How to Start Planning Your Wedding | A Step-by-Step Guide for the Overwhelmed Bride-to-Be

 October 28, 2019

By  Rachel Jordan

how to start planning your wedding

How to start planning your wedding? Now that the rush of excitement about your engagement has worn off a little, maybe your starting to realize that there is this extremely daunting task in front of you. PLANNING YOUR WEDDING.

And, if you’re like me, you went straight to Pinterest and saw a whole bunch of pictures of wedding dresses that are way out of your budget, on models that you pretty sure aren’t real brides, and are probably at least 4 sizes smaller than you. You pinned a whole bunch of floral inspirations and now you are back at square one- lots of pretty ideas, not so much planning done.

Then you slammed your laptop shut, got yourself a mug of hot cocoa and cried on the couch a little bit before telling your fiancé that you just wanted a courthouse wedding next week.

Le Sigh.

Well, I’m here to help. I’ve worked at many weddings over the past few years. Some that went well and others that didn’t go AS well as they could have. I have ALL the tips and advice to make this whole thing go a lot smoother.

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For real. Doing this by yourself is not fun. While you need to be the one that makes the ultimate decision about things, having someone who supports you and can help you through the decision making process is paramount. Sometimes it’s your fiancé, sometimes it’s your mom, sister, best friend… Just make sure a) you like spending a lot of time them, b) they are there to support your goals and don’t have their own agenda c) bonus points if they are organized.

This is the perfect time to ask someone to be your maid/matron of honor!


  1. Size of wedding: Big (200+), Medium (100+), Small (50+), Intimate (10 or less)
  2. Time of year: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter
  3. Non-negotiable must-haves that will dictate your budget
  4. Overall Budget

Answering these core questions will help you narrow your focus and allow you to make decisions where it seems there are endless possibilities.

If you know that having an intimate ceremony is important to you, and you want to get married in the spring, perhaps consider an elopement to somewhere that is utterly jaw-droppingly gorgeous in the spring!

Having a large wedding and love the autumn? You’ll need to find a venue that can accommodate a large amount of people indoors or under a tent if the weather turns against you.

Must have an AMAZING wedding photographer? You might consider what isn’t as important. A sit-down dinner? Open bar?

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For the average couple, your venue’s availability will decide your final wedding date. It’s important to get this date locked down, because EVERY OTHER VENDOR needs to know what it is! It’s really hard to book your other vendors without a date.

A couple tips for venue shopping:

  1. You don’t need to love every corner of your venue. You should love your ceremony site, and your reception area. The rest, you may not even see that much.
  2. You do need to have a good feeling and get along well with the owner/manager of the venue. They have the ability to make your wedding day miserable if you don’t get along.
  3. Keep referring back to the list you made before about your preferences, needs, and budget constraints to help keep you focused.
  4. Be ready to put down a deposit at a moment’s notice if the right place and the right date is available.


For a lot of couples this is their Photographer and their Wedding Planner or Coordinator. Next on the list is Videographer, Florist, Caterer, DJ, and Officiant. If having your hair and makeup done professionally is important to you, they should also be a priority. Most of the best vendors book up 6-12 months in advance, so don’t delay securing the best for your most important vendors!


This one is one of the most fun! Take your girls and go dress shopping! Keep your budget in mind and the weather of your date in mind, and find something that truly makes you feel like a beautiful bride.

Now is the time when Pinterest really comes in handy for all of the color and floral inspiration. You can craft to your heart’s content, and browse Etsy forever.

wedding planning checklist

Girl, you got this! Take it from here and throw the party of the century for your family and friends! Or elope to Hawaii. Whatever makes your day the most special day in your life, just do it. The best weddings are the ones filled with love, and backed by organization.

I believe in you.

Now, go plan your wedding!



About the Photographer

Rachel Jordan is a wedding and family photographer in Coeur d'Alene Idaho. Together with her husband Max, they offer photo and video services to the PNW and beyond!

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