Congrats on your engagement! Now comes something even more fun: making your occasion half as cool as your Pinterest board. There are so many different ways to design a memorable celebration. Get started by following these wedding planning steps, then sit back and say “I do… a really good job of wedding planning.”
Get into planning mode: Your step by step guide on how to plan a wedding.
1. Announce Your Engagement in Style
Your loved ones will be doing their happy dance when they hear the big news. The best way to tell everyone at once? By posting a photo (or several) on social media, of course. Whether you want to share a cute ring selfie or a more artsy image of the two of you, the first step in planning your wedding is actually choosing an engagement photo idea that will break the internet. You could hire a professional photographer or grab a friend with a good eye and get snapping. And get ready for a lot of dancing.
2. Throw an Engagement Party
Before you dive head-first into each step of your wedding planning, take a moment to savor your engagement with family and friends. This is your chance to show off your personality as a couple and set the tone for your upcoming wedding festivities. Don’t feel like throwing the traditional party in your backyard? You have options. Your favorite restaurant, hotel event space, or nearby art gallery offer more stylish engagement party ideas. Or cultivate an intimate experience by using smaller, unconventional venues unique to your story.
3. Set Your Timeline and Wedding Budget
What season would you like to get married in? And how much time will you need to sort everything out? Deciding these details will help you narrow down your possible dates. Some couples plan their wedding in a matter of months, while others take their sweet time. Hint: If you’re considering a destination wedding, allow yourself enough time for at least planning visits to the location. That will help you envision your big day properly — and it’s a fun excuse for the two of you to take a romantic getaway.
Once you’ve narrowed that down, the next step in planning your wedding is agreeing on how much you can spend. It’s easy to get carried away as you look at gorgeous wedding venues, dresses and cakes, but trust us, the last thing you want is to start your marriage in debt. So, while it may not be the most fun step in the wedding planning process, figure out what you can afford and stick to it. (And don’t forget to put aside some extra money for that wow-worthy honeymoon!)
4. Pick the Perfect Wedding Venue
Whether you’re looking for sweeping New York City views or a dreamy desert wedding ceremony in Palm Springs, there’s a Kimpton hotel for you. Our historic properties around the world offer up award-winning chefs, breathtaking views and stunning photo ops. (Wait until you see the sweeping staircases at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco Baltimore and the Kimpton Gray Hotel. Instagram, anybody?)
Thinking of planning your wedding somewhere sunnyestination wedding hotels in places such as Vero Beach, Miami and Santa Barbara guarantee you can celebrate your love with the sunset beach ceremony you’ve always dreamed of.
5. Find the Perfect Wedding Dress
Start shopping for a wedding dress at least six to nine months ahead of time (you know you want to anyway, right?). It’ll take a few months for your dress to be made—and then you’ll need a couple more months for alterations. This is a crucial step in planning your wedding, so enlist the help of a few trusted friends or family members and start visiting boutiques. It may take many appointments before you find The One, and that’s okay. Just focus on the most flattering and comfortable wedding dress styles and narrow it down from there. Looking for more sustainable wedding options? You can always buy a gently used dress—and donate it again afterward.
6. Create a Wedding Registry You Actually Love
When it comes to wedding registries, most people tend to think of adding towels and kitchen gadgets. Those are all well and good if you need them—but if your home already has all the necessary supplies, get creative. Ask each other: What kinds of activities would bring you closer together? Are there any skills you’d like to learn for your newly married life? What local experiences have you been dying to try? Believe it or not, these things can go on your registry too. Think: cooking lessons, a night out at the ballpark or even a ceramics class. You two will have fun together, and your wedding guests will love helping you make memories that last a lifetime.
And if all the love, support, engagement and wedding shower gifts you’ve received since you announced the big occasion have you wanting to give something back, think about requesting donations to your favorite charitable cause instead of registering for yet more presents. Showing that your wedding day isn’t just all about you is a meaningful way to reflect on the larger purpose of starting a life together.
7. Add Personal Touches
Your wedding guests will love a reception that’s designed to reflect your unique personalities. Luckily, there are plenty of creative ways to incorporate your love story into the festivities. Instead of plain table numbers, for example, name each table after your favorite books or places you’ve traveled together. Are there special songs that remind you of your relationship? Create a special playlist and share it with your guests. (Hint: Kimpton can custom-curate your music selections, making this process even easier!).
8. Think Beyond a White Cake
Don’t get us wrong—we love a traditional tiered wedding cake. But wedding planning trends show that couples have begun choosing desserts that reflect their individual tastes. For example, one couple chose his-and-hers desserts: donuts for the groom and mini bundt cakes for the bride. Your guests will love the surprise (and the photos will be so Insta-worthy). Kimpton hotels feature top-notch restaurants and bars, so customizing your menu makes this wedding planning step a breeze.
9. Go Somewhere Special for the Bachelor and Bachelorette Parties
When planning a wedding step by step, build in time for each of the unique festivities correlated with your big day, including your bachelor and bachelorette parties. Las Vegas is great—but if gambling isn’t your scene, there are plenty of unique bachelor party ideas out there. Big sports fan? Go see your team play in another city. Feeling outdoorsy? Round up your best buddies and go for a weekend camping trip. Want to kick back for a weekend instead? Try a craft brewery tour or a luxurious girls weekend. Don’t limit yourself to the typical options; consider what your crew actually likes and go from there.
10. Fine Tune the Final Details
You have just a few final steps to take before your wedding: Firming up all the tiny details. Obtain your marriage license (a rather big detail actually!) and talk to your wedding vendors one last time. Ensure there are no loose ends, that the seating chart is finalized and that you have paid all vendors. Once you have those details tied up, send this ultimate wedding guest survival guide to your loved ones (they’ll thank you later), and prepare for your big day.
11. Plan to Keep the Party Going
Before you know it, the wedding planning will be over, the big day will arrive, and it’ll be time to party with friends and family. Remember, the fun doesn’t have to stop when the wedding band plays the last song. Round up your crew and head to a local bar or restaurant for more fun, food and drinks. (Not feeling up for traveling across town? The hotel bar is always a great option!)
Some couples plan this event months in advance and include after-party details in their wedding invitations. But others choose to do it more informally, sharing the plans with guests via word of mouth. Either way, partygoers will love hanging out in a more informal setting—and you’ll get to keep your big day going a little bit longer.
You’ve worked hard to get everything in order and followed every step of your wedding plan so, on the day of the event, let go of the worries and stress and enjoy every moment—these are the memories that last a lifetime.
We now pronounce you free to enjoy your Big Day.