Wedding planning can often be a complicated process and time to navigate. To some wedding planning is a dream they have prepared for, for years. To others, planning a wedding can be a nightmare. There's lots to think about from setting a date to finding the right venue, selecting vendors and planning your honeymoon getaway.
If you start planning early and follow our step-by-step wedding planning checklist, you’ll avoid the stress and will enjoy the experience more.
Some people want to shout their news from the rooftops. Whilst others prefer to keep things more private. Either way you will probably have some close friends or family members who you want to share in your good news. If you can tell them in person, if not, a phone call is good too.
Dreams and a blue sky
Start talking about what a wedding means to each of you. We all have different ideas of what makes our perfect wedding. Discussing what your hopes and dreams are for the day means you can plan a wedding which reflects your uniqueness as a couple.
Themes and wedding color schemes
What do you want your wedding to look like? What mood and feel best reflects you as a couple? Have you seen a theme which fits you both or do particular colors mean more to you? Talk about your ideas together.
Set your wedding budget
One of the biggest sources of stress in wedding planning can be the cost. Wedding expenses can add up quickly. Talking together, and with any family who might be contributing, early on helps you to know how much you can spend on your venue, vendors and that all important dress. Setting a wedding budget isn't romantic, but it does help you to be realistic in your expectations for the day.
As you start to plan your wedding you will probably be making lots of notes, jotting down ideas and collecting information from vendors as well as contracts and contract details. It is also a good idea to keep track of your budget. Collect this together in a folder or wedding planning app. Having everything in one place will help you keep track of what you need to do next.
Set a wedding date and make your guest list
Decide which time of year you want to get married then check availability with any important guests, such as close family and friends. Pick a month rather than specific dates and be prepared to be a little flexible with days and dates. A venue may not be available if you only have one date in mind. Next draw up a rough guest list. This helps to give a venue an idea of headcount. Remember, the more guests you invite, the higher the cost will often be.
Research wedding suppliers in San Francisco
Take time to look at different vendors things such as wedding photographers, caterers and dress suppliers. Don't make hasty decisions. Visit local wedding fairs and talk to friend and family, as well as researching online reviews. This can save you money and ensure your day really is a reflection of your style.
Choosing your wedding venue
Choosing a wedding ceremony and reception venue can be the hardest part of planning a wedding. Are you having the ceremony and reception in the same venue or a church wedding and then on to a separate reception? Time of year can play a big part here. If you have a summer ceremony, you may want to take advantage of the good weather and set part of your wedding outdoors, but make sure there are provisions for bad weather too. Wedding reception venues in San Francisco can get booked up pretty far in advance, so try and think outside the box when looking at reception spaces.
Choose your wedding photographer
Your wedding day is a blue, so capturing those memories in beautiful pictures and video is hugely important. The best San Francisco wedding photographers and videographers usually get booked up months in advance. It is a good idea to start booking vendors and paying deposits as soon as you have booked on your venue and ceremony. Most wedding photographers will have an online gallery of wedding photography you can look at to make sure the photographer matches your style. Treat other vendors in the same way, looking for samples and gathering as much info as you can.
You can see some of our beautiful San Francisco wedding photography in our gallery.
Choosing your wedding dress
For lots of women this is one of the best bits of the whole wedding experience. But for others, this can be a very stressful experience with the pressure to get the perfect dress overwhelming. Start with a good bit of research in magazines and online so you have a good idea of what you are looking for before you get to a store. Your wedding dress is important, so take time to try on different styles and fits before you choose your dress. Dress shops can often take up to 9 months to deliver a finished dress, so get in early.
Wedding food, drink and entertainment
Your wedding should be a fantastic celebration and party. So your guests deserve the best wedding food, drink and entertainment you can find. Some venues will supply catering, drinks and entertainment in a package price, whilst others may just supply the space. Going with a package deal can be cheaper, but may give you less choice. You also need to cater for any guests with special diets such as vegetarian, vegan, gluten free or other accommodations. You also don't have to go for a sit down meal. Today people love to do something a little different such as having a hog roast, BBQ or getting in some food stall. When it comes to entertainment, the only limit is your imagination. For some the right thing is refined orchestral music. Others may want to rock out. as with anything in your wedding, you should make a choice which reflects you as individuals and as a couple.
Lastly and most importantly…. Have fun!
Don't let wedding planning run away from you. There will be times when it seems that it has become your whole life, or that you can't do any more. At other times you'll feel to happy to be planning your wedding day that you won't want to do anything else. As you plan your wedding, make sure to take time as a couple, a team, to enjoy every minute creating memories you will spend a lifetime remembering.