Wedding Planning, Weddings

October 27, 2020

How to Start Planning your Wedding: The Big Questions to Answer First

Engagement ring

SO…the love of your life just put a ring on it. (Can I get a woot woot!) 

You and your partner can’t WAIT to take this next step in your relationship and spend the rest of your lives together. 

The main thing standing in your way now is that little thing called a “wedding.” 

But where to even begin?

Maybe you’re ECSTATIC and want to start planning like, yesterday. Or maybe you’re mildly overwhelmed.

Honestly, wedding planning is never a walk in the park, and with the ongoing pandemic it has become especially difficult for couples. There’s more questions to consider when thinking about your wedding than ever before – and that can be overwhelming.

But the pandemic shouldn’t take the wind out of your wedding planning sails. There is still so much to be excited about! 

The biggest thing you can do for yourselves at the beginning of the planning process is to identify your negotiables and non-negotiables. This will help you as you begin working on your guest list and crafting a budget. But most importantly, it will help you deal with curveballs that the pandemic, life, or the wedding planning process throws your way. 

With the right questions, and mindset, you and your partner can get a jump start on planning your wedding (despite the chaos of the pandemic). And you can actually feel confident about it!

Here’s the questions you should review together first:

1. What are your three BIGGEST priorities for your wedding day?

When you envision your perfect wedding day, what three things stand out to you as absolute “must haves?” A.k.a. your non-negotiables. (maybe it’s having a ridiculous dance party, eating AMAZING food, or creating an awesome wedding weekend experience for your guests.)

By first thinking through the priorities that are most important to you and your partner, you’ll have a clearer picture of the things you will and won’t be willing to sacrifice. And, you’ll know what are the things you’re willing to spend energy (and money on.) Realistically you can’t spend HOURS on every single wedding detail (there’s literally not enough time in the day.) But if you know what things are most important to you, you know where you should be spending your time.

And if the pandemic drags on, you may have to make some tough decisions. Knowing what’s most important to you will help with that.

Plus, these priorities will help guide you while you create your guest list and develop your budget (which comes next!)

2. What would be your ideal number of guests?

Do you envision a more intimate wedding? Or a giant bash? How much would you be willing to budge on this number if social distancing restrictions remain in place for longer than anticipated?

Work on creating a first draft of your guest list. How close is the number on your guest list to the number you envisioned? Do you need to make adjustments?

3. What amount of money do you and your partner ideally want to spend on your wedding?

Is that realistic based on your priorities and anticipated guest count? (Sidebar: this is one area where wedding planners can be extremely useful – helping to set realistic budgets.)

But assuming you haven’t crossed that bridge yet, here’s an imperfect formula you can use to help gauge your budget. This formula shouldn’t be used when you begin creating a more detailed budget. But it can be helpful just to think through your early ballpark number. 

  • Based on your ideal guest count and budget, figure out what the cost per guest will be. To do this, take your ideal wedding budget and divide it by the guest count. (For example, if your wedding budget is $20,000 and your ideal guest count is 80, your cost per head would be about $250.) 
  • Looking at averages from 2019, couples were often spending upwards of $200 per head at their wedding. (That includes a range of wedding styles and sizes and is by no means the number you should shoot for. It could be higher, or lower, based on your vision.)
  • If you do your own calculations and the cost per guest is closer to $50, but one of your wedding priorities is having a fancy-AF meal…Well, you might need to revisit the guest count OR your budget. This is why it’s helpful to take your priorities, guest count, and budget into consideration first!

I’d love to say that everything will be back to normal in a year from now, but the truth is I have ZERO idea what 2021 will look like. Or what 2022 will look like. Nobody knows. We have to be optimistic, while still acknowledging that weddings may not be back to the way they were pre-pandemic. 

If you and your partner are struggling to tackle wedding planning right now, reach out to me to schedule a free 40 minute strategy session. We will dive deeper into what’s holding you back, and you get excited and moving forward. 

Or if you’ve started planning and already know you could use some back-up, learn more about my wedding planning services here!

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