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Wedding Planning Tips — Where to Start

Updated: Jan 10

Congratulations on becoming newly engaged! Now begins the — slightly daunting — task of planning your wedding. Perhaps you have been dreaming about your wedding for years and already have an idea of how you want it to be (this was totally me), or perhaps you haven’t really given it much thought and have no idea how to get started — don’t worry you are in the right place.

Today I will go over how to successfully begin planning your wedding — all in three simple steps.

If you read my other blog Wedding Planning Tips for Newly Engaged Couples — How to Get Started, you already know that it is crucial to know your fundamental information BEFORE you start looking into venues and vendors. So, let’s dig into this a little bit…

1. Set your budget. According to the national average cost of a wedding in 2024 is $33,000 and the average cost of a wedding in Tennessee is $28,625. It is important to keep these figures in mind when setting your own wedding budget but also know that every wedding is different and depending on your needs and desires the cost of your wedding may be less or more expensive than these averages.

Knowing your numbers is one of the most crucial items to determine before touring venues and selecting vendors. I kid you not when I say I have had couples come to me saying “we spent our entire budget on our venue and now we need to keep costs low for everything else”. I highly recommend you DO NOT follow in their footsteps because from the start you are going to be over budget and wedding planning is going to be that much more stressful because every decision you make is going to be made mainly from a price standpoint. I am a firm believer in living within your means and not going into debt over your wedding — trust me it can be done.

Unsure where to start regarding your wedding budget? Download my free “Budget Breakdown Cheat Sheet” when you have finished reading!

2. Know your basic information. After determining your budget, it is time to gather all of your basic information. Before you start looking at venues you will need to know the following:

Preferred wedding date (or season if you are super flexible) — you will need this information when inquiring with venues to know if they are available when you need them.

Guest count — it is important to be sure your venue can hold the number of guests you are going to have comfortably (you don’t want everyone packed in like sardines). On the flip side you also want to make sure you do not pay for more than you need.

Style/Theme — while you do not need to completely flesh out your all your décor ideas yet; you do want to have a basic overall idea of how you want your day to look. This will help weed out venues you do not need to inquire with. For example, if you are going for an industrial modern look, you do not need to inquire with that rustic barn venue down the road.

3. Book your venue first. Now that you have set your budget and determined your basic information you are now ready to start looking at venues! (This is where planning starts to get a bit more fun) I always say book your wedding venue first as they will be the ones who lock in your official wedding date; other vendors will need this information to determine if they are available. (The exception to this is if you are going to hire a wedding planner, then you would want to book her first so she can help you find the right venue for your special day.)

To avoid getting overwhelmed when choosing a venue I recommend only touring with a max of 3. Inquire with as many as you need but don’t feel like you have to tour every single one. With your budget and basic information set you should be able to weed out quite a few after that initial inquiry.

For more on how to select a venue check out my blog post: Questions to Consider When Choosing a Venue.

So there you have it; by following these three steps you will set yourself up for a successful wedding planning journey. Take your time and enjoy the process!

Bonus Tip: Is the thought of handling all this yourself causing you to feel stressed and overwhelmed? If so, consider that hiring a planner may be right for you. You can read all about my Full Wedding Planning package HERE.

Budget Breakdown Cheat Sheet
Download PDF • 183KB

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