The First Things to Decide Before You Start Wedding Planning

Have these conversations with your future spouse prior to making decisions about décor, guest count, and more.

If you're recently engaged, congratulations! Wedding planning should be a joyous time for you, your fiancé(e), and your family... especially if you're all on the same page before the real planning begins!

wedding engagement shoot photo taken by amy anaiz photography
Photo: Amy Anaiz Photography

After you've said "yes" and accepted a proposal from the love of your life, many couples choose to dive right into wedding planning. Some brides have been planning this day long before they became engaged – and maybe even before they met their future spouse. While you're likely excited to begin the first steps of wedding planning, it's important to take a step back and make sure you're on the same page with your future spouse from the start. This will help avoid future arguments, so you can enjoy your engagement bliss throughout the planning process!

Many brides may feel that their grooms aren't particularly interested in planning; however, it's important to remember that it's your day as a couple. Check in with your fiancé before you start booking wedding vendors and deciding on a theme to ensure your day represents you as a couple. If they don't want to be involved, that's okay! See if they have a list of three must-haves (ex. live band, great food, and a chocolate layer of the cake) – even the smallest of details can be reflective of you both, even if you do end up having the pretty-in-pink wedding you've always dreamed of. 

No matter your relationship dynamic, it’s important that everyone’s feelings are taken into account so no one is resentful of a wedding that isn’t what they hoped to have. Here are some topics that every couple should discuss before you start wedding planning: 

Wedding Budget

While one or both sets of parents may be able to contribute to your big day, you two should first decide what you are personally willing to contribute. Depending on how your conversation with your parents or family goes, this will help keep the overall spending limit of the day under control from the start.

Location & Venue Type

You don't have to choose a wedding venue right away; however, it will be important to discuss the overall location or venue type. This will be one of the most important decisions you'll make, so having a discussion early on is a must. Have you always wanted to get married in the church or temple you grew up attending? Does your spouse-to-be want to have a ballroom wedding at a hotel that means a lot to you as a couple? You may not be on the same page right away, but talking through various scenarios will help when it comes to making the ultimate venue choice that will set the tone for the entire celebration.

Traditions & Customs

There may be family or cultural customs you want to include, but even just standard wedding customs and traditions are worth discussing. Maybe you like the convenience of the “first look” while he’s had his heart set on first seeing you as you walk down the aisle. It will help the planning process if you know any "must have" wedding ceremony traditions and wedding customs early on in the process. 

General Size & Guest Count

This is a big one as it will trickle down into so many parts of planning. Some couples love the idea of a big family wedding, while others have only ever dreamed of eloping or hosting an intimate destination wedding. Decide what's truly important to you both – if your opinions differ, try to find a middle ground so there is zero resentment before, during, or after your wedding day.

Wedding Vision

People often assume that grooms don’t have any thoughts regarding how their wedding will look. Sometimes that really is true and other times grooms want to be involved in every design detail. Don't assume how your spouse-to-be feels – talk it out and you may be surprised. If your beloved has no interest, consider having them choose between two options that you equally love throughout the process, so they're somehow involved without you having to sacrifice your vision.


Regardless of how involved you both will be in the process, you’ll definitely have to make some compromises. Planning a wedding will be a great start to your marriage – learning to communicate, work together, and create an event that's a reflection of your love and the joining of your families. If you each share your priorities for the day, you can always look back on these when needing to make a decision. 

Opening photo by Amy Anaiz Photography; For more from this engagement shoot, see: A Romantic Engagement Session in Central Park