Welcome to the future bride and groom! And congratulations on your wedding! I thought it was important to tell you about the beginning of your preparations! This is probably the first post I should have written on the blog though! But better late than never. For those of you who have already started the organization of your wedding, this article could still be useful, to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything and to help you prepare better. It is true that after the proposal we already start dreaming of the perfect day but without necessarily knowing where to start organizing our wedding. That’s why we are going to see the different chronological steps of the planning of your wedding step by step. The goal is to give you a simple and effective framework to guide you until the D-day.
Where to start organizing your wedding ?
You are certainly drowned in a flood of ideas, of things to think about without really knowing where to start. I also imagine and I warn you that the next few months will be rich in emotions, doubts, compromises and joy (anyway). You will have the impression to talk about wedding, eat wedding and sleep wedding. I reassure you that this is quite normal. The organization of your wedding can be a source of stress: fear of forgetting something, fear that everything is not perfect or that you do not have time to prepare everything. Anyway, if you follow step by step this article you should feel more serene in your organization.
Step 1: Plan and manage your time
The organization of a wedding is long! Very long indeed. The first thing to do is to set the date of your wedding. Since all your preparations will revolve around this date, it will be important to choose it well and to ask yourself these few questions: When are your guests likely to be most available? Do you have an idea of the theme of your wedding (we have rarely seen a Christmas and snow theme in the middle of August)? In which region do you want to get married? Do you want an outdoor wedding? The criteria to consider are: The year of the wedding (please allow at least 1 year to organize everything serenely), the season, the day of the week and of course if you have a key or symbolic date for you.
Once the date is set, I invite you to make a checklist of all the things to do during your preparations: find the wedding rings, try on the dresses, make an appointment with the town hall etc… Until you create this tool for the blog you can easily find it on the internet. By crossing out the tasks as you go along you will be able to see the progress of your preparations and it is a satisfaction factor! Thanks to this checklist, I encourage you to make a retroplanning of your wedding preparations. Concretely, take all the things you have to do and classify them by order of priority during the allotted time. To complete this, don’t hesitate to consult the article: “Top applications to download for your wedding”.
Step 2: Budget your wedding!
The second step is the wedding budget. Before you start spending anything, it is necessary to discuss your budget. That is to say, the amount of money you wish to allocate to your wedding. To give you an idea, you can find the article: What is the cost of a wedding? My first piece of advice is to know the average cost of a wedding and to set a round global amount. You will have to allow for a margin of maneuver because it is important to specify that on average the initial amount is exceeded by 15%. The idea is therefore to set up the ideal budget that you will impose to respect as much as possible. And then the maximum budget being 15% higher. This maximum will represent your limit and will determine the threshold of difficulty to finance if it is exceeded.
My second piece of advice is to discuss it with the two of you and imagine how much you will be willing to put into financing your wedding. Agree from the beginning because this decision will commit the rest of the preparations and can not be questioned. At the same time, take stock of your joint and respective accounts so that you don’t end up with nothing after your wedding or even worse in debt. This is not the goal.
Step 3: Make your guest list!
Well, it is clear that this part is a source of compromise. Agree right away if you want a large wedding or a small wedding (less than 50 people). It’s up to you. Do you want to be surrounded by a lot of people for your big day or do you want a more intimate atmosphere? Also, determine a maximum number of guests that will serve as a reference throughout the development of your guest list for your wedding.
My advice: Make several guest lists. Start by preparing a list on your own. Then, pool the lists by removing duplicates. If you are within your maximum number, that’s fine. You can even ask your parents if they want to invite people. If not, you’ll have to compromise. To learn more… consult the article on how to draw up a guest list for your wedding. You will find tips and tricks to prepare it more easily.
It is now time to gather all your guests and their contact information in an Excel file and you are lucky I created a tool to manage your guest list! It is available for free in the blog’s toolbox.
4th step: Prepare the administrative aspects and agree on the wedding form!
You probably know this, but a reminder doesn’t hurt: a civil marriage is mandatory! It is the only legal way to get married, in other words, that your marriage is recognized by the law. It must be celebrated before the religious or secular ceremony. So you will have to agree on the town hall where you will celebrate your union. Traditionally it is the town of origin of the bride. But it can be the town of your residence or that of a relative. Remember to withdraw your marriage file and to deposit it in time for the publication of the banns. You will also have to choose your matrimonial regime. By default, if you do not make a marriage contract you will be under the regime of the community reduced to acquests.
Concerning the religious or secular ceremony, this choice is totally personal. However, if you choose a religious wedding, you will certainly have to contact your place of worship and make an appointment with the officiant. For the secular ceremony it is less conditioned, but it will be necessary to foresee in advance your secular officiant and all his preparation. You can consult the guide to organizing a secular ceremony.
Finally, take the time to find out about the different insurances for your wedding. In the current context and more than ever, anything can happen. Even if only 1% of weddings are cancelled each year, it would be a shame if it were yours.
Step 5: Get inspired and choose the atmosphere of your wedding !
After all these steps, you will be able to start the most pleasant part! The search for ideas and inspirations. So, no matter if you are in the dark about the general atmosphere of your wedding or if on the contrary you have a lot of ideas, this part is very useful. Either to help you find ideas and inspiration or to gather your ideas and allow you to organize and sort them. The goal will be to allow you to create a moodboard of your wedding!
My first tip is to collect as many ideas as possible via Pinterest, Instagram and wedding blogs. Then you can make a first sort of what you both like to design the guideline of your wedding. Specifically this is the style, theme and key detail of your wedding. I explain all this in the article: creating a moodboard for your wedding.
6th step : Choose your suppliers
It’s time for appointments, tests and negotiations! The choice of the providers is essential. I advise you to rely on trust, feeling and professionalism. And above all, don’t stop at the first provider you meet. Take the time to discuss, negotiate and compare offers and prices. They will be responsible for a part of the good organization and the success of your wedding. Here is a chronological list of the service providers to contact and meet for your big day:
The reception venue: This is the first service provider to look for. To be sure of their availability, book at least 1 year in advance. And even a little more if you decide to get married in the Paris area or in a big city.
The caterer: As well as the reception venue, it is the second essential service provider of your wedding. Together they represent nearly 50% of your wedding budget. Consult the proposed menus, make test lunches and book as soon as possible to avoid the annual increase of their prices.
The photographer: This is THE service provider where you should not go wrong. The photographer and/or videographer will be responsible for your wedding memories and taking beautiful pictures is a profession.
The DJ: As the host of your party, his role is to set the tone and atmosphere of your wedding reception. Tell him what you want: the style of music, animations and lights to make sure you are on the same wavelength.
The florist: He is there to sublimate the decoration and bring a touch of freshness to your wedding. Let his advice guide you and consult the article: Succeed in the floral decoration of your wedding.
The baby-sitter: you will need to find someone to look after the children. Use a baby-sitter or a specialized company. They are used to it and plan activities especially for them.
Hair & Makeup Artist: Responsible for your makeup, do some tests a few weeks before the wedding.
Wedding Planner: If you have chosen to use a wedding planner this should be your number one service provider to look for. Since he or she will be in charge of finding the other professionals for you!
Step 7: The bride and groom’s outfits
Well, let’s not lie, you can start this step at the same time as the others. Especially since the wedding dress or the groom’s suit is often the priority and the most fun part of the preparations. Whether you choose a ready-to-wear wedding dress, a designer dress or a rental dress, you should plan at least 6 months in advance. Also, allow time for alterations before the big day.
Make a list of things you would like to incorporate into your wedding outfit: wedding dress, suit, hats, flower crowns, shoes, bow tie, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, lingerie, veil etc…
Last but not least, take time to choose your wedding rings. More and more brides and grooms are shopping together to have similar or complementary rings. Allow a little time if you want to have it engraved or if you choose a custom-made ring.
8th step : The decoration
It is directly linked to step 5: wedding ideas and inspirations. The main advice is to list and categorize your ideas according to the wedding venues: Civil ceremony, Religious or secular ceremony, Vin d’honneur, Reception venue, Dinner room, Photo Booth etc…
I remind you that “less is more”. It is better not to overload the decoration and to bet on quality rather than quantity. The decoration in the broadest sense includes flowers, guest gifts, lights, table plan, place cards, table names, menus, guest book, chair covers, kitty, candles… And any other object or element that will enhance the venue, remind the theme of the wedding or simply placed in a useful way.
9th step : The animations
In order to give rhythm and dynamism to your wedding day, it is imperative to plan the animations. In this step, the animations correspond to the opening of the ball, the speeches, the games, the balloon releases, the surprises planned by your guests etc… We can also add the animations proposed by providers like a caricaturist, a mixologist, a magician etc.
10th step : Prepare the D-day
That’s it, all the previous steps are finalized? Well done! Now it’s time to prepare the D-Day! The end of the countdown is approaching but that doesn’t mean that there are less things to prepare! Between the setting up of the room, the last appointments with suppliers, the confirmation of the guests you must be ready.