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So You’re Engaged! … Now What? | Five Tips for Planning Your Wedding


POSTED IN: For My Brides

Five Tips for Planning Your Wedding

You just made the easiest decision of your life and said “Yes!” to your best friend!¬†Congratulations! You’ve taken all the selfies, called all your loved ones, and celebrated. But you’re no wedding planner, and now that the confetti has settled, you’re wondering what to do next. If you’re like me, having a solid plan in place always helps keep the stress at bay. Here’s my list of the first five things you should do when you’re ready to start planning your wedding.

-1- Get Organized

Over the next couple months, you’re going to be reaching out to a LOT of vendors for information, quotes, and booking correspondences. The easiest way to keep track of everything is to get a brand new designated email address to use just for planning. Keeping everything all in one place will make it easier to organize contacts and recall details later on. (Ex:;

-2- Put Together a Rough Guest List

It may sound odd for this to be second on the list, but it is a really important foundational part of wedding planning. Knowing an approximate number of guests will factor into a few of the first decisions you have to make when starting to plan your wedding.

-3- Set a Budget

Thinking about costs might be the most stressful part of wedding planning. It is important that you and your fiancé are on the same page when it comes to your budget. First, you should determine who will be contributing toward your wedding costs and what you are comfortable spending. Once you have that total, next you should decide what your priorities are. Is it the venue or the food? Is it your dress? Is it photography? Knowing what is most important to each of you will help you make important decisions throughout the planning process.

Finally, after you have your total budget and your top three priorities, try to put some rough numbers to everything you know you need for your dream day. One of the reasons you need to compile that guest list is to help in setting a realistic budget. An approximate guest count will help you put together a rough cost for things like your invitations and catering. Having these numbers in mind along the way will help when you start reaching out to various vendors. (Bonus tip: don’t forget to build in a contingency or misc category into your budget. You’ve never done this before and there’s bound to be a surprise or two along the way!)

-4- Book Your Venue / Set a Date

These are technically two separate steps, but they do go hand in hand. You need to decide on a date in order to book a venue, but if your venue is one of your top priorities, your date may be determined by your venue’s availability.

Also, this is another step that will be easier once you have that rough guest list put together. You don’t want to fall in love with a venue that can only accommodate 150 people if you plan on inviting 300.

Wondering where to start? Go check out a couple of my favorite West Michigan venues!


Glass House Community

Etre Farms

Felt Mansion

Bay Pointe Inn

-5- Book Your Photographer

Having this on the list may sound self-serving since I am a photographer, but I do sincerely believe this is one of the first things you should lock in. Like your venue, photographers have limited availability. We can only serve one couple on any given date, so if there is a photographer you just have to have you want to make sure you reserve them before someone else does! It is not uncommon for photographers to book 12-18 months out.

I hope this list is helpful as you navigate this exciting, but challenging time in you love story!

Want more wedding planning tips and tricks? Follow the “For My Brides” blog category! And check out this post – Engagement Session Locations in Grand Rapids.

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