How to Plan a Wedding
Wedding planning can seem daunting. As soon as you’re engaged, thousands of questions will flood your mind on how to plan for you big day. There’s so much information to sort through, and it may be hard to know where to start. Should I pick a color first? How much money can we actually afford to spend? Do we prefer a Bohemian style floral scheme, or a classic and timeless look? Do I book my venue first or do I buy my dress first? The questions are never ending.
While it’s inevitable to avoid all stress during wedding planning, an organized checklist will help you make the process a little easier. Here are the major decisions to make, and our suggestions and advice on when to make them.
Soon after engagement:
- Decide on a wedding date. It’s difficult to make decisions pertaining to what vendors you will use without knowing your wedding date. Consider how much time you need to plan a wedding. If you are planning on your own, we recommend setting your date for 12 to 18 months after your engagement. Also, decide what season of the year you want to hold your event. If you want an outdoor ceremony, you will need to consider what the temperature will be outside, to ensure you and your guests are not uncomfortable from heat or freezing temperatures. Also, consider if you’re getting married in a high wedding season or off-peak time, as this can affect your budget.
- Estimate your budget. Set a limit on what you are comfortable spending. Find out if you will be paying for everything on your own, or if you have family members who are contributing. Keep in mind that the major costs to consider will be your venue, food, flowers, DJ, photographer. Set a realistic budget for each and keep each budget in mind when you are reaching out for quotes.
- Choose your color palette & Style. While your color scheme and style may change throughout the planning process, choosing your favorite colors and styles from the beginning will help you while making major decisions later on.
12 to 18 months before:
- Book a Venue. Many decisions will fall easily into place once you book a venue. Keep in mind that most wedding venues book their prime dates at least one year in advance. Saturday nights will always be the most expensive, but many venues offer discounted rates on Saturday Afternoons, Fridays and Sundays. If you are willing to go with a weekday event, you will save even more! Choosing a venue will depend on your style, budget and the amenities that are offered. Keep in mind that with an all-inclusive venue, many things such as your catering, linens, wait staff and event coordination will be included. Also, your venue will most likely have a preferred vendor list full of DJs, photographers, videographers, florists, cake bakers and ministers to recommend to you. Inquire here for more information about our venues at Mediterranean Villa.
- Book a photographer. Photo memories will last you a lifetime, and we cannot stress how important photography is for your event! A great place to research your options are from your venue’s website and their preferred vendor list. This will give you great ideas on the best areas of the venue for photo ops!
- Plan a Wedding Party. While this is not totally necessary, having a bridal party is an old tradition that includes your close friends and family in a special way on your wedding day. Decide on how many bridesmaids and groomsmen will stand beside you, and who you want to stand as Maid Honor and Best Man. Also, decide if you will have any Juniors, Flower Girls, or Ring Bearers walking down the aisle.
- Go Dress Shopping! At this point, you likely have a few styles in mind based on your color and venue decision. Pick one or two bridal salons to visit, and have fun! Be honest with the sales rep about your budget, and stick to trying on dresses in your price range.
6 to 9 Months Before:
- Send a Save the Date. Your guests will appreciate the advanced notice. If you are having a destination wedding, it is acceptable to send out the save the date even earlier.
- Build a Wedding Website. A wedding website will give your guests easy access to the important details of your wedding, such as the location, a link to RSVP, your gift registry, and hotel accommodations. We recommend building a free wedding website and gift registry on The Knot.
- Schedule a floral consultation. Reach out to floral designers in your budget range. Then, gather inspiration photos of flowers and styles you love. Refer to your venue’s preferred vendor list for recommendations if you are not sure.
- Book your DJ. Booking a professional wedding DJ is very important to enhance the overall feel of your ceremony and reception. Look for vendors with good reviews from real weddings.
- Book your wedding cake vendor. Again, refer to your venue’s preferred vendor list for cake vendor recommendations.
3 Months Before:
- Send out your invitation (if you have not already!). Keep track of your RSVPs with your wedding website, and record any information such as plus 1’s and special dietary requests. It’s important to set an “RSVP by” date os at least one month prior to get an accurate guest count for your venue and caterer.
- Food Tasting. We suggest deciding on one full menu to taste, including two proteins, two side dishes, one salad, and at least three appetizers. Also, take advantage of the open houses offered by your venue, so you have the opportunity to try many different menus.
1 Month Before:
- Final Details. At this point, you should have an estimate on your final guest count. Final decisions on your menu and floral choices should be done as well. We recommend setting up an appointment with your venue’s day of coordinator to create the final details such as your rehearsal lineup, wedding timeline, and reception floor plan. Also, schedule a time to finalize your playlist with your DJ.
Although this is not a comprehensive list, these are some of the major decisions you will have to when you want to plan a wedding. Here at Mediterranean Villa, we make the process as simple as possible for you with our in-house services such as catering, bar, linens, floral and day-of coordination. To find out more information, inquire with us here.
Happy Wedding Planning!!