by: Lauren

Hi friends! “Engagement season” is here (Yes, we have a term for it), and I don’t know about you, but my socials are filled with engagement announcements! There is so much love and excitement that surrounds a newly engaged couple, and I just absolutely love it!

But soon after that excitement wears off, you’re hit with the reality of the fact that you have to start planning a wedding– something that you most likely have no clue about, right?! Sure, you’ve been in a wedding or two, or maybe one of your close friends recently got married, but things are different when it’s YOUR wedding! And if you’re anything like I was, chances are good that you have NO idea where to start.

Newly Engaged? 10 Steps To Start Planning Your Wedding! via

Well, don’t fret, because I am here to help you out with the 10 things you need to do first to start planning your wedding. (And no, this is not a list that tells you to get your nails done and buy your first wedding magazine you see. Those are just expected, right? ;))

So before we get started, here are a few things you should know:

1) I was a wedding planner before being a full time blogger. I was certified and I planned and designed several weddings from start to finish. I’m not just pulling this stuff out of thin air :)

2) I was NOT a wedding planner when I planned my wedding. I was completely clueless, and my mom pretty much planned it.

3) Everyone’s wedding is going to be different, and you may not do things exactly as I recommend. This is meant to be a general guideline for you. 

Okay, now that I have that out of the way, let’s get started! I’ve created a little checklist that you can save (or pin) for quick reference, and then descriptions are all below!

Newly Engaged? 10 Steps To Start Planning Your Wedding! via


 1. Start your guest list

This is a tough one because yes, of course you want to invite everyone you know to your wedding. Well consider this your warning: the more people you have, the more you have to spend. (This is why you do your budget first.)

Example: You want to have 200 guests. Your budget is $20,000. This means that you will have $100 per guest. Well, that really ritzy hotel you love? Yeah they’re not even going to be close to $100 per person for food and beverage. And that doesn’t include flowers, decor, and all your other vendors!

When it comes to your guest list, the earlier you start planning and know your estimated maximum count – the better! And don’t worry if your guest count starts to go down as time goes on – by then you’ll have had practice in cutting down that growing list of guests. Plus, removing those who you haven’t spoken too in a while is sure to make life easier :)

You might be wondering, “Where do I even start with my guest list?” Click here to learn more!


2. Set a budget

You shouldn’t be doing anything before deciding on your budget. Don’t even so much as look at anything! I know, I know- it’s a tough conversation, but it needs to be discussed and decided on before anything else. Sit down with your parents, family members, or just the two of you, figure out who is contributing, how much they can contribute, and what your total budget will be. Then you can move on to #3!

We know it’s hard to have a good idea of what you’ll even need in terms of budget.

Check out the posts below and go to the Budget section of our Newly Engaged Guide for more information on what to expect things to cost! 

Newly Engaged? 10 Steps To Start Planning Your Wedding! via Newly Engaged? 10 Steps To Start Planning Your Wedding! via



 3. Choose possible dates

To be safe, choose 2-3 possible dates to have your wedding. Think of the time of year you prefer, the weather, work schedules/vacation time, holidays, and yes, even football season (or whatever sport your fiance/family is crazy about). Then choose your #1 preferred date, and have a #2 and #3 available in case your preferred date isn’t available. Because venues book up fast- some even book up to a year and half in advance!

Choosing your wedding date might seem like a no-brainer at first, but there are several different things that you need to consider before setting anything in stone. Click here to learn more!




 4. Decide on your wedding’s style

Yep, you heard me- wedding style. If you’re new here, you’ll soon discover out that we’re HUGE on knowing what style of wedding you want. Vintage, modern, classic, eclectic, handmade, rustic… there are SO many styles out there! The beauty of “wedding styles” is that they also coincide with decor and details, and so knowing from the beginning will help you later on.  No need to design your whole wedding right now though- just know the general look and feel of how you want your wedding to be. Once you know that, it’ll be easier to move on to #5…

A wedding style is something that every wedding has, something that defines and describes a wedding’s look and feel. Establishing your wedding style will help you tremendously when having to make decisions!  Click here to learn more!


5. Book your venue

All of those first 4 steps above can essentially be done all in one sitting. Pretty cool, right?

Once you have all of those decisions made, you can start researching and touring venues. When you’re researching and you find a venue that you like, I recommend contacting them and asking if they have any of your possible dates available. If they do, go ahead and schedule a time to tour the venue. Give yourself a few (2 to 4 max) weeks to tour all of your possibilities (depending on how long you have before your wedding date of course), crunch numbers, see if you can envision your wedding there (or not), and then book your venue! Once you have your venue booked (meaning deposit made and contract signed), your date is secured- and you my friend, are well on your way to getting MARRIED!

Note: Be prepared that some of the more popular wedding venues in your area are booked out for the next year to year and a half… and you may need to shift your wedding date to accommodate a venue that you want. 

I have a few questions that you can ask yourself that will help guide you in the process of choosing your wedding venue… Click here to learn more!


 6. Research

[This one is twofold. So many of the things involved in planning a wedding happen all at once. Get ready ;)] First and foremost, if you didn’t already hire a wedding planner during the first 5 steps, I strongly suggest you consider one. They will be able to give you excellent recommendations and will save you lots of time and frustration.


Researching potential vendors is HUGE. There are so many amazing wedding professionals out there now, and you want time to be able to choose the right ones for you. You definitely don’t want to be rushed, but at the same time, time is of the essence. (If you don’t have a wedding planner, go to this post for tips on finding, researching, and inquiring with vendors.) When you’re researching, I recommend that you check out the vendor’s portfolio, bio, pricing info (if they have it available) and their blog. Feel free to do research on every single type of vendor you need, but the ones that are crucial and book up quickly are the planner, photographer,videographer, and caterer (if applicable). Moving on, the next steps are going to pertain to these 3 things. [After you’ve completed the following steps for the previously mentioned vendors, then you’ll move on to your entertainment, florals/event decor, rentals, invitations, and cake. And then you’ll go on to hair and makeup, transportation, tux rentals, favors, and any extras.]

Note: To make things easier on you and to ensure that you hire quality professionals, I’ve done extensive research on all of the wedding pros in The V List. Everyone you will find listed on ELD has been reviewed, vetted, and verified by ME. They are all of excellent quality and are absolutely amazing. :)

Choosing and hiring your wedding vendors is one of the most important steps in planning your wedding, because these are the people who are going to make your day happen! Learn more about this process by going to the page in our Newly Engaged Guide entirely dedicated to finding and booking vendors!


Part 2 of Research is…


Yes, it’s in caps because it’s *that* exciting! Isn’t it pretty much the very first thing you wanted to do- look at wedding dresses?! I mean, come on, who doesn’t like wedding dresses? ;) But in all seriousness, you want to be sure that you research the types of dresses you like and the stores that carry them. And read this post. [Personal experience in a nutshell: I traveled 5 hours to go to a store that had the designer I liked- and I ended up taking my dress home that very day (after months of dress craziness- read here).]

Wedding dress shopping may be one of the most fun parts of wedding planning, but there are also a few insider tips that will help you leaps and bounds. Click here to learn more!


7. Inquire With and Interview Vendors

So by now you’ve done your research and you know what vendors you like. Now it’s time to contact the vendor, find out if they’re available for your date, check on their pricing (if you want to), and schedule a consultation. (I think this is what I myself felt awkward about. When you’ve never done it before, it’s just weird, you know?) It’s NOT weird though- in fact, it’s pretty darn fun! The vendors will get to know you, you’ll get to know them, you’ll get down to business, and then you let them know in a few days if you want to hire them or not! I recommend meeting with up to three of each type of vendor- one if you already absolutely love them and they sell you right away, two if you’re pretty set but want to know other options, and three if you’re not sure. It just really depends on you, your decision making skills, and your taste. :)


8. Hire Your Vendors

Of course the next step is to pull the trigger and hire one of those vendors that you’ve met and fallen in love with. After your consultations, try to let vendors know your decision a week or two from when they provide you with an estimate/proposal. And then hooray! You’re one step closer to your wedding day!

Important note: Once you’ve hired someone, please let the other vendors that you met with know that you won’t be going with them. I know it sucks to do it and yes, you might feel awkward, but it has to be done- they have to know! A nice, simple email will suffice.

Choosing and hiring your wedding vendors is one of the most important steps in planning your wedding, because these are the people who are going to make your day happen! Learn more about this process by going to the page in our Newly Engaged Guide entirely dedicated to finding and booking vendors!



Alright, so you have some of your vendors booked… now it’s time to take a break and go wedding dress shopping! I don’t think this needs much explanation. Just be sure that you’ve read this post first. :)


10. Design & Detail Inspiration

Remember back in the first 5 steps when I had you decide on your wedding style? Well with the second round of vendors you will meet with next (florals, decor, invitations, rentals, cake) you’ll need to have a good idea of what you want your wedding to be like, so it’s time to focus on design and details!

Know that when I say “design and details”, it really just means what your wedding will look like. Design is more of a general term, and details is more of the specifics (and where your personality can really shine through too!). This too is something that requires lots of research… which in the wedding world we like to call INSPIRATION! :) I’m sure many of you have probably already started saving photos of things that you like and are Pinning away for your dream wedding. After all, this big, beautiful wedding world here on the internet does almost solely revolve around design and details! But you want to make sure that you have enough inspiration to be able to accurately convey to your potential vendors what it is you want for your wedding. And then in the same breath, you don’t want to have too much inspiration either! Oh and don’t forget to bring your inspiration with you to your consultations! You can probably even just pull up your Pinterest boards in your meetings- which I think is absolutely amazing. :)

As luck would have it, I have a few different posts devoted to design and details that should cover everything…

“Finding Wedding Inspiration and Making It Your Own”

“Inspiration, Not Replication”

“Why Every Wedding Needs Details”

“What Exactly Are Details?”

“Wedding Details Inspired By YOU!


Once you get to the last step for your first set of vendors, then move on to the next round of vendors! Wedding planning is like a roller coaster- you’ll go really fast at full-speed, then you’ll slow down, and then you’ll speed up again. Yes it’s normal, and it’s okay to have a lull in planning. Basically that roller coaster ride just keeps going until you get married. ;) So remember this:

“Wedding planning is like a roller coaster- you’ll go full-speed, slow down, then speed up again. “


Wow so that was LONG and absolutely FULL of information, but I hope all of this will help some of you out and get you going on the right path as you start planning your wedding! There are of course other things that have to be done as you get closer to your wedding, but all of this will definitely get you started and prepare you for what is to come. And if you have any questions, please know that I’m here to answer them! (No really- all you have to do is ask me over on Instagram!) Or you can ask here in the comments! There are no silly questions… you’ve never planned a wedding before, so how are you supposed to know?! :)

And remember, sometimes things are done differently depending on your own situation, so it’s totally fine if you don’t follow these steps exactly. In my experience as a wedding planner, this order has been to be the best way to go. :) And most of all, don’t forget WHY you’re planning a wedding- to spend the rest of your life with your best friend! HAPPY PLANNING!!!

Newly Engaged? 10 Steps To Start Planning Your Wedding! via

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Founder & Editor at Every Last Detail
Lauren Grove is the editor and owner of Every Last Detail. A clueless bride-turned-wedding planner, Lauren uses her experiences and knowledge to educate and inspire brides all over the world.

17 responses to Newly Engaged? 10 Steps To Start Planning Your Wedding!

We love your comments, but please remember to keep them kind and positive, as this is a place for inspiration and sharing information. We have the right to remove or not approve any negative or harmful comments.
  1. The LDS Bride

    What a great list for newly engaged ladies.
    I love the info you here! And the links are super handy too.

  2. Christy Harper

    I love the ring shot :)

  3. Christy Harper

    great info

  4. Michael Orcullo

    i will be married next year so it helps me a lot…. thank mam


    We want to see more about flowers you guys! Otherwise, we have to say that it’s a great post!

  6. cherry-mae

    im new engaged i enjoy to watch this…. thnx….

  7. Kelly Hughes

    I just read every. single. one. of your planning posts. Thank you so much for your awesome, informative, inspiring advice! I’m subscribing, because there is no doubt in my mind that your future posts will be crucial during my crazy, stressful, AWESOME wedding planning journey. Thanks again! you have no idea how much I appreciate it!

  8. Glenn Hamp

    Great ideas! You can save a lot of time narrowing down your venue wish list by viewing wedding portfolios by photographers who photograph in your area. These images are the end result you will enjoy of the venue for the next 20+ years.

  9. Katherine (a Bride)

    Thank you so much for your post. I came across your website through MagnetStreet’s Pinterest board and could not be happier. I also subscribed to your blog because I know future posts will be very informative. I very much appreciate your blog because in the beginning of our wedding planning I struggled with what questions to ask vendors and what things I should consider. I felt like I was just supposed to know what I want.

  10. Shannon Nance (a Bride)

    Being newly engaged. I was scared about planning my wedding. I started getting confused about what I was supposed to do until I came upon your website. Thanks for so much valuable information.

  11. Maria (just curious)

    Perfectly put together! So helpful

  12. Lea Benjamin (a Bride)

    Great tips! We love your planning advise, very informative :)Buckinghamshire Wedding DJs

  13. Veronica (a Vendor)

    I definitely like the advice of choosing 2-3 possible dates. Many times, I think that a guest needs to have one perfect date in mind (like in the Summertime on Friday or Saturday because no one else is thinking what we are thinking of that too, right?). It is definitely something to keep in mind.

  14. Barry (a Vendor)

    Of course having a few dated lined up is a good idea because you never know if the venue or vendors will all be able to accommodate. As a DJ I see this often as couples will call and cancel the date they booked and are looking for a new one. I always love my job though!!

  15. Alfred Allen (just curious)

    Great source for information. Thanks for sharing with us

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