date was kind of simple. 

SIGN UP FOR A WEDDINGWIRE ACCOUNT

Okay, THIS is probably the easiest thing to do. Honestly, though. I know of a lot of people that have used TheKnot.com to do their planning, but I honestly just prefer WeddingWire. The website (and app) are super organized, and helps you to automate, list, set reminders for and email whatever/whomever (more on that later). 

One of the best things (for me) is that they have an automatic checklist that takes into account your vendors, budget, location, etc AND sends you emails with what you should be doing based on when you're getting married. 

SET A BUDGET

Everyone is different. If multiple people are helping to pay for the wedding, make sure to take all of it into account for your overall budget. And then once you have a budget, you can use a budgeting tool (honestly, though, I swear by this) to keep everything in check, and in line.

PICK OUT A THEME

Whether it's something vague or weirdly specific, start thinking about the colors and how you'd imagine it'd look. Look at wedding websites of real weddings, or look on Instagram and save posts you love into a collection — I have one dedicated to my theme, and Maxim and I look at it constantly to make sure we're both still vibin'. 

ALSO: Make a Pinterest board. A lot of the vendors I'm working with have straight-up asked for my pinterest board for the wedding theme. 

CHOOSE A VENUE (or at least start looking)

Think about what you want in accordance to your theme, what your date is, and what events/weather are going on around that time. If there's a huge festival shutting down the city while you're trying to get married, you might consider going somewhere else. 

We used WeddingWire's website, which is uber helpful because we could keep most of our initial conversations on the platform. For Maxim and I, he wanted somewhere super tropical and I wanted somewhere intimate or in Washington, D.C. We used THIS spreadsheet to compare and contrast venues, and eventually ended up with the winner! 

Things to consider too: Price, Max # of people allowed, Time you can rent the location, If outside food/beverage is allowed, if there's space on-site for a bridal suite + if you're having your ceremony at the same place as the reception. 

[if you want to use the spreadsheet, open it + make a copy or download it] 

PICK OUT SAVE THE DATES

Again, you can use a spreadsheet for this if you want. You'll want it to reflect your wedding colors and easily translate to the rest of your theme. Maxim and I decided to go without a photo, but many people choose to use some snaps from their engagement shoot. 

I used Minted to find my Save the Dates. 

MAKE A PRELIMINARY GUEST LIST

Even if you don't know the number of guests who can have/want to have, you can at least being to compile names and addresses. Think: family, close friends, family friends, Aunt Tina that you've never met but you're Facebook friends.

SIDE NOTE: Spreadsheets help, BUT I actually using a "Guest List" tool lets Maxim and I add in households, names, etc. It's a lifesaver down the line as you'll be able to arrange guests by their menu option, if they need a hotel, if they've RSVP'd etc. 

GET EXCITED

This is a big deal — YOU'RE GETTING MARRIED!!!!! Start brainstorming hashtags, thinking about Snapchat filters + all of the amazingly instagram-able moments you're going to create. But remember — this day is about you two! Enjoy the planning, the craziness and the experience. 

On the big day, you know it'll all be worth it. 


As for me? Maxim and I received our Save The Dates, and we're in the thick of wedding planning — think visiting vendors, cake tasting, picking out flowers, DJs, etc. More to come soon!