A Complete Guide to Planning Your Wedding

planning a wedding guide

Planning a wedding can feel like a lot. Trust us, we totally get it. But with a little help and some organization, planning a wedding does not have to feel incredibly daunting.

Like with most other things, a gameplan on the outset can go a LONG way in ensuring you don’t have a meltdown halfway through the planning process. (Note: while our advice comes from more than a decade in the wedding industry, there is really no one-size-fits-all plan. So, use this as simply a friendly guide.) Let’s break it down.

When planning a wedding there is seemingly endless list of things to do, but the entire process can essentially be broken down into six major aspects:

  1. The Foundation

  2. Venue

  3. Priority Vendors

  4. Secondary Vendors

  5. Elbow Grease

  6. General Housekeeping

wedding budget tips

The Foundation

The Foundation is where everyone starts. The idea is to get an idea of what you want your wedding to look like, how much you want to spend on it, and who you want to share it with. These three decisions will drive the rest of the planning process, so don’t skimp out here.


  • Vision: what do you want your wedding to be like.

  • Budget: set a realistic budget and stick to it.

  • Guest List: this is the most stressful part of planning a wedding for a lot of couples. Take your time with it and think carefully. It can be fluid throughout the process, but make sure you have an accurate estimate.

wedding venue

The Venue

Once you know what you can spend and how many people you need to entertain, it’s time to pick the venue! Not only is the venue going to be the backdrop for your entire event, but it’ll drive a lot of the remaining decisions: date, vendors, etc.

Make sure your venue meets both your budgetary and guest constraints, and please, please look at a few before deciding.

Pro tip: book this as early as you can. The wedding landscape is busy and cool venues can be booked months and even years in advanced.

wedding vendors

Priority Vendors

You know you’ll need food. You know you’ll want photos. Dancing? Yup, going to need that. Vendors in a major metro like Atlanta can be very busy, so it’s important to grab them early. Plus, the earlier you start, the more time you have to vet them, so you don’t end up with a… “fun” story at your wedding.

Examples of priority vendors:

  • Wedding planner

  • Caterer

  • Photographer

  • Videographer

  • Equipment rental (tables, chairs, etc.)

  • Entertainment (DJ, live band, etc.)

wedding flowers

Secondary Vendors

Great music and fantastic food will make a wedding memorable, for sure, but you’ll likely want to add to that a bit. Secondary vendors can range from florists to attire rentals to hair and makeup. While these may not be as competitive as the priority vendors, they’re still incredibly important and should be booked far enough in advance.

We don’t want to cause stress, now do we?

Examples of secondary vendors:

  • Florists

  • Baker

  • Makeup/hair

  • Officiant

  • Dress designer

  • Tailor

Elbow Grease

This is where your arts and crafts passion comes in. A little bit of elbow grease goes a long way in planning a wedding and you’re going to need it. Who do you think sends out all the invitations? Writing your own vows? Yeah, you should probably get a head start on that.

Some of it is totally fun, too! Menu tasting and planning a rehearsal dinner can be a great way to make the whole wedding planning process fun!

Pro tip: recruit friends with bottles of champagne and brunch to help you with the more tedious tasks.

wedding transportation

General Housekeeping

Much like actual housekeeping, you just have to do these things whether you want to or not. As a last step before the wedding, you need to make sure that you have a few things in line and off your back.

  • Have you gotten your marriage license?

  • Are all your invoices paid so your vendors will show up?

  • Do you know where you’re staying and how you’re getting to the venue?

  • Same question for your guests.

  • Do you have someone on-site making sure the event runs smoothly?

  • Have you slept?

And bam! Just like that you’re married!

If you prioritize your planning with this outline in mind, it’ll make the whole thing a whole lot easier. Feel free to print this out and stick it in your wedding binder so you can reference it throughout the process.

If you have any questions about booking vendors or are looking for a wedding DJ, let us know. We love talking about weddings and are more than willing to help you plan the best one possible!

Check out this 12-month wedding timeline to help you get a visual: