The Complete Guide to Planning a Wedding in 2024


January 2, 2024

A comprehensive guide to planning a wedding in 2024

Dear friend,

Congrats, love! You’re getting married and planning your wedding this year, which can feel equally exciting as it does overwhelming. There’s a lot of information out there to help you plan your wedding but inside this blog post, you’ll find everything you need to know for planning your wedding in 2024. We’ll chat about all the things you need to do, the vendors you might want to hire, and a sample way of breaking down your wedding budget.

Whether you’re months away or weeks away, the #1 item we recommend you don’t put off any longer is vow writing. Whether or not you realize it, your wedding vows are the most important gift you’ll give your partner. They set the tone for the rest of the celebration. But writing them can be tricky. Use this. It will help you write personalized vows in minutes.

Now, let’s jump into the comprehensive guide for wedding planning in 2024.

Initial Steps

Decision Making: Eloping vs. Traditional Wedding

The first decision is whether to have a traditional wedding or opt for an elopement. Both options have their merits, and your choice will depend on personal preferences, budget considerations, and the level of intimacy you desire.

Setting a Budget

Create a realistic budget early in the planning process. Consider all expenses, from the venue to the dress, and allocate funds accordingly. This will guide your decisions and help prevent overspending.

Creating a Timeline

Establishing a timeline is essential for a smooth planning process. Break down tasks month by month, keeping in mind the lead time required for booking vendors, sending invitations, and completing other crucial tasks.

Date & Venue

Usually people pick the venue before setting the date. That way, if you fall in love with a venue you can pick a date that they have available. So make a list of 5-10 venues that interest you, head over to take a look, pick the one that’s in your budget and wow’s you, and set your date then.

Legal Considerations

Understanding Marriage License Requirements

Different locations have varying requirements for obtaining a marriage license. Research the regulations in your chosen venue and ensure you complete all necessary paperwork well in advance.

Pre-marital Counseling

Consider pre-marital counseling to strengthen your relationship and address potential challenges. Many couples find this beneficial in fostering communication and understanding.

Prenuptial Agreements

While not the most romantic topic, discussing a prenuptial agreement is a practical step in protecting both parties’ interests. Consult with a legal professional to ensure the agreement aligns with your expectations.

Building the Guest List

Prioritizing Guests

Creating a guest list can be challenging, especially when considering space constraints and budget limitations. Prioritize close family and friends, and be mindful of plus-ones. Make tough decisions early to avoid stress later in the planning process.

Navigating Family Dynamics

Family dynamics can be complicated, and weddings often bring underlying tensions to the surface. Open communication is key. Be clear about your expectations, and consider enlisting the help of a neutral third party, like a wedding planner, to mediate any disputes.

Creating Save-the-Dates

In the digital age, save-the-dates can be sent via email or even through social media platforms. Ensure you include essential information such as the date, location, and any travel details if necessary. This gives your guests ample time to plan.

Selecting Vendors

Photographer and Videographer

Your wedding photos and videos will be cherished memories for years to come. Research and select a photographer and videographer whose style aligns with your vision. Schedule engagement shoots to get comfortable working together.

Caterer and Menu Selection

Food is a crucial aspect of any wedding. Arrange tastings with potential caterers to ensure their offerings align with your preferences. Consider dietary restrictions of your guests and provide options that cater to various needs.

Florist and Decor

Discuss your vision with a florist to create a cohesive theme. From bouquets to centerpieces, flowers play a significant role in the overall aesthetic. Explore eco-friendly and sustainable decor options to align with modern values.

Wedding Planner vs. DIY Planning

Decide whether you want to hire a wedding planner or take on the planning yourself. A professional planner can alleviate stress, but if you opt for a DIY approach, utilize online tools and resources to stay organized.

Attire and Beauty

Bridal and Groom Attire Trends

Fashion trends are constantly evolving. Research the latest bridal and groom attire trends to ensure you both look and feel your best on the big day. Don’t forget about accessories and consider sustainable fashion choices.

Hair and Makeup Trials

Schedule hair and makeup trials well in advance to avoid any last-minute surprises. Bring inspiration photos, and communicate openly with your stylist to achieve the desired look. Consider the longevity of your chosen style for the entire day.

 Creating a Personalized Ceremony

Writing Vows

Personalized vows add a special touch to your ceremony. Take time to reflect on your relationship and express your feelings authentically. Share your vows with each other before the big day to ensure they complement each other.

Incorporating Cultural or Religious Elements

If applicable, incorporate cultural or religious elements into your ceremony to honor your heritage. Discuss this with your officiant and ensure all necessary arrangements are made in advance.

Choosing Readings and Music

Select readings and music that resonate with you as a couple. Whether it’s a favorite poem, a meaningful song, or a passage from a beloved book, these personal touches contribute to a memorable ceremony.

Technology in Weddings

Livestreaming for Remote Guests

Given the global nature of relationships, consider livestreaming your wedding for friends and family who can’t attend in person. Virtual guests can share in your joy, making the celebration more inclusive.

Wedding Websites and Apps

Create a wedding website to serve as a central hub for information. Include details such as the schedule, venue directions, and accommodation options. Utilize planning apps to stay organized and collaborate with your partner.

Social Media Guidelines

Establish social media guidelines for your wedding day. Communicate your preferences to guests regarding when and what they can share online. This ensures that you control the narrative and prevent any unwanted surprises.

Financial Planning

Combining Finances

If you haven’t already, discuss how you’ll handle finances as a couple. Whether you choose to combine accounts or maintain separate ones, transparency is crucial for a healthy financial partnership.

Setting Financial Goals

Set short-term and long-term financial goals as a couple. This could include saving for a home, planning vacations, or contributing to retirement accounts. Having shared financial objectives fosters teamwork and cooperation.

The Big Day

Wedding Day Timeline

Create a detailed timeline for the wedding day, outlining each event from getting ready to the last dance. Share this with your wedding party and vendors to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Delegating Responsibilities

Delegate tasks to trusted friends or family members on the day of the wedding. Having a designated point person for different responsibilities ensures a smooth flow and minimizes stress for the couple.

Handling Last-Minute Issues

Prepare for the unexpected by having a backup plan for common issues. Whether it’s a sudden change in weather or a vendor hiccup, a well-thought-out contingency plan can save the day.

Post-Wedding Considerations

Changing Legal Documents

After the wedding, update legal documents such as your driver’s license, passport, and social security information to reflect your new marital status. Notify relevant institutions, including banks and insurance providers.

Sending Thank-You Notes

Express gratitude to your guests by sending personalized thank-you notes. Mention specific gifts or gestures, and convey your appreciation for their presence on your special day.

Preserving Memories

Consider how you’ll preserve the memories of your wedding day. This could involve creating a photo album, framing a favorite picture, or even preserving your bouquet. Choose meaningful ways to commemorate the day.

Navigating Challenges

Family Conflicts

Should conflicts arise, approach them with empathy and open communication. Consider seeking the assistance of a mediator or counselor to help address underlying issues. Remember, the focus is on celebrating your love, and compromises may be necessary.

Vendor Issues

In the case of vendor-related challenges, maintain open communication. Clearly articulate your concerns and expectations. If necessary, have a backup plan for crucial services to avoid last-minute disappointments.

Last-Minute Changes

Flexibility is key. Last-minute changes are almost inevitable, so remain calm and adapt as needed. Having a responsive and organized support team, including your wedding planner and close friends, can be invaluable during such times.

Reflection and Growth

Post-Wedding Evaluation

Take time as a couple to reflect on the wedding experience. Discuss what went well, what you would do differently, and any unexpected highlights. This reflection can strengthen your relationship and serve as a foundation for future growth.

Setting Marriage Goals

Look ahead and set goals for your marriage. These can include personal and professional aspirations, family planning, and ongoing relationship growth. Aligning your visions for the future fosters unity and shared purpose.

Continuous Communication

Maintain open and honest communication with your spouse. Regularly check in on each other’s feelings, needs, and goals. Cultivating a strong foundation of communication is vital for a lasting and fulfilling marriage.

Every Item to Put on Your Wedding Timeline:

12-18 Months Before the Wedding

  1. Set a Budget:
    • Determine how much you’re willing to spend overall.
    • Allocate funds for each major category (venue, catering, attire, etc.).
  2. Create a Guest List:
    • Draft an initial guest list to estimate the size of your wedding.
    • Consider venue capacity and budget when finalizing the list.
  3. Choose a Wedding Date:
    • Consider factors like season, availability of key guests, and special dates.
    • Check with essential vendors for date availability.
  4. Research and Book Venue:
    • Visit potential venues to find the one that suits your vision.
    • Confirm the date and secure the venue by signing a contract.
  5. Hire a Wedding Planner (if desired):
    • A wedding planner can streamline the process and offer valuable insights.
    • Choose someone experienced and whose style aligns with your vision.
  6. Begin Dress Shopping:
    • Start researching styles and designers.
    • Schedule appointments at bridal boutiques for fittings.
  7. Research and Book Key Vendors:
    • Photographer, videographer, caterer, florist, and entertainment.
    • Check reviews, view portfolios, and ask for quotes.
  8. Consider Save-the-Dates:
    • If planning a destination wedding or during a busy season, send save-the-dates.
  9. Begin Health and Fitness Routine:
    • Establish a wellness routine for both mental and physical health.
    • Consider engaging in activities like yoga, meditation, or working with a personal trainer.

9-12 Months Before the Wedding

  1. Finalize Guest List:
    • Confirm the guest list, considering any changes.
  2. Order Wedding Dress:
    • Make the final decision on your wedding gown and place the order.
    • Schedule fittings for alterations.
  3. Choose Bridesmaids’ Dresses:
    • Work with your bridesmaids to select their dresses.
    • Consider their preferences and body types.
  4. Book Additional Vendors:
    • Secure any remaining vendors like a cake designer, officiant, and transportation.
    • Confirm details and contracts.
  5. Send Save-the-Dates (if applicable):
    • Ensure that guests have ample time to make travel arrangements.
  6. Create a Wedding Website:
    • Include important details like venue information, registry, and accommodation options.
    • Regularly update the website as details are finalized.
  7. Plan Honeymoon:
    • Research and book your honeymoon.
    • Ensure passports and travel documents are up to date.
  8. Begin Registry:
    • Register for gifts at your chosen stores.
    • Include a variety of items in different price ranges.
  9. Plan Engagement Photo Shoot:
    • Schedule a session with your photographer.
    • Use the photos for save-the-dates or wedding website.

6-9 Months Before the Wedding

  1. Order Invitations:
    • Design and order wedding invitations.
    • Include RSVP cards and any additional information.
  2. Choose Groom’s Attire:
    • Select the groom’s attire and coordinate with the bridal party.
    • Arrange for fittings and alterations.
  3. Plan Bridal Shower and Bachelor/Bachelorette Parties:
    • Coordinate with your bridal party or delegate these tasks.
    • Provide input on the guest list and preferences.
  4. Arrange Accommodations for Guests:
    • Secure room blocks at local hotels for out-of-town guests.
    • Share accommodation details on the wedding website.
  5. Purchase Wedding Bands:
    • Select and purchase wedding bands for both partners.
    • Ensure they fit comfortably.
  6. Book Rehearsal Dinner Venue:
    • Plan and book the rehearsal dinner venue.
    • Confirm guest list and menu.
  7. Finalize Ceremony Details:
    • Confirm readings, vows, and any special rituals.
    • Coordinate with the officiant.
  8. Attend Pre-marital Counseling (if desired):
    • Schedule sessions with a counselor.
    • Discuss expectations and strengthen communication.

4-6 Months Before the Wedding

  1. Mail Invitations:
    • Send out wedding invitations.
    • Include RSVP instructions and a deadline.
  2. Finalize Wedding Menu:
    • Confirm menu choices with the caterer.
    • Consider dietary restrictions of guests.
  3. Schedule Hair and Makeup Trials:
    • Experiment with different looks.
    • Ensure you’re comfortable with your chosen stylist.
  4. Purchase Bridal Accessories:
    • Select accessories like shoes, veil, and jewelry.
    • Consider sentimental or family heirloom pieces.
  5. Plan Seating Chart:
    • Decide on the seating arrangement.
    • Create a visual representation for your venue.
  6. Purchase Wedding Favors:
    • Choose and order favors for your guests.
    • Consider personalized or locally sourced items.
  7. Attend Bridal Shower and Bachelor/Bachelorette Parties:
    • Enjoy celebrations organized by your friends and family.
  8. Finalize Honeymoon Plans:
    • Confirm reservations, flights, and activities.
    • Ensure all necessary documents are in order.

2-4 Months Before the Wedding

  1. Follow Up on RSVPs:
    • Reach out to any guests who haven’t responded.
    • Provide a final headcount to vendors.
  2. Create a Wedding Day Timeline:
    • Work with your planner or coordinator to create a detailed schedule.
    • Share this timeline with vendors and the bridal party.
  3. Finalize Details with Vendors:
    • Confirm final arrangements and logistics.
    • Provide any necessary information, like song choices for the DJ.
  4. Arrange Marriage License:
    • Check the requirements in your location.
    • Ensure all necessary paperwork is prepared.
  5. Purchase Gifts for Attendants:
    • Select thoughtful gifts for your bridal party.
    • Include a personal note of appreciation.
  6. Confirm Rehearsal Dinner Details:
    • Finalize the menu, seating, and any speeches.
    • Confirm reservations with the venue.
  7. Write Thank-You Notes:
    • Begin writing thank-you notes for gifts received.
    • Keep track of gifts and givers.
  8. Finalize Vows:
    • Ensure your vows are written and practiced.
    • Consider sharing them with your partner beforehand.

1 Month Before the Wedding

  1. Final Dress Fitting:
    • Schedule and attend your final dress fitting.
    • Confirm that any alterations are perfect.
  2. Finalize Seating Chart:
    • Confirm the seating arrangement and share it with your venue.
    • Print any necessary escort cards.
  3. Confirm Details with Vendors:
    • Double-check arrival times and any specific requirements.
    • Provide a final headcount to the caterer.
  4. Confirm Details with Bridal Party:
    • Ensure everyone knows their roles and responsibilities.
    • Provide a detailed timeline for the wedding day.

The Wedding Vendors to Consider Hiring:

  1. Venue:
    • Ceremony and reception location.
  2. Photographer:
    • Captures memorable moments before, during, and after the ceremony.
  3. Videographer:
    • Records and edits video footage of the wedding day.
  4. Wedding Planner or Coordinator:
    • Assists in planning, organizing, and coordinating various aspects of the wedding.
  5. Caterer:
    • Provides food and beverage services for the wedding reception.
  6. Florist:
    • Designs and arranges floral arrangements, bouquets, and centerpieces.
  7. Bakery or Cake Designer:
    • Creates and delivers the wedding cake or desserts.
  8. Entertainment (DJ or Band):
    • Provides music and entertainment during the ceremony and reception.
  9. Officiant:
    • Performs the wedding ceremony and ensures legal requirements are met.
  10. Hair Stylist:
    • Styles the bride’s and bridal party’s hair on the wedding day.
  11. Makeup Artist:
    • Applies makeup for the bride and bridal party.
  12. Bridal Attire Boutique:
    • Provides the wedding dress, veil, accessories, and alterations.
  13. Groom’s Attire Provider:
    • Offers suits, tuxedos, and accessories for the groom and groomsmen.
  14. Invitation Designer or Stationer:
    • Creates and prints wedding invitations and related stationery.
  15. Rental Companies:
    • Provides tables, chairs, linens, and other decor items.
  16. Transportation:
    • Arranges transportation for the bridal party and guests.
  17. Jeweler:
    • Assists in selecting and purchasing wedding rings.
  18. Ceremony Musicians:
    • Provides live music during the ceremony.
  19. Reception Band or DJ:
    • Offers entertainment during the reception.
  20. Wedding Cake Baker:
    • Creates and delivers the wedding cake or desserts.
  21. Ceremony Venue Decorator:
    • Enhances the ceremony space with decor elements.
  22. Reception Venue Decorator:
    • Transforms the reception space with decor and lighting.
  23. Photo Booth Rental:
    • Provides a photo booth for guests to capture fun moments.
  24. Wedding Favors Supplier:
    • Offers personalized or themed favors for guests.
  25. Honeymoon Planner:
    • Assists in planning and booking the honeymoon.
  26. Wedding Dress Preservationist:
    • Cleans and preserves the wedding dress after the wedding.
  27. Pre-wedding Health and Wellness Professional:
    • Offers services like personal training, nutrition planning, or wellness coaching.
  28. Wedding Website Developer:
    • Creates and maintains a wedding website for information and RSVPs.
  29. Calligrapher:
    • Provides elegant hand-lettering for invitations, place cards, and signage.
  30. Gift Registry Provider:
    • Manages and facilitates the wedding gift registry.
  31. Live Streaming Service:
    • Enables remote guests to virtually attend the wedding.
  32. Travel Agent:
    • Assists in booking travel arrangements for destination weddings or honeymoon.
  33. Dance Instructor:
    • Offers dance lessons for the couple’s first dance.
  34. Wedding Insurance Provider:
    • Offers insurance coverage for unexpected events.
  35. Lodging for Guests:
    • Arranges accommodations for out-of-town guests.

A Sample Wedding Budget – $25,000

Creating a wedding budget is a crucial step in planning your wedding. Below is an example wedding budget template that you can use as a starting point. Adjust the figures based on your preferences, priorities, and local costs:

Wedding Budget Template

Total Budget: $25,000

  1. Venue and Rentals: $8,000
    • Ceremony Venue: $2,500
    • Reception Venue: $4,500
    • Rentals (chairs, tables, linens): $1,000
  2. Photography and Videography: $3,500
    • Photographer: $2,000
    • Videographer: $1,500
  3. Attire: $3,000
    • Wedding Dress and Alterations: $1,500
    • Groom’s Attire: $800
    • Bridal Party Attire: $700
  4. Catering: $5,000
    • Catering Service: $4,000
    • Cake: $1,000
  5. Flowers and Decor: $2,500
    • Florist: $1,500
    • Decor and Centerpieces: $1,000
  6. Entertainment: $2,000
    • DJ or Band: $1,500
    • Ceremony Musicians: $500
  7. Stationery: $800
    • Invitations and Save-the-Dates: $500
    • Programs and Place Cards: $300
  8. Miscellaneous: $1,200
    • Marriage License: $100
    • Transportation: $400
    • Wedding Rings: $700
  9. Health and Beauty: $700
    • Hair and Makeup: $400
    • Grooming and Spa Treatments: $300
  10. Gifts and Favors: $600
    • Bridal Party Gifts: $300
    • Wedding Favors: $300
  11. Wedding Planner: $1,500
  12. Contingency Fund (5%): $1,250

Total Spent: $25,000

Remaining: $0

Note: This is just a sample budget, and you may need to adjust the figures based on your location, priorities, and preferences. Also, keep in mind that unexpected costs can arise, so having a contingency fund is advisable.

Tips for Using the Budget Template:

  1. Prioritize: Allocate more budget to the aspects that matter most to you and your partner.
  2. Research Local Costs: Prices can vary based on your location, so research local vendors to get accurate estimates.
  3. Review and Adjust: Regularly review your budget as you make decisions. Adjust allocations if needed.
  4. Contingency Fund: Include a contingency fund to cover unexpected expenses that may arise.
  5. Track Expenses: Keep track of your actual expenses to ensure you stay within your budget.

Remember, the key is to be flexible and realistic. Wedding budgets can be adapted to suit your unique preferences and circumstances.

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