How to Plan a Wedding: Your Step by Step Guide

Are you looking for tips on how to plan a wedding – but can’t stand the same old advice? We know so many of you want a step-by-step guide to take out the awful stressful bits and the kind of tips you’ll want to share. So,we’ve asked the experts, and we’ve dug deep to get real tips. Anyone can say ‘book a DJ’ or ‘find a venue’ – but what does that mean? Where do you begin? If your engagement ring is still sparkling and you’re at the beginning of planning, come on in and let’s get the basics sorted. 

How to plan a perfect wedding

Step one: Get your foundations in order 

It’s critical that you are able to understand what good looks like before you even google a single supplier. We spoke to Jeri Solomon, owner of Jeri Solomon Floral Design and co-author of the book, Guide to Smart Wedding Planning

“My ‘big picture’ advice to couples: approach wedding planning like a construction project. Set the size, scope and budget of the project BEFORE you start ‘digging the foundation’. Couples typically get into trouble when they don’t take the time to set the foundation before they start spending money, resulting in almost 50% of couples going over budget!” 

So what are the foundational items in how to plan a wedding? 

You’ll need to consider food, drinks and venue. Everything else can be tinkered with – but the bare bones really matter. 

Ask yourself: 

This can help get you on the path to picking perfection at the basic level. 

Step two: Plan around your personality 

Our next tip is to reign in your expectations of success. Now we don’t mean the wedding itself – but of the kind of person, you are. If you wouldn’t know burlap if it jumped on you, or if you haven’t done a craft since you were in year 7, your wedding might not be the best time to start DIY-ing. If you are crafty and earthy, then there’s no need to go all blingy and glitzy. Remember your own unique personality! 

Step three: Get an online alias!

How to plan a wedding? Become one solid unit! We spoke to Fallon King, the owner and minister of Weddings by Papermill who has a great tip. 

“Make sure you have a wedding email address before you sign up for any wedding-related information or services. Once you give out your personal email address to vendors, expos, and those promoting planning freebies, you will be swamped with messages. It is much easier to organise all the information if all the emails go to the same place, and you won’t clutter your personal inbox.” 

Another great reason to do this is sharing the mental load, documents and information. Each party can check the inbox and have access to it meaning that everything comes into one place. 

Step four: Are you ready to book? 

When you learn to drive they tell you to drive defensively. The same is true of your wedding. You have to allow more time than you think. Some of the wedding organisers and planners lead you to believe you may have acres of time – but you may not have factored in other people getting back to you slowly, needing more information, bad weather, an exit from the EU or some other issue getting in the way (just ask a bride and groom who had an April 2020 wedding planned…) Give yourself plenty of time. 

Step five: Flagging? Tackle big and small tasks alike 

Divide and conquer is the phrase. While we all love shopping for the BIG stuff but there are some tasks that feel hideous. Analysing DJ’s, arranging drinks packages or picking out flowers may all make you miserable instead of elated. That’s why it’s a nice idea to bundle tasks. For every treat that looks like creating a lovely DIY photo booth prop, you must also pay some invoices and create an Excel sheet. 

Step six: Share the love 

People tend to love a wedding and they really can be open to help. Mums across the land may pretend to be put out at having to make confetti tubes but are secretly thrilled. So ask away, share that Instagram, and beg on TikTok. It’s a good idea to ask for specifics rather than asking ‘how to plan a wedding’. Say you have 100 table settings to make, or need to fold 1000 orders of service. You may have people who really are happy driving to IKEA to pick up that one certain napkin you want, or someone who loves fiddling with bows and buttons. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. We love the idea of asking on an open forum such as a message wall or social channel as it gives people an out. You don’t want anyone angrily DIYing anything! 

Step seven: Add on an imaginary tip tax 

When you start getting quotes it can be helpful to tax yourself – adding on an extra 10% that will be paid on the day as a tip. This is great for people like photographers, DJ’s, bands, and performers who all love tips. If you keep this figure jotted down and tallied up. You can ensure you have the money to have and that your new mother-in-law isn’t running to a cashpoint to cough up on the big day!

Step eight: Think about your gift list 

You will get a gift that is wholly unsuitable or maybe a little bit mad. That is normal. What you don’t want, is every guest going rogue, and you ending up with 15 kettles, 19 silverware sets and 7 pot plants. A wish list helps clarify everything and makes things easier for guests and newlyweds alike. If you want nothing, then say so! A wedding poem makes the road to asking for cash much smoother. We have a guide on what to say – why not take a look? 

Step nine: Stop and smell the roses 

Life is short, and planning can be stressful. Have you taken time out to appreciate the event as it stands and how much you’ve done? Have a look back at all the ‘done’ items on your list. Feel proud, planning a wedding is tough and no small project. That’s why there is a whole industry around it! 

Thinking about how to plan a wedding and make it a great day, should all be secondary to enjoying the moment and leading up to the big day. Connect with family and friends and when it comes to the big day – relax. There is nothing more to do. It’s all about reaping the benefits of your efforts! 

We wish you a splendid day! 

Elaine Keep

Elaine Keep is an accomplished content writer with over 15 years of experience in the field of marketing and content creation for many leading brands, where she shares her passion for research and helping others through her articles. You can also find her in 'mum mode', walking in the countryside or enjoying the dreamy combo of a new non-fiction book with a tea and chocolate bar to hand.

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