While there is no exact way to plan a wedding, there are timelines to help organize which steps should happen when, and in what order. Generally the first major vendor you should book is your venue – given that it’s how you know for sure that you have a date and somewhere for people to go. Some couples even sign a venue contract before bringing on a professional event consultant to help the rest of the way. However, unless there’s a place you’ve always intended to get married, we recommend bringing on a planner first to help with your search and negotiations. It’s also a good idea to have a rough budget and spending limit before selecting a location.
There are a handful of tasks you could potentially decide upon before choosing a venue, but the below are the things you should not plan until after you have an official site and date.
- Saying yes to the dress. We know this is probably what you are itching to do the most, but you want to make sure the style of the gown fits with the venue you choose. If you want to have a quick shopping trip to narrow your options down, however, who are we to say no?
- Design your invitations and save the dates. Of course you can’t send any out until you book a venue, but you may find the look of the location will influence the stationery. It is the first glimpse your guests will get of the big day, after all.
- Hire your entertainment. This might seem like something you can cross off the list before the venue, but different spaces have different acoustics, staging, and more. Ultimately, this might affect not only your choice of entertainer, but also the decision to go with a live band or a DJ.
- Finding a caterer and cake. Many venues provide their own caterer and baker. While some will allow outside catering for a fee, others insist on the food and beverage being in-house. Unless you have specific dietary restrictions, there is no need to narrow down your venue options because you already signed a contract with a caterer.
Opening photo by Matt Kennedy Photography