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Where To Begin - A Simple Way To Start the Wedding Planning Process

Does the wedding planning process feel daunting and complicated?  Do you find yourself feeling like you don't even know where to begin? Do your wedding dreams and budget feel misaligned?  Do your ideas conflict with your fiancé’s ideas?  Does the whole idea of starting this process feel completely exhausting?!

I feel you!  I've been there.  I know the feeling all too well!  Our engagement lasted a whole 2 years and 10 months because the whole process felt overwhelming.  I was indecisive and was afraid to start planning for fear of putting too much money into one aspect of the wedding that I should have put into something else, hurting people’s feelings if we didn’t invite everyone we had ever known, and fear of asking too much of our guests by asking them to travel for our wedding.

Take this as the sign you've been waiting for... breathe. 

It will all work out in the end :)

The goal is to marry your best friend.  The one you want by your side until death do you part.  At the end of the day, if you have achieved this, that is all that matters.  Your marriage is what you will carry with you from that day on.

We know you want your wedding to be special, unforgettable, significant! ...So let us help take a little bit of stress off your plate and guide you through what we like to call The Wedding Goals.  After you go through this exercise, the rest is just a list of boxes to check!

Before you start planning the main event, you need to ask yourself

what the entire wedding event looks like...

Is it a one night event with a blow out party and no detail spared?
Or a destination wedding with activities that will span over multiple days?
Perhaps you want a whole wedding weekend spent with all of your guests!
Or maybe, a simple elopement with you and your fiancé, followed by a fabulous honeymoon overseas!

Whatever you dream of, we have a plan to help get you started making that dream become a reality.

Visualize Your Dream Wedding

First, take a step back from what you think you want, and imagine your dream wedding.  What do you see first?  Is it bouquets of beautiful flowers?  Is it all the guests watching you ecxchange your vows?  Perhaps it is a banquet table full of delectable food.  Or maybe you see a big party with live music while you’re dancing the night away with 150 of your closest friends!

What stands out in that dream wedding image?

Write it down.  

Maybe it's 1 thing.  Maybe it's 3.

These are going to help you define your ‘Wedding Goals’

When I did this exercise, I saw our family and closest friends in a beautiful garden surrounded by minimal yet elegant decor.

The things that stood out to me for our dream wedding, were:

Guests (family and closest friends)
Venue (outside, garden, beneath the trees)
Elegant Decor (Simple, Minimal, but Elegant)

I had identified the things that stood out to me.  But now what?  What did they mean?

I sat down with my fiancé to discuss each item on the list.  This discussion helped us develop our primary goals for the wedding.

This takes us to the 2nd step:

Discuss and Define Your Wedding Goals

We sat down and discussed each item on the list and defined what each thing meant to us.

  1. Guests : We knew we wanted to take advantage of the occasion to enjoy every moment with our guests.  Because our families would be traveling in from out of state, we wanted to create opportunities to spend time with them and show them around our beautiful beach town.  In order to do this, we knew we had to keep it somewhat small.  With less guests, the more quality time we could spend with each and every person.

  2. We wanted to create multiple activities over a 2-3 day period.

  3. We also wanted to pay for accommodations for our parents.  This would be our gift to them, for their love and support during this special time in our lives.

  4. We wanted to show off our beach town!  This included taking them to restaurants we loved, spending time at the beach, and taking in the beautiful views.

  1. Venue - Outdoor Garden : I always dreamed of getting married beneath the trees, and we had both agreed on an outdoor wedding.  While the venue was a very important aspect for us, we already had a great option in mind.  (While this was a very important part, it didn’t need much discussion since we already knew it would work, logistically.)

  1. Simple, Elegant Decor : I had some ideas for what I wanted and I knew without a doubt, that I wanted a talented wedding designer to execute my vision.  The amount of decor would be minimal, but I wanted a very specific look.  While this was hugely important to me, I knew that it needed to be reasonably priced. We agreed to discuss this further after we had gotten price quotes from some local wedding designers.

Our goals had now been defined. 

We wanted, first and foremost, a wedding weekend with our family and a few of our closest friends (no more than 25 people), that included multiple meals and activities that allowed for quality time.  For the main event, we wanted a simple, elegantly decorated outdoor wedding and reception.

Now that we had discussed the goals, we needed to dive deeper into prioritizing every other aspect.  That leads us to # 3:

Ranking Each Category

We used the list below, to rank what was most important to us, to what was least important.

We recommend ranking the following list from 1 (Most Important) - 10 (Least Important)


Wedding Decor



Live Music/Band


Number of Guests


Wedding Planner or Day-of Coordinator

Wedding Dress & Tux

Rentals (tables, chairs, tents, lighting, place settings, etc.)


You may have some things to add to this list.  Or, you may have some things to take away!

Other additions may include:

Rehearsal Dinner



Accommodations (if you are paying for family to stay at a hotel or other rental)

Wedding Bands

Welcome Baskets for wedding guests

Gifts for your Wedding Party

Hair and Makeup


Wedding Programs

Because we already knew that Number of Guests, Venue, and Florals/Wedding Decor

were at the top of our list, we ranked the remaining categories:

1. Photography/Videography
2. Wedding Dress/Tux
3. Rentals
4. Catering
5. Accommodations (hotel for us and guests)
6. Invitations
7. Cake
8. Day-of Coordinator
9. Favors
10. Live Music/Band

When ranking, don’t let it cause too much anxiety for you.  This list is not set in stone!  During the planning process, some of these may move up or down the list.

The goal of this exercise, is to give you a starting point.  Having a place to start from, gives you some structure and helps to guide you during the planning process.

When we did this exercise, it revealed a couple of things to us.

While I initially thought that Invitations would be in the top 3, I soon realized that there were other areas I wanted to take priority over spending a substantial amount on invitations.
The other thing we realized, was that selecting the right Photographer was a priority for us.  We would have the memories, yes. But we wanted to ensure that our special day was documented for years to come.

Finally, you have a list of priorities.  Now, elaborate!  That leads us to #4:

Elaborate and Create a List of Tasks

You may have listed Photography as #1, because you have the perfect photographer in mind, and you want to ensure you book them right away.  Start your list, and make that task #1.

1. Book the Photographer

You may have Catering at the top of your list, because you want to ensure you get the menu exactly right and you are willing to put your money into that aspect.  Write that down, for task #2.

2. Call multiple caterers and get price quotes

Maybe you put the Wedding Planner at the top, because you want someone else to take care of all of the details.  Put it on the list!

3. Contact multiple Wedding Planners - ask for a list of services and pricing

Defining what each category means to you, and creating a task list from that category, will help guide you throughout the entire planning process.

The wedding process should be enjoyablenot stressful.  The more you put pen to paper, create tasks from your wants, and be proactive instead of intimidated, the more happiness you will find in the day to day planning.

And remember…. At the end of the day, all that matters, is that you and your spouse are starting your journey side by side and hand in hand.

Best Wishes to you & yours!

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