Are you ready to plan the party of a lifetime?! OK, since you’re here, you might be looking for a little direction. And I totally get that. Planning your own wedding is daunting, especially without a fancy wedding planner, but trust me, you’ve got this. I planned my entire backyard wedding from start to finish, and though I’m not going to lie and say it was always easy, it was so much fun, incredibly rewarding, and I learned a lot.
Those lessons are what I’m going to share with you in this article. So, let’s talk about tips and tricks on how to plan your own wedding – like a pro-fesh.
Master Planning Your Own Wedding in 10 Critical Tips
Starting early and taking a strategic approach is key. Here are the ten essential tips to consider to ensure your wedding planning journey is a success.
#1 | Start Early
To plan your own wedding, the more time you have, the less stressful it will be. When you consider your wedding date, try to give yourself some breathing room. With a year or more to plan, you can really focus on tackling the big stuff first (booking your venue and vendors) in addition to leaving yourself plenty of time for the fun stuff (the decor, the signage, and all the DIYs). More time will also give you more flexibility to handle any unexpected changes that could arise.
#2 | Delegate & Use Your Resources
Even if you don’t have the budget for an official wedding planner or day-of coordinator, that doesn’t mean you are left without resources. The key to success in planning your own wedding is not being afraid to ask your friends and family for help.
- Match Tasks with Skills. Consider what each of your inner circle is good at and might be willing to help manage for you. Things like DIY projects, pick-ups, making calls, or helping with set-up are all great tasks to delegate.
- Appoint a Day of Coordinator. Delegate a day-of-wedding point of contact. While you’re getting ready for the big day, someone has to be fielding vendor questions, confirming their arrivals, and helping with set-up. This person should be someone you trust, but who is not in your wedding party.
- Ask them early. The more time you both have to tackle whatever it is you’re asking them to do, the easier it will be for someone to say yes.
Worst case? You ask. They say no, but if you’re working with plenty of time, then you’ll be able to adapt.
#3 | Budget Wisely
Set a realistic spending limit at the beginning and prioritize expenses based on what matters most to you. Have a budget in mind before you begin planning, and your priorities set, so you’ll know where you have room to splurge, and where you’ll need to look for more cost-effective alternatives.
Check out how to plan a wedding on a budget for tips on setting your spending limit and smart planning tips to save.
#4 | Get Organized
There are five things you should do from the get go to help you stay organized (and keep your sanity) while planning your own wedding.
- Set up a dedicated wedding email: I don’t know about you, but finding an email in the abyss of my inbox is a JOB. Save yourself the hassle and set-up a unique wedding planning email to keep everything in one place.
- Make a Financial Plan: Keep your finances organized by creating a unique savings or checking account. You might even think about a high yield savings account that accumulates interest and using point-based credit cards for payments.
- Create an Organizer: Whether you’re more digitally inclined, or love a good ‘ole three-ringed binder (me!), create a space to keep all of your wedding details, receipts and notes. Your checklists are going to be your best friends during wedding planning. Keep them close and consult them regularly to see what small or large tasks you have time to tackle. Check out my top 20 list of DIY wedding checklists and organizers for more on this topic.
- Create a Vision Board: Another great organizing tool you should create is a vision board. Pinterest wedding vision boards are ideal for organizing your ideas quickly, but you can also make a physical version if you so choose. This will help you plan your aesthetic.
- Create a wedding website: Create a wedding website early, even if you’ve got literally zero details to fill in. Then, take advantage of the integrated tools most offer to streamline your process, such as registry builders, RSVP management, and guest message boards.
#5 | Break It Down Into Bite Sized Tasks
Planning your own wedding can be a big stressor. So, my biggest tip for avoiding that feeling of overwhelm is to: 𝓫𝓻𝓮𝓪𝓴 𝓮𝓿𝓮𝓻𝔂 𝓽𝓪𝓼𝓴 𝓲𝓷𝓽𝓸 𝓼𝓶𝓪𝓵𝓵𝓮𝓻 𝓫𝓲𝓽𝓮-𝓼𝓲𝔃𝓮𝓭 𝓽𝓪𝓼𝓴𝓼.
Each task should be something you could accomplish (if you wanted to or had to) within a day, considering you also probably have a full time job or some kind of responsibility that isn’t planning a wedding.
Here is an example of what I mean, because I like to show vs. tell!
𝐁𝐢𝐠 𝐭𝐚𝐬𝐤: Book a venue
𝐒𝐦𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐫 𝐁𝐢𝐭𝐞-𝐒𝐢𝐳𝐞𝐝 𝐓𝐚𝐬𝐤𝐬:
- Create Venue Comparison Document
- Begin Initial List
- Begin Research
- Create a Short List
- Schedule Venue Visits
- Draft Questions for Venue Visits
- Complete Venue Visits
- Compile Final Notes
- Decide on Final Venue
- Review Contract and Book!
By breaking down your wedding planning into manageable tasks, you can ensure that your DIY wedding goes off without a hitch.
#6 | Research, Research, Research
Before making any decisions, make sure you’re doing due diligence to heavily research. Whether that’s deciding on a venue or picking your attire, make sure you explore multiple alternatives, read reviews, ask all the hard questions and keep everything organized to be able to compare/contrast.
This will be key in not only finding the best fit for your vision and budget, but will also help to ensure you get a quality product or service, no matter your budget.
#7 | Get the “Big Stuff” Done First
As much as you might want to skip ahead to all your fun DIY projects, I strongly advise against that. Get all of your “big stuff” out of the way first. And by big stuff I mean your venue, your key vendors like photographer, DJ/band, caterer, florist, transportation, and baker. And, if you’ve got a DIY wedding venue, you may need to add rentals to this list.
This will ensure none of the vendors you’ve got your eye on get booked up while you were busy doing other things. You’ll also have a good sense of how you’re tracking against your target budget to see what is left for decor, signage and all the extras.
#8 | Check for Restrictions
When you’re planning a your own wedding, permits can be an easy thing to overlook. Mainly because this is something you wouldn’t need to contract on your own if you’re going through a full-service venue. That said, if you’re considering more DIY wedding venues, then you’ll need to make sure you’re securing any permits for alcohol, noise, or special events you might need through your town.
#9 | Prepare for the Unexpected
With any wedding or event, there is always the element of surprise. Whether that’s an unexpected guest, or the dreaded bad weather. Go into this with an open mind and know that there will be things that come up as you go.
Consider alternative options for your ceremony and reception, and have clear communication with vendors. Wedding insurance can also be a smart investment.
#10 | Make Time for R&R
OK, so we’ve pretty much covered all your basics for how to plan your own wedding, so just one final thought to help you on your journey. It might sound counterintuitive to productivity, but trust that taking time away from wedding planning can be the best thing for you, especially if overwhelm starts to set in.
In these instances, your brain needs a reset. Get some exercise, meet a friend for drinks, plan a date night with your fiance, just STEP. AWAY. FROM. THE. WEDDING. PLANS. Read that again slowly so you commit it to memory.
Additional Resources for Planning Your Own Wedding
Feeling ready to plan your own wedding? If not and you’re looking for more, here are some additional reading you might find useful:
- How to Start Planning a Wedding: 10 Steps After Saying Yes
- How to Plan a Wedding on a Budget
- How to DIY Your Own Wedding Invitations
- DIY Wedding Venues 101
- How to Buy and Sell Used Wedding Items
Remember, this process should be a fun and rewarding experience. With these key considerations, you’ll be well on your way to creating a magical day that reflects your unique love story. You’ve got this, and I can’t wait to see you walk down that aisle on your big day!
Still have questions? Or found something else that works you want to share with other DIY wedding planners? Drop a comment! I’d love to hear from you.
The Savvy Swaréy