No two weddings are alike, but there are many similarities when it comes to the planning process. Regardless of your wedding size, budget, or destination we’ve rounded up the best practices you’ll want to follow when planning your big day. From hiring your dream vendors down to the last minute details, we’ve got you covered every step of the way. Whether you’re planning your wedding in two months or twelve months, we’ve created this step-by-step wedding planning guide to help you organize your thoughts. Use our guide to make sure you don’t miss any details or steps.
1. Determine What’s Most Important
You’re engaged, you just followed a bunch of wedding vendors on Instagram, and…now what? After shouting your engagement from the rooftops and celebrating with those that matter most, take a deep breath. You have a long wedding planning road ahead of you.
We’ve seen many couples rush into making decisions that haunt them later on. To ensure this doesn’t happen to you, kickstart your planning process by compiling a list of things that are most important to you and your significant other. These priorities will have a large influence on the rest of your pre-wedding decisions. Then, create a mood board that’ll help communicate your dreams and vision to potential wedding vendors.
Must-read blog posts for determining what’s most important:
- 5 Steps for Making a Wedding Mood Board
- Use These Tips to Help You Nail Down Your Wedding Guest List
- Essential Wedding Planning Advice from the Junebug Weddings Team
2. Evaluate Your Budget
You might be wondering why we didn’t start with money talk. That’s because we want to ensure that all of your large wedding choices aren’t solely based on your budget. Dream your wildest dreams, then figure out how to make it happen or where to scale back around the elements you’ve already prioritized.
We often hear that couples don’t know how to get started creating a wedding budget. If this sounds like you, check out our guide for creating your perfect wedding budget.
Must-read blog posts for budgeting:
- 10 Unexpected Wedding Expenses to Keep in Mind When Creating Your Budget
- The Best Wedding Budget Tips from Top Planners Around the World
- How to Create the Best Wedding Budget for You and Your Partner
3. Assemble A Rockstar Vendor Team
Now we’re getting to the fun part—assembling your dream team of vendors. Again, we know it’s exciting to follow all the vendors your heart desires, but you should start with a wedding planner first. They play an important role in every stage of the planning process, including helping you find your vendors. They’ll even help your budget stay on track.
Must-read blog posts for assembling your vendor team:
- The Ultimate Guide to Finding Your Wedding Venue
- Searching for a Cheap Wedding Photographer? We’ve Got News for You!
- Why Your Wedding Photographer Isn’t Just Another Vendor
- How to Choose Your Wedding Photographer in 6 Steps
- 5 Reasons to Hire a Videographer to Capture Your Day
4. Figure Out The Logistics
Logistics are what make your day run smoothly. These aren’t as fun but you don’t want these details overlooked when your big day arrives. We’re talking about your wedding day timeline, guest list, and seating chart. But don’t worry, you’re not alone. Your vendor team will be able to help with many of these stressful elements.
Must-real blog posts for nailing down the logistical details:
- 4 Ways Light Can Affect Your Wedding Ceremony Pictures
- The Ultimate Wedding Reception Timeline
- Your Official Wedding Beauty Timeline to Look and Feel Your Best
- 8 Ways to Make Time for Yourselves in Your Wedding Day Timeline
- 60 Simple Wedding Invitations on Etsy for the No-Frills Couple
5. Purchase Your Wedding Day Attire
A wedding dress, a colorful suit, or even a wedding jumpsuit—no matter what you decide to rock on your big day, shopping is sure to be a good time. Or a little daunting. Because you’ve already determined your vision and budget you already have a starting point. Grab your vision board and head to your local bridal boutique or tailor to get started.
Must-read blog posts for choosing your wedding attire:
- These 50 Long-Sleeve Wedding Dresses are Ideal for Fall or Winter Weddings
- The Best Etsy Bohemian Wedding Dresses
- The Best Bridal Hair Accessories on Etsy
- Bridesmaids Dresses Under $100 for Babes on a Budget
- The Best Places to Buy Bridesmaids Dresses Online
- 17 Fool-Proof Groomsmen Outfit Ideas that are Really, Really, Ridiculously Good Looking
6. Enjoy Along The Way
No one said wedding planning would be easy, but it can be fun with all of the right resources like this wedding planning guide, your loved ones, and trusted vendors. With all of these tools you’ll limit your wedding planning stress and give yourself the freedom to enjoy the process. Shopping for the dress, taking engagement photos, assembling your registry. Soak it all in!
Must-read blog posts for enjoying along the way:
- 10 Ways to be More Present on Your Wedding Day
- 70 Amazing Amazon Wedding Registry Ideas
- The Ultimate Wedding Registry to Help You Fill Your Newlywed Home With All the Essentials
- 8 Tips for Nailing Your Engagement Photos
- How to Make the Most of your Wedding Planning Season
7. Plan Wedding Party Festivities
If you and your significant other have decided you want your crew by your side, it’s time to plan the pre-wedding festivities. You’ve probably already asked the gang to be a part of your day, but now’s the fun part—your bachelor and bachelorette party.
Must-read blog posts for planning your wedding party festivities:
- The Best Etsy Groomsmen Gifts
- Clever and Cute Bridesmaid Gift Ideas
- 10 Unconventional Bachelorette Party Ideas
- 5 Unique Bachelorette Activity Ideas that Will Help You Reconnect With Your Girls
8. Personalize Your Wedding Ceremony
Once your timeline is set and all the larger logistical details are figured out, you’ll be able to focus on personalizing your ceremony. Your officiant, hand-written vows, and music are all opportunities to add personalized touches to your ceremony.
These special touches end up being some of the most memorable moments from your wedding. Moments that’ll bring tears to your eyes and that you’ll hold close forever.
Must-read blogs about personalizing your wedding ceremony:
- 8 Ways to Personalize Your Wedding Ceremony
- The Ultimate Guide to Planning Your Wedding Ceremony
- 37 Etsy Wedding Welcome Signs to Greet Your Guests in Style
- 11 Sweet and Sentimental Unity Ceremony Ideas
- Unique Wedding Readings to Reflect Your Love
9. Coordinate All The Pretty Details
Have your Pinterest boards handy, it’s time to plan the wow decor for your ceremony, reception, and everything in between. This is where your inspiration photos and mood board play an important role. Your color palette, floral installations, and lighting are just a few of the little details that’ll transform an ordinary space into the wedding venue of your dreams.
Must-read blog posts for planning your decor and entertainment details:
- Affordable Wedding Decor You Won’t Believe Came From Amazon
- 9 Tips for Decorating Your Wedding Reception on a Budget
- 50+ Budget-Friendly Reception Decor Items for Your Wedding
- 5 Clever Ways to Repurpose Your Decor from Ceremony to Reception
- 25 Favorite Boho Bridal Bouquets for the Wild at Heart
9. Create Your Food And Drink Menu
Catering options, reception bar, and wedding cake—our mouths are watering just thinking about it all. Sure food and drinks may seem simple. But don’t underestimate the amount of choices you truly have for each. When it comes to catering you have to hire a caterer, pick your meal style, and decide on what food to serve up.
Your reception bar is another element that may seem easy but requires a lot of prepping. From stocking to staffing and even decorating, there’s a lot that goes into bringing your cocktail bar to life. To add an extra personalized touch, work closely with your hired bartenders to create a signature cocktail that represents you. Whether it’s one cocktail with your wedding hashtag, two that are named after you both, or even extra options named after your pets, the options are endless.
Lastly, it’s time to talk about dessert. Yes, we saved the best and tastiest for last. If you’ve decided to stick with a traditional wedding cake, you’re in for a real treat. Finding a trusted bakery, scheduling tastings, and designing the cake—the wedding cake process is sweet all around. These details may seem small and insignificant, but are sure to make a lasting impact come wedding day.
Must read blog posts for ironing out your food and drink details:
- The Best Etsy Wedding Menu Templates
- Six Wedding Cake Ideas for 2020
- The Ultimate Guide to Your Wedding Reception Bar
- Pro Tips for Creating Your Wedding Reception Seating Chart
11. Orchestrate Your Reception Entertainment
Celebrate good times, c’mon! It’s time to celebrate, and for many of you that means dancing. all. night. long. If there’s one thing we can’t stress enough, it’s the importance of a DJ or band to help keep the party going. Music is the soundtrack for memorable moments—like the first dance, mother-son dance, and the father-daughter dance—so entertainment choices shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Must-read blog posts for orchestrating your reception entertainment:
- This Wedding Reception Playlist is Sure to Get Your Guests on the Dance Floor
- These 60 Mother-Son Dance Songs Won’t Leave a Dry Eye in the House
- 80 First Dance Songs You Haven’t Thought of Yet
- 6 Memorable Ways to End Your Reception
- The Ultimate Guide to Wedding Speeches and Toasts
12. Remember The Last-Minute Wedding Planning Details
If wedding week is getting close, we’re doing a happy dance for you. The day you’ve been preparing for is almost here! But, before your big day there’s sure to be last minute, mini emergencies to take care of. From packing your honeymoon bag to sending those last vendor checks, make sure you have everything crossed off your list so you focus on soaking up those soon to be memories.
Must-read blog posts for your last-minute details:
- The Ultimate Guide to Planning Your Rehearsal Dinner
- 8 Tips for Feeling Your Best on Your Wedding Day
- Why You Really Should Write Your Own Vows
- 6 Unique Tips for Writing Your Wedding Vows
- Wedding Getting Ready Playlist to Dance With Your Girls
13. Check Off Your Post-Wedding To-Do List
You did it! First thing’s first, take some time to enjoy being married. But before jet-setting off for your much needed honeymoon, use this time to clear up any last minute details. From vendor tips to thank you cards, post-wedding tasks are a great way to distract yourself while anxiously awaiting your photo gallery and video sneak peek.
Must-read blog posts for your post-wedding to-do list:
- Don’t Forget to Tie Up Loose Ends with This Post-Wedding Checklist
- Use This Honeymoon Checklist to Help You Pack All the Essentials
- These Traditional + Modern Wedding Anniversary Gifts by Year will Help You Celebrate Every Milestone
The wedding planning process looks similar across the board. But, lucky for us, every wedding doesn’t. If you’re looking for ways to create a personalized, never-before-seen celebration that authentically celebrates your love, check out our guide for creating a unique wedding.
Then, hire a team of talented vendors that can bring it all together.