How to Plan a Wedding: Wedding Planning Advice for the Newly Engaged
Planning a wedding is sooo exciting, but it also can be super confusing. Luckily, I convinced one one of the coolest wedding planners in Los Angeles to fill me with her wedding wisdom and give me a bunch of helpful tips to help you navigate this crazy world of wedding planning!
Jessica of Art & Soul Events has been planning weddings since 2013, and she knows how to turn your wedding dreams into a freakin' awesome party that will have your guests raving for weeks. Creating unique wedding experiences for newly engaged couples is her love language, and her goal is for your guests to think “THIS IS SO THEM” when they step into your wedding. She was gracious enough to sit down with me for a blog interview, and by the end of our conversation, I realized just how much work planning a wedding is. I left her office with a ton of advice that I'd love to pass on to you all! So… Let’s just consider this your wedding planning crash course.
If you’re lost or have no idea where to start, read these six tips from my conversation from Art and Soul Events to get you one step closer to matrimonial bliss!
Venue: Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills
Tip #1: Communication is KEY.
Sit down with your fiancé over a glass of wine before you begin anything. It’s time to think about your wedding priorities, and by the end of the night you want to create a list of your top 4 wedding priorities. Start first by thinking about all the weddings both of you have gone to. What did you like about them? What did you dislike? This night is all about laying the foundation to your wedding day.
Start daydreaming about your wedding day. How do you want it to feel? Think about the vibe of your day and really just hatch it out. What do you want the most on your wedding day? What is absolutely non-negotiable to you? Each of you should make a list of your top priorities, and then take both of your lists and make a top 4 together (ideally 2 from each of you).
For example, if it's really important that you have an awesome reception with lots of dancing, a DJ or live band should definitely be on your priority list. Have you been to a lot of weddings with really shitty food? Perhaps good food and delicious drinks is your non-negotiable. If photos are super important, a good photographer in a gorgeous setting will set you up for success.
Venue: Ebell Long Beach
Tip #2: Set Time Aside to Plan.
Don’t let your wedding planning overtake your whole life. Set time aside for planning and set boundaries. Let each other know when you’re starting to feel overwhelmed! One way to do this is by designating a day of the week to discuss your wedding plans. This day will increase in frequency as you get closer to your wedding day, but it should act as your weekly wedding catch-up day.
Another option is to plan for three weeks and then take one week off. Continue repeating this process until the big rolls around.
Planning: By Jason Lloyd | Venue: Sands Hotel & Spa
Tip #3: Start Thinking about Your Guest List and Budget First.
Guest Lists and budgets go hand in hand. Who’s contributing to your budget? If you have contributors outside of you and your fiancé, those contributors will most likely want to add a few of their own guests to your list.
To start crafting your guest list, make three separate lists: the MUST invites, the WOULD LOVE to invite, and the WOULD LIKE to invite. Remember that each one of those people will need to eat and drink on your dime, so your budget is really going to dictate who makes the cut. Venues also vary with number of guests they allow, so you need to have a general idea of what to expect before you do some venue tours.
Planning: Nicole Alexandra Designs | Venue: Alcazar Palm Springs
Tip #4: Have a Flexible Wedding Date.
Think about the season you want to have your wedding in, and then black out the dates that you have family conflicts with. If there is someone you HAVE to have at your wedding, make sure they can make that date! It's good to have a general date or season in mind when you go to visit venues, but some flexibility is ideal. Venues typically book up pretty fast, so keep this in mind.
Venue: Greystone Mansion
Tip #5: Flow Is Everything.
The experience of your wedding is so dependent on a solid wedding timeline. At the very least, hiring a coordinator to work out the kinks in your day is essential. If you want your guests to have an experience that feels seamless, you need a timeline that reflects that. A good planner knows how to keep the party moving throughout the whole day. Double bonus: A good, spacious timeline makes for better wedding photos too! Let your wedding day breathe. The idea is to not be rushing from one thing to the next, but to be actually enjoying every moment of your day.
Planning: Harlow Events | Venue: Triunfo Creek Vineyards
Tip #6: Hire a Planner.
Okay so this obviously super obvious, BUT this was my largest takeaway after having this meeting with Art & Soul Events. There’s so many little moving parts of weddings that are forgotten by couples, but a wedding planner will know the ins and outs of it all. A planner that knows the venues you’re looking at will know what you’re getting into. For example, do you need to bring in a bathroom? Is the kitchen equipped to handle your cater? Is there even a kitchen?! Also… WHO IS BRINGING THE ICE?!?! There are so many little unexpected things that non-professionals just don’t even think about. A planner will completely streamline the wedding planning process with all their vendor relationships and experience. If it's in the budget, hire one to save a ton of headache.
Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom, Jessica! You can check out her work here.
Want more planning tips? Check out this blog post about what to wear to your engagement session next!