There’s lots to sort out, all at once, when you first decide to set a wedding date. It can get overwhelming, and fast. If you keep a cool head and work on one thing on the wedding planning to do list at a time… you’ll get through your wedding planning without getting (too) stressed out. So today I want to share the first steps you need to take with your wedding planning.
Are you the sort of person who sits down with a clean piece of paper and pen, ready to take notes? If so, you’ll want to grab yourself a copy of our wedding planning checklist above, which covers all the tasks below (plus all the wedding planning to do’s you’ll need to get done in the lead up). Download a copy of Southern Bride’s comprehensive wedding planning to do list here.
Each of the initial wedding planning tasks has an accompanying article to go with it, to give you a bit more detail about each aspect. Just click on the task to find out more.
What to do when you first get engaged
When you’re getting serious about setting a wedding date: The Big Three
Lots of people feel overwhelmed about all the work that needs to be done right at the beginning – but you don’t have to be! All you need to do is take each task one at a time. Of course when you set out to set a wedding date, you can’t really do one thing at a time… because you need to juggle the big 3:
- compiling a wedding guest list,
- coming up with a wedding budget
- and finding somewhere to hold your wedding
Each of the big three affect each other, so you can’t get away from them… you need a wedding venue big enough to hold all your guests, and the number of guests and wedding venue affect the budget, which affects how many guests you can have and where it can be held… you get the picture.
With the big three in mind, here’s the steps you need to take, to set your wedding date:
Decide on a general wedding date – come up with 3 or 4 dates for flexibility
Planning to BYO alcohol? It’s not too early to sign up for a wine plan to soften the blow to your budget (more info in this article on buying alcohol for your wedding)
Starting wedding planning with a good foundation
Once those initial tasks are underway, it’s time to begin making some big ticket decisions. It makes the wedding planning process very real when you start making a commitment (both financially and mentally) to things like your wedding venue! There’s some hefty decisions (and deposits!) to make:
Booking your wedding ceremony and wedding reception venue
Booking in a wedding photographer
Secure a wedding celebrant
Book a caterer
It’s unlikely you’ve ever had to book these things before – that’s the hard bit about wedding planning. You only do it once!
We all know that your wedding day is a one-time thing. If someone stuffs up, they can’t offer to redo it, get it there the next day or offer a credit. You need to be absolutely sure that the wedding vendors you select are trustworthy, credible and dependable.
That’s where the Wedding Planning Kickstart Program comes in handy.
My favourite tools for wedding planning
If you’re right at the start of your wedding planning, or have got a couple of things sorted, then it’s perfect timing for you to get the most use out of some of the wedding planning tools that Southern Bride has available. Grab one, a combo, or all of them now so you can get your money’s worth, as you record all your thoughts, appointments and information as you plan.
Wedding Planning Kickstart (planning course + resources)
If you’d like to keep yourself organised, avoid wedding planning overwhelm and to build your wedding planning on a solid foundation, then I recommend investing in the Wedding Planning Kickstart. The WPKS is a digital program covering off the first steps listed above:
- Research wedding venues for the guest list and budget you’ve got
- Get yourself a wedding budget – get a realistic idea of what you might have to spend (and make some choices based on this)
- Compile a wedding vision board (and why you need one)
- Decide who is on your guestlist, and start compiling their names, addresses and other important info into one central place
- Start considering who might be in your bridal party (and why some friends would be a better fit helping with other tasks)
- Equip yourselves with the tools to make decisions you’re comfortable with, by figuring out the qualities to look for in your wedding vendors
- Choose your Top 5 to prioritise your spending and easily chose what steps to take next
By following the ebook and using the questions, checklists and templates in the workbook, you will set the stage for an amazing wedding that’s no stress to organise.
Little White Wedding Planning Bundle (keepsake diary, templates + vendor questions)
The little white book is a beautiful keepsake which you’ll treasure for years to come – whereas the little white wedding planning bundle is the rough workings, the nitty gritty of your planning:
The little white book is a beautiful wedding diary and organiser. It helps you countdown to your wedding with all your wedding planning logistics covered: checklists, diary/journal prompts and appointment tracking. It’s a beautiful keepsake that you’ll want to hold onto for years to come. It’s the little details that you jot down with little thought that contribute to your memories of the planning process in the future.
Complementary to this is another electronic resource, little white wedding planning pack. It’s the foundation steps that you use to build your wedding planning on. You get questions to ask your key wedding vendors (including the venues, photographer, celebrant and caterer), a budget spreadsheet to help keep track of your money, and to help you figure out how much to spend on what. There’s checklists to keep you on task, a wedding guest list tracker to keep your guest names, addresses, RSVPs and more in one place.
Please check out the shop here if you are looking for any wedding planning templates, checklists or support as we’ve got a great range of practical products that we’ve curated over the last 3 years.