The Complete Guide to Planning a Wedding

First and foremost: It’s easy to become overwhelmed when planning a wedding. While many couples hire specialists to assist them with their wedding arrangements, there are a variety of reasons why they might choose to handle the majority of the duties themselves. Perhaps you’re on a limited wedding planning budget, or perhaps you simply adore the DIY options. In any case, there are a lot of extra aspects to consider, but we are pretty much positive that you can arrange your dream wedding on your own!

When it comes to decisions, lists, deadlines, and everyday living, organization is crucial to staying on track. The first step is to make sure you give yourself plenty of time to organize your wedding. Here, a lengthier timescale is your friend, therefore aim for a year if at all possible. Remember to include your significant other in this process as well. Your wedding should be a reflection of the two of you as a couple.

So, where do we start? Team Agani got your back. Just remember to keep one thing in mind: try to have a good time! After all, this is your wedding. Don’t get too caught up in the minor details; instead, concentrate on what matters most: celebrating your love for each other and getting married in front of your friends and family.

From getting organized to navigating the legal structure of a vendor contract to maintaining your emotional sanity, we are happy to provide you with 40 beneficial steps when it comes to planning your own wedding.

  1. Set a budget for your wedding and stick to it

Many of your wedding-related decisions will be influenced by your wedding budget, so it should be one of your top priorities. If any family members are contributing, talk to them about how much they’re willing to pay. If you’re the one footing the cost, it’s time to take a close look at your money. When it comes to actually budgeting for your wedding day, be prepared for a reality check, as many couples are unaware of the entire spectrum of costs involved. Stick to that magic number once you’ve found it!

Extra Tip: Don’t forget to leave a 10% “splurge allowance” in your budget for those unforeseen bills or desires.

  1. Make a priority list for the wedding day

Set aside some time with your partner to discuss the three most crucial parts of your wedding. Is it the location or a specific wedding date that you’re looking for? Do you want to book a specific wedding photographer or a live band? Make those things a top priority and be willing to compromise on the rest. This will allow you to stay inside your budget and concentrate your attention on the most important things.

  1. Decide on a Bridal Style

Choose a few bridal inspiration sources that appeal to you the most such as Instagram, Pinterest, magazines, and reputable bridal websites. Begin your study. When it comes to visiting with possible vendors, having a strong idea of the type of wedding style you want helps a lot. Don’t get too carried away with all of the wedding ideas available.

  1. Organize Yourself

You can use checklists, spreadsheets, Word, Excel, Google Docs, or anything similar to collect all of your thoughts, budgets, numbers, and other information in one location. There are also some excellent internet tools and apps available to help you stay organized.

  1. Include your significant other in the process

Don’t feel like you’re on your own when it comes to wedding preparations. Consult with your partner along the road; their input is certain to be invaluable, and it makes wedding planning that much more enjoyable when you can make decisions together, even if they’re only involved in certain elements. Working for a common objective strengthens your relationship and allows you to grow as a pair with each difficulty you face together.

  1. Purchase a Wedding Planning Guide

A traditional guidebook is a wealth of information and expert advice for couples who choose to take on the wedding planning process without the help of a professional planner or coordinator. It includes tips and tricks as well as examples of timelines and checklists.

  1. Make a master list of everything you need to do

To stay on track and tackle things like a pro, use a master wedding planning checklist and timeline. This will assist you in visualizing and prioritizing goals without becoming overwhelmed by them all at once.

  1. Consider about dates

Choose a few preferred wedding dates and try to be as flexible as possible so you aren’t restricted when booking the wedding venue and providers. Consider external issues such as how popular particular dates are for other brides-to-be (causing availability to be scarce and prices to rise), if your guests will be unable to attend, and the price disparities of venues and vendors between wedding seasons.

  1. Choose a Theme

It can be beneficial to establish a theme to plan your wedding around, whether it’s specific wedding colors, seasonal or style inspiration, or an actual theme. It’s easier to make design decisions once you’ve decided on a style, and everything looks more coherent.

  1. Consider having your wedding “on-site.”

An “off-site” wedding is one where the location does not have a commercial kitchen and you must bring everything in yourself—think parks, public beaches, and even open fields. Having an “on-site” wedding such as at a hotel or restaurant, for example: simplifies the planning process because you’ll have access to a variety of culinary options as well as the essentials, such as dedicated space, chairs and tables, and potentially even an on-site coordinator to assist you.

  1. Begin compiling your guest list

Making guest list decisions can be a difficult process that is heavily influenced by your venue and budget. Make a wedding guest wish list with your partner and any important family members. You’ll almost certainly have to make some cuts. You’ll also have to pick whether or not to invite youngsters, as well as who will be assigned a plus one.

  1. Contact other married couples

Have you lately been to a wedding where you had a great time? By all means, seek guidance and insight from that couple. They’re likely to have gained some professional tips and tactics along the road that they’d be pleased to share with you. Friends and family are sometimes the most valuable resources.

  1. Explore your venue choices

Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure to compare costs, packages, and any restrictions (such as a minimum budget or guest count) at a few different wedding and reception locations. Even if you find a venue and a package pricing that you like, keep exploring for more information. Before deciding on a pricing, shop around and check what other places are charging.

  1. Only book vendors whom you really vibe well with

It’s critical not to hurry into any decisions when it comes to booking wedding services. Consider at least a couple alternative possibilities to ensure that these crucial wedding-day partners both understand and can operate within your budget. Wedding vendors are the backbone of ensuring that your special day is unforgettable and works well, so choose a group of individuals with whom you get along. They should be able to understand your vision and you should be able to trust them to carry it out effectively.

Extra Tip: As you try to get a sense out of a vendor, pay attention to how they communicate. It won’t be a suitable match for the real work if their communication style isn’t a good fit, or if they appear unreliable or indifferent at this point. You should never feel terrible about contacting out with any questions you may have along the road.

  1. Every contract should be carefully read

Before you sign anything, double-check every detail of any contracts you make with your wedding vendors—including the date, location, times, deposits, additional fees, colors, and quantities—everything must be in the contract because if it isn’t, or is written incorrectly, you won’t be protected if it isn’t carried out properly. Be aware of stipulations that restrict you from assessing the vendor after they’ve completed their work (a red flag), as well as severe cancellation rules and one-sided conditions. A contract, for example, should spell out what happens if either party, not simply the client, cancels. Read any policies governing changes in the scope of service carefully since charges may be altered if major changes are made. Such rules are common in this field, but you should make sure you understand the terms. For example, if your contract stipulates catering for a guest list of 50 people but you decide to invite 100 instead, you will be charged a higher amount. Similarly, a venue may impose a minimum guest count, which might be troublesome if the RSVP number is lower than expected.

  1. Select your wedding party carefully

Throughout the wedding preparation process and on the big day, the friends and family you invite to join your wedding party will provide emotional and tactical support. Consult with your spouse to choose the ideal size wedding party for the two of you, taking in mind the costs that come with this unique duty. Throughout the preparation process, consider who you actually want to stand next to you during this momentous time and if they are capable of completing the tasks expected of their role.

  1. Reserving a block of hotel rooms

Whether you’re having a destination wedding or a local event, some of your guests will most likely require somewhere to stay the night of the wedding. Taking this into account and reserving a hotel block for them at one or more desirable locations is a kind gesture. This will guarantee that all of your wedding guests are in the same general area, and many hotels will even give you a discount based on the number of rooms you request.

  1. Go hunting for your perfect wedding attire

Finding the ideal wedding attire is a lengthy process in and of itself. We recommend starting your search once you’ve chosen your location and finishing your purchase nine months before the big day to allow for fittings and modifications. Wedding party apparel should be purchased seven to eight months forward to the wedding day, while groom and groomsmen attire should be purchased approximately five months prior to the wedding date. Remember to dress appropriately for any pre-wedding gatherings such as brunches, showers, and rehearsal dinners.

  1. Have some extra hand at the ready

Don’t forget that you’re not alone in this. Your bridal party, relatives, and soon-to-be spouse are all eager to lend a hand in ways that best suit their abilities. However, you must inquire and, on occasion, delegate. One of the most crucial times to delegate is on the big day, when you’ll need extra hands to help with activities you won’t be able to accomplish yourself, such as dispersing checks to vendors. You should never feel awful about asking, as long as you respect their decision to decline.

  1. Do it strategically on your own.

DIY wedding decor items can save you money while still adding a lot of personality to your big day. But a word of caution: don’t go overboard, or you’ll find yourself with more work than you can handle. A lot of DIY tasks can be done ahead of time. Professional assistance is best for items like wedding day florals and meals.

  1. Take some time off for yourselves

Make sure you arrange some time for the two of you to just be together and do something other than prepare your wedding for your own sanity’s sake. You’ll need the break, we promise. Taking a week off from work the week before your wedding helps to guarantee that any last-minute details are taken care of and makes the days leading up to the wedding less stressful.

  1. Select your invitations and save-the-dates.

As soon as you’ve decided on a wedding style and a venue, start preparing your wedding stationery. Save-the-date cards are sent out nine months before the wedding day for destination weddings and four to six months before the wedding date for local weddings. Six to eight weeks before the big day, invitation suites are sent out. To avoid last-minute difficulties, suggest that RSVPs be sent no later than one month before to the event.

  1. Hire an Officiant

Finding the perfect officiant to officiate your wedding may be a very personal experience for couples. Regardless of who you choose, they will not only direct the ceremony, but will also usher you into your marriage, setting the tone for the rest of your life together. If you’re having a clergy member or justice of the peace officiate your wedding instead of a friend or family member, do your research, get reviews or recommendations, and ask the right questions, such as if personalization is allowed, how disruptions would be handled, and if they’re involved in obtaining a marriage license.

  1. Make it your own by adding some personal touches.

Don’t be hesitant to integrate some genuine, personal touches into your wedding day festivities, whether it’s familial or cultural wedding rituals that have special value for you, or if there’s a tradition that the two of you want to start for future generations. Keep in mind that today is your special day!

  1. Arrange for transportation.

There are three different types of wedding transportation to consider. Depending on the venue, you and your wedding party may require transportation to the ceremony. Then you’ll need a getaway vehicle to get yourself and your new husband to the reception while the wedding party rides in the wedding party’s car. If your wedding is in a distant area or you have out-of-town guests, it’s a good idea to schedule group transportation to get them from the ceremony to the reception and back to their lodgings (this is where those hotel blocks come in handy). Get inventive with modes of transportation that truly speak to the environment for a personalized touch.

  1. Acquire wedding rings

Take a break from all the planning to go and look for wedding bands to enjoy what’s left of your engagement and fiancé(e) status. This is also a good time to insure your engagement ring and add the wedding rings to your policy, if you haven’t already.

  1. Pre-wedding events should be considered

There are plenty of pre-wedding festivities to attend in the months leading up to your wedding day, including engagement parties, showers, brunches, and bachelor/bachelorette parties. While the majority of these gatherings are generally hosted by a close friend or family member, you will be required to help with some of the organizing. At the very least, you’ll need to compile the guest lists for these events and pass them on to the gracious hosts.

  1. Acknowledge what you don’t really want

The focus of your wedding should be on the two of you as a couple. If certain conventional elements make you uncomfortable, feel antiquated, or are simply not your taste, leave them out of your wedding day. Traditions are wonderful, but only if they mean anything to you.

  1. Don’t forget the details of the rehearsal dinner

The rehearsal dinner, like other pre-wedding events, may or may not be hosted by someone other than you. Regardless, you will be required to participate in the planning process. The rehearsal dinner, like the wedding, will require a venue, guest list, catering selection, and invites. If you’re having a destination wedding or wedding weekend, this can be incorporated into the welcome celebration or kept separate entirely.

  1. Consider hiring a coordinator for the day of the event

Even if a full-service wedding planner isn’t in the budget, hiring a professional to manage the day-of minutiae can make all the difference. They’ll maintain track of your vendors, keep an eye on the schedule, and assist you with any last-minute details or on-site jobs you won’t have time for. Even though this is a day-of coordinator, they are often recruited six to eight months in advance, so don’t wait until the last minute to book.

  1. Plan out social media exposure

Whether you want your guests to be able to share moments from your wedding day with the rest of the world or want an unplugged wedding, planning is essential. Hashtags, signs, and picture booths are all excellent ways to get people to share their experiences on social media. If you don’t want your guests to take pictures or films during the ceremony, have the officiant give a quick announcement before the ceremony starts.

  1. Make sure of legal aspects

Don’t forget to schedule the time to get your marriage license in the thick of all the frenetic planning and innumerable tiny details. Start looking into and acquiring the appropriate documentation as soon as possible. Destination weddings might have additional requirements—so prepare ahead if you’re planning one.

  1. Managing honeymoon plans

Planning a wedding and a fantasy honeymoon at the same time is not only expensive, but also time consuming. Especially if the two of you are responsible for everything. It could be a good idea to put off arranging your honeymoon for a while. Many couples advise adding a gap between the wedding and honeymoon to truly appreciate everything rather than being too exhausted from wedding planning to fully enjoy the post-nuptial trip.

  1. Set aside time for toasts and readings.

Wedding toasts are usually kept for a few select guests and are customarily split between the rehearsal dinner and celebration, though some couples prefer to have everything happen at the same time. You’re in charge of informing toast-makers of their duties, accepting requests to speak, and coordinating the speaking order. Including readings in the ceremony, whether traditional, cultural, or literary, is a wonderful opportunity to recognize folks who aren’t in your wedding party. You are in charge of selecting the speakers and determining the speaking order, just as you are with toasts.

  1. Be done with the setup details

Check in with your venue as your wedding day approaches to find out when your providers can arrive for setup. The earlier you arrive, the better, however venues may host other activities on the same day. Ensure that your vendors have received the information so that everyone is on the same page.

  1. Create a Playlist

You must define all of the major songs that must be played during the nuptial festivities, regardless of whether you have a live band, DJ, or are handling the turntables yourself. Also, don’t forget to make a list of the songs that you really do not want to hear.

  1. Prepare your vows

Take off your wedding planner hat and put on your to-be-wed tiara for a moment. Allow yourself a few moments of isolation to collect your thoughts and put pen to paper as you imagine the confessions of love and nuptial commitments you will make to your future spouse. Instead of simply writing a love letter to your spouse, make sure to include some concrete promises in your notes. After all, they’re called vows for a reason.

  1. Make a comprehensive list of events

Creating a detailed wedding day plan ensures that everyone is on the same page regarding timing and location(s) and that the day’s festivities go off without a hitch. Include details like as hair and makeup appointments, vendor arrival times, transportation to/from the ceremony site, the couple’s arrival at the reception, speeches, and the first dance, as well as when the cake will be cut. Make copies for your marriage commissioner, photographer, maid of honor, important family members, all suppliers, and anybody else who needs to know.

  1. Please express your gratitude

A little gratitude can go a long way. Make sure to get small gifts for your wedding party and anybody else who helped you out with your wedding DIY projects, as well as your parents or other family members who have been there for you and supported you along the road. Don’t forget to make a special mention of them during the wedding speech.

  1. Maintain your focus on the big picture

You’re being married, so be present in the moment and feel the love! Don’t sweat the small stuff or the fact that certain things aren’t perfect. What will your visitors notice the most? A stressed-out couple who is scrambling to finish last-minute details. Try to relax and enjoy all of the precious moments with your loved ones by the time your wedding day arrives. Any married pair would tell you that time flies.