One of your first thoughts after getting engaged might be, “Now what?” Figuring out the first steps on how to plan a wedding can be overwhelming. There’s so much to do; where do you even start?!

How to Plan a Wedding: The First Steps

Thankfully, there are a few key steps that you can take in the early days of your engagement. These can help get the ball rolling to planning one of the biggest days of your life!

Here are 11 of the first steps that you can take when figuring out how to plan a wedding.

Enjoy Your Engagement

Before you jump right into wedding planning, take some time to enjoy your engagement! Even if you knew that your engagement was coming, this is a special time that you should enjoy.

Jump up and down in excitement, stare at your new ring, and kiss your fiancé as much as possible. Take pictures of where you got engaged and write down every detail. Take pictures of your ring. Soak in every moment, because this is the only time in your life when you’ll be newly engaged!

Share the News

Once you’ve fully soaked in your engagement, share the news with the people who are closest to you! Both sets of parents should be the first to know, even if they already knew it was coming. Ideally, this should be done in person, but do whatever works for your family dynamic.

Then, share the news with the rest of your close family and friends. This might include siblings or best friends. If there is anyone likely to be in your wedding party, those should be the people that you tell first!

Have an Engagement Party

Having an engagement is optional, and isn’t for everyone. However, if you plan to have a longer engagement (2 years or more), then an engagement party could be an excellent idea. It gives everyone the chance to celebrate the two of you before the wedding.

Buy a Journal — and Use It!

This journal can double as a planner and a way to write down all of your wedding planning memories. It can be something that you cherish for years to come. It’s also a great way to vent all of your frustrations throughout the process!

Decide on a Season

One of the most important aspects of planning your wedding is to figure out what season you would like to have it in.

Have you always dreamed of a winter wedding in the snow? Do you picture yourself getting married on the beach in the summer? Maybe you want colorful leaves in the background of your wedding portraits? Do you want perfect, middle-ground weather in the spring?

Whatever you choose, this will give you something to go off of when looking at wedding venues. It also sets the tone for the theme of your wedding, how much time you have to plan, and more.

If you want, you can even choose a few specific dates that you might want. However, keep in mind that the more specific you get with your date, the more limited you will be when looking at venues. It will all depend on their availability. Venues typically start to book up at a year or more in advance.

Set the Tone

Next, you’ll probably want to decide the tone of your wedding. Do you want it to be formal, casual, or somewhere in-between? You will also need to decide if you want a religious or secular ceremony.

You need to decide what you want your wedding to feel like. A good way to start planning this is to sit down with your partner and start jotting down your visions. You’ll be able to narrow it down as you go.

Set the Budget

Setting your wedding budget is one of the first things that need to be done. You will need to figure out who is helping to contribute financially (if anyone) and how much they are willing to contribute. Then, you’ll need to figure out how much you and your partner can contribute.

You’ll also need to decide whether or not you’re willing to go into debt for your wedding day.

Start a Guest List Draft

Next, you’ll want to start figuring out what your guest list will look like. This will have a factor in a lot of things — your budget, the size of your venue, favors, how many people are out of town guests, etc.

Once you start the venue search, many of them will ask you a rough estimate of how many guests you will be inviting.

Choose Attendants

Typically, attendants in a wedding do much more than just stand next to you during the ceremony. Although you can choose not to have a wedding party, many couples choose to have between 2 and 12 members.

If they live close to you, it’s nice to ask in person, possibly with a gift. If not, a phone call is okay.

Choose a Venue

Again, many venues start to book up a year or more in advance. So the earlier you start your search, the better! Be sure to look at reviews online and go tour each venue in person.

For more advice on the wedding venue search, check out this blog post that we wrote!

Get Wedding Planning Support!

The final step to beginning your wedding planning is to get all of the support that you can find.

First, you’ll want to consider hiring a wedding planner. Whether you choose a full-service planning package or a month-of coordination package, a wedding planner can help ease a lot of the stress of wedding planning! We can help you choose the best vendors for your personality and needs, save you money, and more.

Next, be sure to utilize all of the online resources that you can find. This could be checklists, The Knot, WeddingWire, and more.

Finally, use the people that are closest to you. If you don’t ask them for help, then they won’t ever know you need help! Ask your fiancé to go to appointments with you, ask your parents to help with tasks, and ask your bridal party to help you. You’ll be surprised at how much people are willing to help with your wedding!