• Xuan Lee McMartin

How to Start Planning Your Wedding


Congratulations on your engagement! Planning a wedding can be overhwhelming in the beginning, so we wanted to share 9 easy steps to help you get started on palnning your dream wedding.



STEP 1: Set Your Budget

You and your fiance should take the time to discuss what you both are comfortable with paying for the wedding. This figure should also include any of the money you receive from parents, family or other people planning to pay for your part of the wedding. Of course weddings can have unexpected costs or unforeseen expenses, so I always suggest to for my couples to plan on having an extra "cushion" of about $500+.

Things to Inlcude in Your Budget:

  • Venue (Ceremony & Reception)

  • Catering: Cocktail Hour & Reception

  • Bar

  • Wedding Planner/Day of Coordinator

  • Floral

  • DJ/Entertainment

  • Table Linens

  • Table Rentals

  • Stationery

  • Officiant

  • Wedding Bands

  • Wedding Gown

  • Wedding Tux

  • Reception Staffing

  • Wedding Hair & Makeup

  • Photographer/Videographer

  • Wedding Decor

  • Wedding Cake / Desserts

Sneaky essentials you might want to include in your budget: Wedding gown alterations, your marriage license and wedding insurance (a MUST during these Covid times!).


STEP 2: Draft Your Guest List

Once you've set your wedding budget, it's time to start discussing who you want to be there on the biggest day of your life. Have you and your partner each take a piece of paper and start listing everyone you would want to invite to the wedding. Once you're both done, add up your lists and see what your starting total is. With this total you can start adding or subtracting guests from the list.


Things to consider when making your wedding guestlist:

  1. Wedding tables typically seat 6-12 guests with the average table seating 10.

  2. For every table you have at your wedding, you're also going to need a linen, centerpiece, floral, candles, table number and server.

  3. The biggest cost difference you're going to see when you add a person to your wedding is the catering cost for their dinner.

  4. Budget Savvy ways you can cut down on your guestlist: have a no-kids policy, only invite those closest to you (people who have met both of you), limit extdended family.


STEP 3: Find Your Venue

Now that you both have a budget you'd like to stick to and a ballpark number for your guests, you're ready to start checking out venues.

  • Make sure you are searching for venues that are large enough to accommodate your guest count.

  • Have a date, month or time of the year in mind when touring different venues. Be aware that many venues are booking 2-3 years in advance and with the Covid Pandamic, most of 2021 has already been booked with wedding postponing.

  • When you are ready to book your wedding venue be prepared to put down a deposit to save your date, sign a contract and possibly go over a venue wedding budget. Hooray, you now officially have your wedding date!


STEP 4: Start Your Wedding Pinterest Board(s)

Having a Pinterest board filled with ideas and inspiration for your wedding can be super helpful when it comes to relaying your wedding vision to each of your wedding vendors. Pinterest is filled with many different ideas and images that it can quickly become stressful. Here are some good Pin ideas to get you started on your search:

  • Color schemes and ideas

  • Floral arrangements for bouqets, centerpieces, arch, ceremony aisle, etc.

  • Wedding gown and bridesmaid dress styles

  • Wedding photography must-have shot list ideas

  • Wedding playlists to consider song choices

  • Wedding cake styles and flavors


STEP 5: Ask Your Wedding Party!

>>> See cute ideas to ask your bridesmaids and groomsmen on my Pinterest Board


STEP 6: Book Your Essential Vendors

Once you have your official wedding date you can begin to book all of your must-have vendors. Be aware that each of your vendors will require you to sign a contract and make deposit/retainer fee. You may also be setting up other appointments and consulations with each of your vendors for future dates. Examples of things vendors may need you to start thinking about:

  • Caterers - Menu selections and tasting appointments.

  • Beauty - Hair and makeup styles, trial appointments.

  • DJ - Song selections for your wedding playlist.

  • Linen Rentals - Colors and styles for table linens, overlays, napkins, etc.


STEP 7: Get Your Save the Dates Ready

There is a million different creative options on how to do your save-the-dates these days! Find an option you both love and get started on sending them out around 10-12 months before your wedding.


STEP 8: Go to Your Wedding Vendor Meetings

Make sure that you and/or your fiance are attending your scheduled meeting with your various vendors. Here is a short timeline for when we suggest you meet with vendors by:

  • Final Gown Alterations: 2-3 Months before the wedding

  • Final Catering Tasting - 3 Months before the wedding

  • Finalize Details with Wedding Venue - 60 Days before the wedding


STEP 9: Finalize All of Your Wedding Details

You don't want to be stressed out in the days leading up to your big day, so I always suggest getting all of your details finalized and vendors payed in full 30 days before your wedding day. This ensures that everyone has been offically confirmed and that there will be no surprises two days before your wedding day. Timelines, guest counts and seating charts are now finalized, your wedding gown has been altered, the tux rental has been reserved, and your rehearsal date and time has been confirmed with your wedding planner or coordinator. This frees up the precious last month you have together in your engagement to enjoy your bachelor/bachlorette parties, plan your honeymoon itinery or practice your romantic first dance.



Cheers, you have now have the foundation for getting started on planning your wedding day! Soon To Be Wed is a full service wedding planning and wedding coordinating company and can help you with any of your wedding needs. From vendor suggestions and wedding advice to full-fledge wedding planning, we have custom packages we can tailor to meet your needs. Contact us today to get started on a free consultation and quote.

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