Planning Your Perfect Wedding Doesn't Have to Be Overwhelming

Planning a wedding can be one of the most fun, but also one of the most stressful times in a person's life. But, it doesn't have to be stressful!

Before I began thinking about our wedding, I remember being overwhelmed by the thought of all the different aspects of wedding planning.  There are so many details that go into planning! (And there was no Pinterest back then!)

Who would we get to cater it?  How many chairs would we need?
Where would we get the tables and chairs?  What about tents if it's raining out?  The cake??? What about the cake?  Do we need a groom's cake, too?  Keepsakes?  Do we need favors for people to take home?  Where could we choose affordable invitations? What type of alcohol and how much should we have.  Where would we host the rehearsal dinner?  Who would be our attendants?  How can we find  a place for an outside wedding, preferably on or near a beach, that will allow us to set up a wedding?  What should we do about a pastor? How do we find a D.J. that we like? Should we rent a Limo?  The list of things that we needed to find or do seemed to go on forever.  FOR...EV...ER. 

It turns out that it wasn't that stressful at all once I actually started diving into the planning. 
I made lists of everything we needed and broke each list down into sections that were manageable.  We didn't want anything too fussy.  Nowadays, there are so many journals and planners, I'm sure you could find a journal specifically for wedding planning.  In fact, there are several on the market, like the one below.  Or, you could just use a regular spiral bound notebook, also.  Just make sure you have all of your notes in one place to make things easy. There are many planners available on Amazon if you choose to go that route.

No matter where you live, whether you are on the East coast and need to find a caterer, are in the midwest and need to find a DJ,  or need wedding rentals Los Angeles style, trust me, it will all be okay.

The first thing you need to do is take a deep breath.

Venue & Officiant
First, choose your date to make sure your venue and officiant are available.

Make Your Guest List
Then, begin by making a list of all the people you would like to invite.  Most of the other things that you need to plan for, will depend on how many guests you have.  You might want to invite only certain people to the actual wedding and then invite others to your party or reception.  Remember that your parents may have people that they would like to invite as well.  Get your lists from them, also.  If you are paying for your own wedding and need to stick to a certain number of people for budget reasons, make sure your parents know that.

Find Invitations
After you know how many people you would like to invite, then you can start searching for invitations.  There are a lot of great websites online to find wedding invitations.  There are invitations out there for every style and budget. If you're really crafty, you could even design your own.  Wedding invitations should be sent out 6 - 8 weeks before the wedding.

Food and Seating
Also, once you know how many people you plan to invite, you can begin thinking about food options and how you're going to seat everyone.

A lot of your decisions will be based on what type of wedding you would like to have.  Do you want a traditional wedding with tablecloths, fine china, silverware and crystal?  Or would you like it to be more casual?  The tables and chairs can match whatever feeling and style you're going for!  If you aren't having your reception at a traditional hall, you can rent chairs and tables to be delivered to the location of your choosing.

You can choose something with modern flair like this~~

Or, you can go more simple and rustic like this~~

Remember to invite approximately 10% more guests than your target number.  According to the Knot, 10 - 20% of those you invite will decline.   Once you get the final head count, you can decide on where people will sit or you can leave it casual and let people choose their own spot to sit and eat.

Most rental companies can help you decide which kinds of tables and chairs would work best according to the number of people that you'll be having.  They might also have extras like tablecloths, napkins and the tents you'll need as well. It will be much easier on you if you can get all of that stuff from a single place instead of trying to coordinate more than one company.

Once you know how you're going to seat people, you can choose which foods you'd like to offer.  Make a list of available caterers in your area and call each, or check out their website to find types of food and pricing. If you are giving people an option during a sit-down dinner as opposed to a buffet, you will need to know the options before you get your invitations printed so that people can make their choice.

Alcohol Options
Once you have tables and chairs, tents, food and invitations taken care of, you can move on to which alcoholic drinks you would like to serve, if you would like to have a bar at your wedding reception. Some people choose not to have alcohol or have a cash bar.  If you choose to offer alcohol, there are a lot of websites that can help you choose the amount.  There is a really good post about the three types of "wedding bars" and which things to stock HERE.


After you've figured out all of the above, you can decide on your cakes and music. Ask for recommendations from friends and family about the cake.  A lot of times there are people who bake beautiful cakes for special occasions but don't have traditional store fronts.

As for the D.J. or band, you should also get referrals for that. A good D.J. can really set the tone for the party.  A good DJ knows how to keep a wedding reception flowing naturally. And when you're done eating, dancing is half the fun, right?

Hotels for Out of Town Guests

Also, be sure you find a hotel that can hold a block of rooms for you well in advance of the wedding for out of town guests.  Sometimes there will be events going on and you need to reserve your block early.

Photographer and/or Videographer

After all of your planning, you'll want to make sure you can keep your memories forever in the form of photos or videos.  There are good photographers and bad photographers.  This is another one that would be good to get referrals on.  Check out photographers' websites and check for reviews of local photographers.  Make sure you know all of the costs up front, how long the photographer will be able to be with you, and how long it will take to get photos after the wedding.

Marriage License

Of all of the things on this list, this might be the most important!  Without that little piece of paper, you can't be legally married. Each local district has their own rules about the timing on when to get your marriage license.  Check to see in your area how soon you should get it.  Here, you have to be married within 60 days of getting your license.

All the Small Stuff

Once you have all of the major issues nailed down, you can focus on the small things such as favors, attendant gifts, the guest book, centerpieces for the tables, bouquets and boutonniers,  and hair and makeup.

The Stuff I Assume I don't Have to Tell You!
Buy your dress and make sure you have any alterations you need done.
Buy rings.
Choose your bridesmaid dresses.

For a more in-depth wedding check-list, this one is great.

Planning a wedding doesn't have to be stressful if you make lists and take everything one step at a time. Remember to relax, have fun, and enjoy the process!

This post might be linked to any one of the parties listed on my Link Parties and Communities Page

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