Step 1) Decide what time of year you want to get married
o What time of year do I imagine
o When is most Convenient for me
o Is this somewhat convenient for my friends & family to travel
o Is this a good/practical time to take a vacation
o Will this be a good time/ slow time at work, where I can fully enjoy this time
o Is it hurricane season?
o What is the typical average rainfall and temperature for this time of year
Step 2) Determine a budget
o Who will be contributing
o Will my Fiancé and I be contributing
o What are the average prices for my market
o Are these numbers realistic to my vision
Step 3) Make a basic guest list with your Fiancé of everyone you both think you might want to invite and categorize it the following way
o Wedding Party
o Best Friends
o Extended Family
o Work Friends
o Other Friends(Church, Neighbors, Gym Buddies, and if you’re close with your UPS man, ETC)
o Obligated Invitees
Next give yourself a rough estimate of who you think will actually come. Typically this is about 80% of your guest lists, unless you are doing a destination wedding then this may vary.
Step 4) This is a great time to reach out to wedding planners if you think you will need help through out the whole process of wedding planning. (Like going 10 times deeper on this 5 step beginning list, to make sure you cover everything, and not make any costly mistakes)
Step 5) Start visiting venues and find your ideal location.
o How does this space make you feel?
o Is it in your budget
o Does it have plenty of room for your guest count
o Do they already have tables & chairs that aren’t horrendous
o Does it have space for the ceremony & cocktail hour & reception
o Is there room for a band or DJ with a dance floor and all my guests are in the same room
o What is their back up plan for rain
o Will they let me choose my own catering and bar service
o Are there vendors they will not work with
o How many bathrooms are available
o How is the parking
o What is the noise ordnance
o Do they provide a clean up service
o Do they book multiple events a day
o What all is included with the rental, all day vs specific number of hours
o What dates do they have around when I want to get married
o Is there a place for me to get ready
o Is there a place for me to wait before the ceremony
o How do I see my grand exit going
o Are there stairs my elderly guests will have to use
o How is the lighting/ and how does it make me feel?
o How are the reviews….please read the reviews…
These are just few things to get the wheels turning. You want to make sure you have considered all of the options before you sign and agree to anything, because if you don’t…. it could cost you some of the precious dollars you budgeted for….. and I’m sure you would prefer to use that money towards flowers hanging from the chandelier rather the extra fee to DJ because he had to move his equipment up the stairs….