Cover all of your wedding ceremony planning bases with these expert hints no soon-to-be-wed should be without. When making plans for your wedding, there are SO many things to keep in mind, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. If you are wondering whether or not there is something you have missed, look through our top 51 wedding planning secrets below.
51 Important Wedding Ceremony Planning Guidelines
Organization is vital while planning your own wedding ceremony. You’ll have so many balls up in the air straight away, you’ll need a way to keep track of everything. You can use spreadsheets or one of the many wedding ceremony planning management apps available. Just figure out what works best for you and stick with it.
Just remember that in spite of the most meticulous planning and organization, there’s bound to be a few problems on occasion. Try your best to plan ahead and don’t be too hard on yourself (or others!) if something out of the ordinary pops up.
FYI, this post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, we earn a small commission at no extra charge to you.
1. Share duties with your partner
Even if your partner hasn’t been planning for your wedding day all their life like you, they will have ideas and opinions and can help out with the planning. Listen to what they say and take it into account. After all, this is both of your day, not just yours!
2. Make a guest list before choosing a venue
Get a grip on the approximate number of visitors you may invite before settling on a venue. This will make certain there is enough space for everyone. As a rule of thumb, allow for 25 to 30 square feet per guest. This may seem like plenty, but it’s simply not the case when you consider the space you’ll need for the tables, bustling waiters, the band, and a dance floor.
3. Investigate wedding ceremony blackout dates.
Know in advance if case your wedding ceremony date falls on the identical day of an alternate conference, charity event or other occasion that might affect visitors and resort room availability.
Here’s a trick: check your area’s tourism board events calendar. That should let you know if there are any major festivals or other events that would attract out-of-towners. The bigger the event, the less likely you are to find enough hotel rooms for YOUR guests.
4. Use a “rewarding” credit card
Weddings cost a lot so why not sign up for a credit card with a rewards program that. Whether it offers you airline miles or superb purchasing deals, consolidating all wedding-associated purchases to this card will help you gather hundreds of rewards (which may be used for your honeymoon).
Just make sure you choose a card that doesn’t charge interest when you pay your balance in full each month. Rewards aren’t worth the extra money you’ll spend in interest.
5. Soak it all in.
Most couples neglect to take a few minutes to look around the room as soon as everything is all planned and in motion. Take a couple of minutes to relax, and revel in the accomplishment of planning an emotional and fun-filled event in your lives.
6. Ask vendors for recommendations
Let one seller lead you to every other. Your wedding ceremony photographer can tell you which one florist’s blooms simply pop, and your reception supervisor should know which band constantly packs the dance floor. The band can tell you which DJ spins amazing tunes during their breaks. You get the point!
7. Lighten your list.
The simplest way to trim your wedding ceremony budget? Cut your guest list. Remember, half of your wedding ceremony costs go to wining and dining your visitors. If it’s costing you $100 for one person then removing on table of 10 will save you $1,000.
8. Anticipate challenges.
No wedding- not even those planned by even the greatest event planners- will ever go off flawlessly. Expect something to not go as planned and when it does either know the person who you will delegate dealing with the problem to, or just allow it to roll off your back!
So many little things can go wrong on your wedding day from damaged zippers on dresses, missing centerpieces, issues with your venue etc. Keep your cool at all times and just tweak your plan as you go.
9. Ask and you might get.
Request an extra hour for cocktails or for your band to throw in that Frank Sinatra sound-alike before you sign on the dotted line. Most providers would rather secure the reservation than nickel-and-dime you early on (which might put you off of them). Later on, though, they’ll be less inclined to meet your demands.
10. Make a meal plan.
Another unexpected cost? Feeding your wedding ceremony day crew. Before you sign the contracts, make certain you are not required to serve the same meal to your staff that visitors will have. Otherwise, you can be procuring 20 additional lobster tails.
Choose a less luxurious (but equally hearty) meal for them as an alternative. You will must tell your wedding ceremony caterer well before your marriage exactly what number of people additional to guests you want to feed (remember photography assistants and band roadies) and what you want them to serve.
11. Get organizationally centered.
In a 3-ring binder, compile all your correspondences with companies, notes you’re making at meetings plus pictures or pages torn out of magazines that you collect for reference.
Set up a special email address just for your wedding and keep crucial seller numbers in your cell phone. For keeping all your on-the-go ideas and information in one place download The Knot All-In-One Wedding Planner app to keep all of your planning data digitally on-hand.
12. Don’t be afraid to speak up.
Your wedding ceremony providers have to be your go-to, most trusted professionals in the course of making plans. When working with them, you should feel free to truly explore what you want—maybe it is serving a late-night snack rather than a big dinner or doing a bridal portrait consultation instead of an engagement consultation.
The bottom line is that you need to feel like you can have a sincere conversation about what you would ideally like to do. Their job will be to tell you what you can and cannot make happen given your wedding ceremony finances.
13. Wait for a date.
Sometimes, last-minute planning can work in your favor. The closer your date, the extra bargaining power you have. Since the majority book their wedding ceremony venues at least six months in advance, calling for open dates two months prior to your desired time can save you up to 25 percent. Plus, Friday and Sunday weddings should cost about 30 percent less than Saturday weddings.
14. Take it one step at a time.
Make a wedding planning timetable and do things one at a time, in a logical order, so that you do not take on an excessive amount of work too quickly ad end up with everything snowballing round you. Don’t book any providers before you decide on a date, don’t design your cake before you’ve decided on what your flowers will look like and don’t book a band before you’ve decided on a venue.
15. Manage the mail.
Of course, you need the ideal stamps for your wedding invitations. But not all stamps are readily available at all post offices, especially not in large quantities. Save yourself time by ordering them online at USPS.Com.
Be sure to weigh your invitation and all the extra paper products before than you ship them out so that you can attach the proper quantity of postage. Ask at the post office about the need for additional postage for oddly shaped envelopes.
16. Prepare for rejection.
Know that almost always, about 10 to 20 percent of the people you invite might not attend. Naturally, this hinges on the location of your wedding (destination weddings are harder to attend), what number of out-of-towners are on your list, and the timing of the event (some guests might also have annual holiday plans).
17. Make a uniform decision on children.
You have 4 choices: You can welcome youngsters with open arms, you can decide to have an “adults only” wedding ceremony, you could include immediate family only, or you may rent a childcare professional to offer day care either at the reception space, in a room or at a family member’s home. To prevent hurt feelings, it’s clever to avoid permitting some families to bring children whilst others are not able to.
18. Prioritize your people.
Pare down your guest list with the “levels of precedence” trick. Place immediate family, the bridal procession, and best friends at the top of the list, remember aunts, uncles, cousins, and close pals you cannot imagine celebrating without.
Under that, list your mom and dad’s friends, associates, co-workers and so on. If you want to make some cuts, start from the bottom till you reach your ideal range.
19. Guests bringing guests.
If your guest list is bursting at the seams, investigate the plus-one scenario. Do a fake seating chart in your mind, and picture whom your unmarried or single friend might sit with. If there is a table of singles that they are friendly with then you are all set.
If you can only place the friend at a table of couples (making them the odd one out) or if it is a table of singles where they won’t know anyone then consider bending the guidelines. If asked why you are not allowing single friends to bring visitors, mention your budget constraints, people will understand.
20. Leave some room for your wallet.
Your wedding price range has to comply with this formulation:
- 48 to 50 percent of general finances on the reception,
- 8 to 10 percent for flowers,
- 8 to 10 percent for clothes,
- 8 to 10 percent for entertainment,
- 10 to 12 percentage for photo/video,
- 2 to 3 percent for invitations,
- 2 to 3 percent for items, and
- 8 percent for miscellaneous things like a wedding coordinator.
It’s crucial to allocate a further 5 to 10 percent of your cash for costs like printing more invites due to errors, additional tailoring needs, umbrellas for a wet day and ribbons for the wedding packages.
21. Reserve rooms.
As soon as you have picked a date, begin to search for hotels across a range of price points. Many hotels help you to reserve rooms for guests under a special wedding ceremony block and a discounted charge. You can then release any un-booked rooms a month prior to your wedding ceremony.
If the hotels you contact insist upon contracts with cancellation penalties, just say no—you do not want to be accountable for rooms you can’t fill.
22. Keep a paper trail.
Get any nonstandard changes for your agreements in writing or send the seller a confirmation e-mail announcing, “Hello, just confirming that you will keep the venue open until 2 a.m. versus midnight.”
Don’t simply expect everything to run smoothly. When the day rolls around the person you contacted may not remember to follow through on the arrangement, get it all agreed and documented in advance.
23. Be selective with your guest list.
Sorting the guest list early is critical so you can then focus on finding the perfect venue to cater for your preferred quantity of guests. Cost per head for guests will probably be your biggest expense so don’t be guilt tripped into inviting people you don’t really want to add to the list. It’s the largest and toughest choice in the whole wedding planning process but it must be yours and your partner’s decision.
24. Learn about marriage licenses.
You can take a look at your country’s marriage license requirements online but check with a call to the county clerk’s office to find out when they’re open. Even if they open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. there will still be times when it’s harder to get a license such as, for example, Thursdays from 2 p.m. To 3 p.m. Give a copy of your marriage license to your mom or maid of honor, just in case you lose yours around the time of your wedding.
READ MORE: All About Virtual Wedding Certificate
25. Go over ground rules.
Be organized—ask the supervisor of the house of worship or place where you’ll be married for the list of regulations (if any). For instance, is flash photography prohibited? Are there rules about modesty? If you’re exchanging vows outside, are you allowed to plant tent stakes in the lawn?
26. Classify your cash.
Wedding budgets are all about balance. Start your financial planning by making a tick list of the crucial info, just like the venue, your wedding gown, the invites, the food, and the photographer, and assign a number to each—1 being the most critical and 3 being the least.
Invest your cash more predominantly in numbers 1 and 2 and try to cut down on anything in number 3. Remember that you can’t put everything under number 1! For instance, if a gown and splendid food are what you want to prioritize you must pick simple invitations and smaller flower arrangements.
27. Help guests pay attention.
Make certain your guests can both see and pay attention from their seats. If people are seated farther than 15 rows back from your ceremony altar or podium, think about renting a mic and a raised platform. These can vary in price depending on the type used so shop around. You’ll need to coordinate the delivery and setup along with your ceremony space, so put your wedding ceremony planner or best man in charge of this assignment.
28. Write down your digits.
Keep an emergency contact sheet or telephone with your vendor contacts on you for your wedding day—it should be available and accessible in case your limo driver gets lost or you decide you want your photographer to take some behind-the-scenes photographs.
29. Schedule the setup.
You ought to make certain there will be sufficient time for setup. If you’re renting a venue and bringing in help, ask what time people can come in to start setting up. See if they can do it the day before, or at least early on the wedding ceremony day before the occasion starts.
30. Call the fashion police.
Don’t go dress shopping on your own—all of the gowns will start to appear the same after some time and it will be harder to recall which one you actually cherished. However, be careful who you take with you. If your mom or a sibling cannot come, ask a pal who is honest and sincere. This is the time when you need a truthful opinion.
31. Be practical with your time.
When it comes down to the last month of your planning (and when you’re particularly harried) study your-mile-long to-do list and cut three things. Yes, cut three things. Not vital stuff, of course, but extras like choosing procession music or making last minute confirmations of details.
Eliminate the over-the-top obligations like hand-painting “Just Married” signs or baking cookies for all of the guests. Cross them off and make a pledge now not to consider them again.
32. Start making plans early.
You’ve got May 2022 in your mind as the precise wedding date, but don’t think that means you have to wait ages before you start making plans! The earlier you get onto it, the easier, and much less traumatic it’ll be as your day nears.
Having a clear plan before you begin will help you keep on top of the process and you are less likely to overlook something important. Insurance, tough visitor list numbers and the budget must be your first 3 priorities.
33. Nail down the finances.
Don’t spend anything till you’ve set a practical price range that won’t stretch you too far. It’s a common mistake to forget about all of the little extras, you need to factor in every element. Don’t neglect to account for added charges like dress changes, presents and beauty expenses. These can all add up!
34. Helping hands.
Although it’s your big day, your pals and circle of relatives can be more than willing to assist and could want to be involved in the planning. By getting help from people you know well you’re more likely to get honest answers during the process!
35. Long distance venues.
Many people don’t want to get married in the area they currently live in. They prefer to return to where they grew up or to go to a much-loved holiday destination. The further you plan your day from most of your guest’s hometowns, however, the less people will be able to attend.
Location choice may also affect timing – you can’t anticipate visitors in Liverpool to get to Somerset by 11am, for instance. This is mainly critical if you’re planning a marriage overseas. Essentially the further away you plan your day you need to be aware that more people won’t be able to make it.
36. Make certain you have a “Plan B” in place.
Although you shouldn’t endlessly worry, you need to accept that things can go wrong on the day and “Plan B” options should be thought about. This can be anything from a problem with the catering to rain (notwithstanding the forecast promising a dry day). Plan options for every scenario so that you’re not left burdened and panicking on the big day.
37. Pick your party.
Your bridesmaids ought to be your biggest guide all through the planning process, so pick well. Friends you’ve lately made or cousins you do not often see are not the first-class choice. Instead pick your sisters, long–term, first-rate friends, or close family. You’ll want to have a look at your wedding ceremony album a few years later and to still be in contact with all your bridesmaids.
38. Book the best photographer you can.
Your wedding album is the way you’ll relive the cherished memories of your day, so don’t underestimate the significance of an awesome photographer. Research carefully and discover someone who is familiar with precisely what you need. Engagement shoots are a splendid concept too, because you’ll get to understand your photographer better as well as practicing your poses!
39. Get the menu arranged.
One of the most important talking points at any wedding ceremony is the meal. From hog roasts and buffets to bake offs and mini fish ‘n’ chips, the quirkier the better! Avoid skimping in this area – hungry visitors are in no way a good thing!
40. Feel good, but don’t overdo it!
Everyone wants to look great in their wedding photographs, so many people undertake a diet regime and exercise program to slim and tone their body. On the other hand, going on an excessive weight loss program is not a good idea, just understand that your groom wants to marry you precisely the way you are!
41. Don’t fall for common beauty mishaps!
The main culprits right here are too much fake tan, colored–in eyebrows and too much foundation! Yes, you will need to wear slightly heavier make–up than usual to make your features stand out in snap shots, but don’t go loopy! 2019 is all about soft, smoky eyes and peachy tones on the lips and cheeks.
42. Make it personal.
Your wedding is all about the 2 of you, so attempt to involve as much of your personalities into the day as you can. From the table decorations and favors to the clothing and first dance, guest have to say, ‘that’s so them!’
43. Lists, lists and more lists!
With 1,000,000 and one providers to contact, each with price deadlines, it’s not possible to keep track of everything yourself. Sit down with your h2b, make a budget spreadsheet of forecast prices and real prices in addition to when payments are due, and list what things are left to do.
44. Don’t overlook what’s important.
Wedding planning can be traumatic however in case you find yourself getting too caught up in all of it, take a step back and remind yourself what your wedding is really about – you are marrying the love of your life!
45. Tend to your bar.
Typically, you need one bartender for every 50 visitors to hold the line at a minimum. But in case you’re serving a signature cocktail that can’t be made beforehand (or in huge quantities), remember that you need to include an extra server for this.
If you’re planning to hire a friend to serve drinks, make sure you supply a really good cocktail kit, like this one.
46. Vendors are your golden price tag.
Be diligent while hiring providers. Find references for all your providers, and create a spreadsheet with data, and a back-up contact for all of them. As a rule of thumb, usually most providers are just the same as for any tradeshow or company occasion, however in this situation, there may be a DJ, a food and beverage caterer, lighting and décor supplier, a photographer, or a wedding dress boutique.
It’s crucial to have meetings with all vendors and to feel a connection with them from the get-go. They need to really understand what it is you need them to achieve for your big day.
47. Provide correct directions.
Make guests certain that they know where they are going. As smooth as online map packages are to apply, now and again the instructions are wrong or there’s a quicker route to take.
Ask your ceremony and reception websites for printouts or digital copies of endorsed driving directions and even test out the routes yourself. Include the best guidelines on your wedding website or e-mail them to your guests to print out.
48. It’s all about customer support.
You want your wedding to be a wonderful time for both you and your guests. Work with your providers to create a very personalized experience, not just for you and your soon to be spouse, but for everyone attending.
Think about having welcome bags for your guests. These can contain the agenda of the day or weekend’s activities, customized chocolates or even a local beer! Your guests will love these and the more thoughtful you make them the more popular they will be!
Remember all occasions take a large amount of time, sweat and work to be pulled off, however, weddings are events of an extraordinary nature. They take months, sometimes years, to arrange collectively, all the effort pays off in the end.
49. Decorations for outdoor weddings.
One of the bonuses of an outdoor wedding ceremony is the natural beauty around you, lessening your need to decorate, however you still need to do something. Visit the venue a week earlier than your wedding to make sure the grass is mown, the ground raked, and the flowers have bloomed.
If your wedding ceremony is at a public park, you might want to invite the groomsmen or buddies to do this the morning of your ceremony. If it’s been a mainly cold season, you could want to supplement the flowers with some potted bulbs from a florist. Other decorations you may need to think about are an arch or trellis to frame the bride and groom as they are saying their vows, strings of lighting fixtures or lanterns, luminarias, or torches.
50. Listen to mother nature.
Heed the climate and other potential annoyances. Temperature is a big consideration as you don’t want your guests to be too hot or cold. Bugs (gnats, deer flies and mosquitos) can be a problem in certain regions during the summer months, you may need to arrange pest control measures if this is the case.
If you have a sunset ceremony, make sure you know when to say your vows by checking SunriseSunset.Com. Oh—and very importantly, always have a Plan B for surprising weather snafus.
51. Hand Off the Heavy Lifting to a Pro
While it’s a good idea to keep everything we highlighted above in mind when planning your wedding, many couples find – some sooner than others – that there are a lot of moving parts to keep track of, even in the simplest of weddings.
Hiring a planner might be the way to go, especially if you’re just not interested in making this a day you never forget because of how much it stresses you out!
Here are some tips and tricks to help you out.
Benefits of Hiring a Wedding Planner
Planning a wedding can be a daunting task, but with the help of a professional wedding planner, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your special day without any stress.
Here are a few benefits of hiring a wedding planner that will have you saying “I do” to the idea in no time:
- Time-saving: Wedding planners have a wealth of experience and knowledge when it comes to planning and executing weddings. They know all the best vendors, venues and can save you hours of time by handling all the logistics, leaving you more time to focus on the fun stuff, like cake tasting and dress shopping.
- Budget-saving: Wedding planners know how to stretch your budget to its fullest potential. They have established relationships with vendors and can often negotiate better deals, saving you money in the process.
- Stress-reducing: Planning a wedding can be overwhelming, but with a wedding planner by your side, you’ll have someone to turn to when things get overwhelming. They will handle all the little details, so you don’t have to.
- Personal touch: A wedding planner will take the time to get to know you and your partner, so they can create a wedding day that truly reflects your personalities and style. They can help you with ideas and suggestions that you may not have thought of on your own.
- Day of coordination: On the day of your wedding, the last thing you want to worry about is the timing of the speeches or making sure the caterer has enough appetizers. A wedding planner will handle all of that, so you can focus on enjoying your day.
- Professional perspective: A wedding planner has seen it all and knows how to handle any situation that may arise on your big day. They know how to solve problems quickly and effectively, so you don’t have to.
How to Find the Best Wedding Planner
When it comes to hiring a wedding planner, there are a few key things you should keep in mind to ensure you’re getting the best of the best.
Here’s a list of what to look for when hiring a pro wedding planner:
- Experience: You don’t want a wedding planner who’s just starting out and still learning the ropes. Look for someone with a wealth of experience planning and executing successful weddings.
- Style: Make sure the planner’s aesthetic aligns with your own. After all, you don’t want someone who’s all about rustic chic planning a sleek and modern wedding for you.
- Responsiveness: Time is of the essence, and you don’t want a wedding planner who takes forever to respond to your emails or calls. Look for someone who’s responsive and easy to get in touch with.
- Attention to detail: The devil is in the details, and you want a planner who pays attention to every last one of them. Look for someone who’s organized and detail-oriented.
- Flexibility: No two weddings are the same, and you want a planner who can roll with the punches and adapt to your unique needs and wants.
- Vendor relationships: A good planner will have established relationships with all the best vendors in town. This means you’ll have access to the best of the best and potentially save some money too.
- A sense of humor: Planning a wedding can be a bit overwhelming, so you want a planner who can make you laugh and lighten the mood.
- Willingness to take on tasks: A good planner should be willing to take on any task required to make your wedding perfect. From finding the perfect dress to coordinating with vendors, they should be ready and willing to do it all.
Also, look at 21 Most Creative Wedding Themes for more ideas.
Weddings may be a lot of fun to plan as an event expert, but it can still be enjoyable for anyone willing to embrace the process. Having the right equipment and recommendations ahead of time will help stop things getting overwhelming and stressful. Hopefully these 50 guidelines will come in handy for any event expert, or quickly-to-be wedding ceremony planner!
Can you think of any wedding ceremony planning guidelines that we forgot? Share below!
I’m a freelance journalist/writer/content marketer with BA Hons in Journalism.