Where to Start with Wedding Planning

Tony and I have been engaged for almost a year and a half, and finally made it to the year we’re getting married!

When I first started the planning process, the first step was to figure out where to start! Here’s what I’ve done, in case it’s helpful for others:

Sign up for wedding planning sites

Before you do anything else, sign up for The Knot and/or Zola. These sites have information on things you haven’t even considered, like checklists, budget planners, and so much more! Take advantage of these sites and learn from others what works (and more importantly…what doesn’t). We knew we didn’t want a “traditional” wedding, so I thought these sites wouldn’t be of much use to me, but I’ve been following their checklists religiously! There’s so many to do items I never thought of, and this is a great way to keep track of everything in one spot. Plus they have a massive list of vendors for everything.

Figure out your budget

Figure out if anyone else (parents, grandparents, etc) will be contributing to your wedding budget and if so, how much. Then determine how much each partner will contribute or if you’ll need to borrow money for the big day. These can be awkward conversations to have, but figuring out exactly how much money you’ll have to spend will be crucial for every other wedding planning step. (If you aren’t sure where to start, keep in mind the average wedding is around $25,000-$30,000.)

Decide on a date

The first step is to decide what season you want to have your wedding in. If you’re on a tight budget, consider a winter wedding or hold the ceremony on a weekday. Otherwise, take a look at weekends during your chosen season-are there any special dates that stand out to you? If you have a specific venue in mind, you can also decide the date based on what they have available.


Talk to your partner and figure out what items are most important to you both. Do you want to have killer pictures? Is an eight piece band a must have? Do you want over-the-top flowers? This will help you allocate your budget. Here’s the order we booked our vendors in:

  1. Venue
  2. Catering
  3. Officiant
  4. Day of coordinator
  5. Photographer
  6. DJ
  7. Hair/makeup


  • Wedding season is typically June-October (which means an “off-season” wedding can help save you money)
  • You don’t need to do anything you don’t want to!! This one is huge. Tony and I are pretty non-traditional, so there are a ton of “typical” wedding things we aren’t doing. Everything you do should be meaningful to you and your partner!
  • Create a separate wedding email! You don’t want wedding vendor emails clogging up your general inbox, and having a separate wedding email can help you stay organized.