Oh my gosh!! Getting engaged is so exciting! Every engagement is so unique and truly depicts each couples’ story and personalities. But what do you do after you get engaged? Let's get the wedding planning party started!
We know that post-engagement excitement is overwhelming in the best way, but for many of you, you’ve never planned a wedding. As your Florida Wedding Planners, we are here to guide you through the crucial first steps so you can set yourselves up for success!
So what are the most important steps for success while planning your wedding? At Celebrations! Weddings & Events, we like to prioritize Budget, Guest Count, and Venue. Let’s learn why!
Step 1: Budget - The Real Talk We All Need
Let’s get the money talk out of the way! It's never fun to talk about money (unless you’re into that stuff - let’s get coffee!), especially when it comes to a wedding. People are always asking you, “how much are you spending?”, “that’s too expensive!”, “you spent how much on a dress?”. Frankly, it is no one’s business!
Money is relative to what you have and want to spend. Everyone’s priorities are different and no one has the right to comment or judge on what you want for your wedding day. It's not their wedding!
With that being said, we feel that setting a budget for your wedding should be the very first step in your planning journey. This number can truly set the tone for your priorities, and properly set you up for success for future decisions. We definitely don’t want you to overspend before knowing what you truly have to work with!
We always recommend chatting with each other about what you’d like to contribute to the wedding, and kindly and gratefully asking your families if they are providing any financial assistance (we can have a whole other chat about how to go about this question!).
After these conversations, you’ll truly narrow down a general number you are able to spend and cross referencing that with what you are hoping (and comfortable) to spend (or not spend, lol).
This number will set the tone for how to navigate the decisions you need to make moving forward throughout the wedding planning process. Knowing what you have to work with will ensure you are not overspending in areas you wish you hadn’t over spent in.
Step 2: Guest Count - Creating Your Celebration
Alright, now that we have determined how important it is to know your wedding budget before starting to plan, let's chat about your favorite people. The people who have cheered for you both from day one and who will be there to celebrate the start of the rest of your lives!
Decide on a realistic guest count early on. Whether it's an intimate affair or a grand celebration, knowing the size of your guest list affects everything from your venue selection to catering options.
The guest list creation process can be tricky - have you noticed we like to get the tougher stuff out of the way first? You and your partner have your people in mind, but oftentimes so will your families. Going back to the budget, it is important to be respectful to those who are contributing and granting some of their wishes. But remember, this is ultimately YOUR wedding. Your guest list is about quality over quantity - including all of the people who truly matter to you. We’ll have more time to chat about navigating your family expectations another time!
From our experience, we see that Catering can often be the area where the most money is spent. So, having your guest list solidified will ensure there are no surprises later on when you're paying that final catering invoice. It will also allow you the time to reconsider tour guest count while you start your catering search.
Because you’ve already determined your wedding budget, you’ll know if your count is too high when you’ve collected some catering quotes. This brings us to our 3rd step when you first start wedding planning - the venue hunt!
Step 3: Venue - Your Wedding Scenery
Your wedding venue sets the scene for the entire day. Will you be in an enchanted mansion with tons of history or enjoying sand between your toes? In either case, the venue will be the backdrop for every scene (like a romance movie!) of your wedding day. Whether you’re planning an indoor/outdoor or ballroom/estate wedding, your venue determines a lot of how the rest of your planning process will go.
Consider this, you found the PERFECT venue for your style, budget and destination. You’re planning to invite 180 guests and they are all local. What happens if the venue can only accommodate 150 guests comfortably and you have to reevaluate your guest list? At this point, you need to reconsider which of your favorite people will make the new official list - no one wants to make these hard decisions twice!
Okay, so the venue fits your guest count - awesome! But do they require a specific caterer or have all the tables/chairs that you need? If not, that's more money and logistics to consider within your wedding budget!
There are so many important factors that come into play when choosing your venue. You want to be sure the venue checks off all the boxes before committing, because if you’re a foodie like us, you want to be sure their caterer fits your taste or that they allow you to bring your own!
All in all, the venue is pretty important - can’t have a wedding or wedding date without one! The question is, does the venue fit your other crucial needs? You’ll need to know what those are before even considering your venue/date!
Final Thoughts: Let's Do This Together!
So there is a lot that goes into wedding planning - we still want you to have fun throughout this process! These initial steps - setting a budget, determining the guest count, and choosing a venue - are your foundation for a smooth and fun wedding planning journey.
With each step you take, you're getting closer to creating a day that's a true reflection of your personalities and story. Your Celebrations! Weddings & Events team of Orlando Wedding Coordinators are eager to get started with you on these important steps and move forward to having an amazing time planning your wedding!
Although our Full Planning & Design, and Partial Planning & Design Packages include a Budget Meeting, we are able to add this service on to any package and at any point in your planning journey. We know how important of a step this is!
With our professional help, you won’t have to do the digging - we’ve already done that for you! We’ve been gathering vendor quotes, package details and industry education to ensure we are as accurate as possible during our budget meetings (and all meetings!) so our couples are set up for success!
Wondering what other important wedding planning steps there are? Discover more valuable wedding tips on our Orlando Wedding Blog.
When you're ready to take your wedding plans to the next level, schedule a Complimentary Consultation with us! Let's have fun planning your wedding together - the celebration of a lifetime starts now!
Planner: Celebrations! Weddings & Events
Venue: The Howey Mansion
Photos 1, 2 & 7: Stephanie Velez Photography
Photos 3, 4, 8 & 9: Fox Grove Films
Photos 5 & 6: Lifelong Photography Studio