If you have recently gotten engaged (congratulations!), your first instinct may be to open Google and type “wedding planning tips.” The results can be overwhelming, but don’t let that take away any of the excitement for your special day. Yes, preparing for your wedding can be a major undertaking requiring more planning than any other event you’ve organized before. When you need to know where to begin planning a wedding, narrowing down the initial steps can be overwhelming. Grand Rapids Bride is here to help you every step along the way.
Grab a Calendar – Let’s Plan the Timeline
The key to a well-planned wedding is focusing on scheduling and creating a timeline as soon as you can. What’s that mean? That means you should focus on big-picture items during the first month of preparation. These details should include the date, your maximum spending limit/budget, the number of guests you’re expecting, and whether or not you’ll need to hire a wedding planner.
12 Months Before the Wedding
Start with the budget as this will shape the rest of your planning. Make sure you aren’t banking on sources of income “in the pipeline” when creating the budget, only use the budget you and your fiance are currently willing or able to spend. We cannot stress how important it is to solidify the details of your budget as it’s not uncommon to end up spending significantly more than anticipated because expenses can rise before and after a wedding. It’s best to address financials in detail if you intend to finance your wedding through short-term loans, pay for the wedding yourselves, or borrow from parents or family.
10 – 11 Months Before the Big Day
Buckle up – This is when your planning will need to get more defined and specific. If you are planning on hiring a wedding planner, now is the time to start looking. If you will be hiring someone to handle all of the details of your wedding, having them onboard from the beginning will be key. You will be working with them to define the overall look and feel of your wedding, so it’s important they are part of the process early on.
Additionally, you’ll want to start interviewing photographers to find the perfect fit for capturing your day. Definitely make sure that you really connect with them, as they will be with you the entire day!
Once you get your photographer hired, you’ll want to set up your engagement pictures as soon as possible. Getting these done will allow you to include them in your save-the-dates you’ll need to send out to friends and family. You’ll want to do this now so they have plenty of time to get it on their calendars and make arrangements to be there! And don’t forget to submit your engagement on GrandRapidsBride.com so we can help tell the world you’re engaged!
Start making appointments to go try on wedding dresses! These first couple of appointments will help you figure out which gown style you are most drawn to. It will help you hone in on the perfect silhouettes for your future appointments. Or you might just get lucky and find “the one” right away!
3 to 5 Months Out
Now that the big items have been taken care of, it’s time to dig into the “little” things. Try on your dress another time (especially if it needs any alterations), go to cake and meal tastings with your soon-to-be spouse, and decide what you want the special little ones like the flower girl and ring bearer to wear.
If you still need to finish planning your honeymoon, you should do it during this period. Because these last few months are going to zoom by, start your wedding vows. Before you know it, you’ll be saying these special words to your person at the end of the aisle. Decide how you would like to approach these vows and consider writing them out now. The phrases are personal to your relationship but can be creative and even humorous to keep the audience engaged so everyone will remember them forever.
One a Month Away
It’s go time. Finalize wedding favors, have a bridal shower or bachelor/bachelorette party and determine who will feed your pets during your honeymoon. This is when you should only be worrying about the final details and having FUN.
Find Prospected Vendors ASAP
With a planner’s advice, finding the correct vendors is easy. Maybe you’ve decided to go without a wedding planner… If this is you (or you’re even a planner looking for more options for your brides) our approved vendor lists are incredibly useful resources for every facet of your big day. We partner with these vendors based on experience, which means the vendors listed have our stamp of approval and are confident that they will provide excellent service to our brides.
First, considering your budget, can you hire a planner? Then considering your schedule, lifestyle and party planning experience, should you hire a planner? If one or both of your answers point to YES then looking for a wedding planner or coordinator as early as possible is the way to go. These experts can assist you in understanding how to arrange your wedding based on your unique style, wants, and budget.
You can also hire a part-time consultant or planner to create a wedding plan, including a budget, a timeline, and compile a list of reputable vendors and venues, before you begin planning on your own.
Your wedding venue, whether it is a huge ballroom, a calm beach, or a rustic barn, truly sets the tone for your special day. Not sure where to start looking? Check out our proposed wedding venues to get the ideal setting to impress your guests (even your in-laws) and reflect the true love between you and your partner.
What is one thing at your wedding that everyone can agree on? GOOD FOOD! Even though your guests (should) be there to celebrate your marriage, they also expect to be fed and served drinks at your wedding. Depending on your style and your venue, this can look different for everyone. Some venues offer catering available with their packages, while others do not. In the case that your venue does not have on-site catering included, you need to find a caterer to prepare and serve food and drinks. Grand Rapids Bride catering partners guarantee that the food during your wedding is both memorable and delicious.
Regardless if you and your partner are fans of social media, everyone wants beautiful pictures and videos of their wedding so they can remember their special day forever. To make sure you are able to bring back those special memories at any time, you should hire a photographer and maybe even a videographer. A skilled wedding photographer creatively captures all of the incredible moments during your wedding day. Check out our list of recommended photographers on our site as we understand that high-quality photos are essentials for your memories (and the gram).
Find All the Vendors and Wedding Day Advice for Your Grand Rapids Wedding from Grand Rapids Bride
We understand that a wedding can be time-consuming to plan. You want your big day to be perfect, but the journey there can be a challenge. Choosing the correct vendors is half the battle and getting everything on your wedding checklist completed might be tough without help. Bringing the vision of your dream wedding to life can require a lot of time and effort—and having the greatest available vendors in West Michigan makes it much easier.
Grand Rapids Bride is the perfect resource to not only find everything you need to make your wedding memorable, but everything leading up to your big day as well. From vendors to planners, they are all vetted to ensure they will make your wedding special instead of a headache. Contact us for more information on how to plan your wedding and any other resources you may need.
HAPPY WEDDING PLANNING!