Photo credit Camille Wilson Photography
Hooray, you’re engaged! You may have already been planning your dream wedding on Pinterest or you may have no idea where to even start. We’re starting a short series today to walk you through the steps to plan your wedding!
1. Discuss possible wedding dates. Is there a special time of year that you love? Here in North Georgia, Fall is the most sought after season for cooler weather and color. Are there dates you need to avoid for school or work? If you’re an accountant, an early Spring wedding probably isn’t for you! If you have siblings or close friends also planning a wedding, their chosen date may influence your choice. Having some flexibility on specific dates can help you with venue options. If you do have a set date, start looking for your venue as early as possible.
2. Budget and guest count. I’m placing these together as they have a direct connection. It will be very difficult to have a wedding for 200 guests with a $5,000 budget. Sit down with the budget decision makers to determine what your total budget will be. From there, you can start to determine what your max guest count can be. Your venue, tables, chairs, linens, catering, cake, bar and flowers are all directly affected by your guest count. There are several helpful calculators online to figure out pricing guidelines for your area. Try this one as a starting point - Cost of Wedding.
Read more about what makes up your budget at our post here.
Photo credit Gina Cellino Photography
3. Start to discuss wedding style. Do you want an outdoor ceremony or a ballroom setting? Are you looking for a chic space in the city or more relaxed setting? Is a historic mansion your dream space? Or are you looking for an experience? Something like our Farm to Table approach that celebrates the seasons and supports small, local businesses.
4. Now, you can start to look for a venue! Once you understand your ideal dates, budget, guest count and style you can start to narrow down venues to tour. Where do you find these venues? A simple Google search will often provide lots of options. Sites such as Here Comes The Guide, Wedding Wire, Wedding Spot or The Knot let you filter options on several venues. As you look through your options, discuss the different offerings of each venue with your fiancé. Do you want an all-inclusive option to streamline planning, are you ok with food and beverage minimums, do you prefer your wedding be the only focus of the day for the venue or are you ok with a venue that hosts multiple events each day? After you have narrowed down your options, set up tours. Seeing the venue in person and talking with the staff will help you know which space fits you best.
Photo credit Kaptured Photography
5. Talk through the ceremony. Are there certain traditions you want to include? Unity candles, tree planting ceremonies, communion and other options all add to your ceremony. Decide if you will be writing you own vows or using traditional vows. (If you want more info on creating your vows, check out our post here.) Will you have special music during the ceremony? One of our recent brides had her daughter sing a couple songs during the ceremony and it was beautiful!
What about religious requirements? Make sure you understand from your priest, rabbi, etc. what is required and how that impacts the ceremony.
Photo credit Kaptured Photography
6. Start to think through your floral preferences and needs. How many bouquets will you need for the bridal party? Do you want floral centerpieces and what style? Are you dreaming of an elaborate installation for the ceremony or reception space? If you want to highlight flowers that are in season and locally grown, you may need to talk with the farmer florist in plenty of time for them to plant flowers in your style and color or discuss what may be available. We love growing flowers specifically for our brides on their wedding day! It’s one more way we can serve them with love.
Photo credit Shannon Ford Photography
7. Last one for now - food! Start thinking about what type of food you want at your reception. A seated dinner with a full meal for everyone? Cocktail reception with lots of variety? Do you want a buffet or plates dinner option? One of our favorites for smaller weddings is a family style service that encourages community and conversation with guests.
Don’t forget your cake! Or will it be pie, cupcakes, donuts - there are a ton of fun options.
Now that I’ve loaded you up with plenty to think through and talk about, I’ll leave you to it! Feel free to drop a comment below if you have any questions!
Next steps for 9 months before your wedding.
Pleasant Union Farm is a family owned wedding venue in North Georgia, about an hour north of Atlanta.