Wedding Planning First Steps

Historically two out of every three couples get engaged during the three months between Thanksgiving – Valentine’s Day. Even though the trend may not be as significant as it was in the past, it’s still fair to say that more than half of all couples get engaged during the holiday season. Whatever time of year you get engaged the thought that immediately arises is “Ok we’re engaged, now what?” It’s a totally natural response. After all, now one is born knowing how to plan a wedding. And many of the wedding planning resources through so much at you that you become overwhelmed with information. That’s why we decided to break it down into manageable portions by giving you the three most important wedding planning first steps; the Guest List, the Budget and the Time of Year.

Check out the link at the bottom of the page to see a cool infographic detailing the most interesting wedding statistics.

The Guest List

  • Guest list determines amount of space you need (venue) and how much money it will cost (budget)
  • Guest list is the most important thing to discuss because it helps you understand what size venue you need and your total budget
  • # of invited vs # of actual attendees written out (spreadsheet, paper or mobile device); it’s not set in stone so you can expect plus or minus 5% change, but it helps define the overall
  1. Things to consider when budgeting & selecting a venue
  2. Where are people coming from
  3. Are most within a 3-hour radius
  4. expect a 20% attrition (illnesses, previous commitments, cost, etc)
  5. Selecting the right size can dramatically reduce the costs of venue and catering
  6. Because venues charge based on the guest count you provide, it is important to take attrition into account. In other words, don’t negotiate your pricing without specifying your expected # of attendees vs your # of invitees. You don’t want to pay for 300 people when only 240 will show.
# of Invitees # of Attendees
500 400
400  320
300  240
200 160
100 80


The Budget 

  • Source and amount of wedding finances
  • Open & honest conversation with each other and the family (if the family is a source of money) at the beginning of the planning process with as much detail as possible; How much money?
  • Parents (bride & groom should speak with their parents without their fiancé. Bride w/ her family; groom w/ his family) How much money? Are strings attached?


The Time of Year

  • September is the most popular time to get married in the Midwest
  • Most couples have a time in mind (either fantasy or
  • Time of year/demand directly affects the cost almost all vendor services (January is the least expensive month / September is the most expensive month)
  • Keep in mind holidays, graduations & religious considerations


Try to work out these details within the first month of getting engaged. Being open and honest about what you want will set you up for a happy engagement and a smooth wedding planning process. It will also let you move on to your first major vendor decision; choosing your wedding reception venue.

Check out this cool infographic detailing the most interesting wedding engagement statistics.