Are you planning your wedding on your own? First of all, congratulations! Planning a large event whether it’s local or out of town is a giant undertaking as you want every detail to be perfect. A secret to bringing all the elements together at the right moment is time. There are things that are nice to know, then there’s essential advice that you absolutely need to know. Read on to plan your wedding day like a pro.

Start with your guests

Are you having a big wedding or a small, intimate ceremony? Although a personal choice, your guest list size will dictate a lot of wedding day details. Before dreaming up your big day, think about those you cannot imagine celebrating without. Separate your guest list into tiers of priority. Place your immediate family and wedding party at the top of the list. The second tier contains aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. Finally, colleagues, neighbors, and family friends fall into the third tier. This formula will help you reach the perfect guest number and will save on the budget too.

Now that your guest list is complete, you can look into venue options. The general rule is 25-30 square feet per guest. This can seem like a lot at first but keep in mind that there will be tables, chairs, food displays, a dance floor, and vendors/catering staff. After adding guests and objects to the venue space, it’ll be tighter, so choose a venue carefully.

Kids and “no ring, can’t bring”

Here are two sensitive areas that require open, honest discussion: children and plus-ones. Do you plan to have children in attendance at your wedding? It’s your day so if your answer is “no,” communication is key to keep from ruffling feathers. Be prepared for guests to RSVP with regrets due to their children not being invited. In the case of bringing plus-ones, it can cause a giant ripple effect on your guest list. These decisions need to be 100% uniform for everyone as well as communicated clearly.

Take it one step at a time

Wedding planning can be overwhelming and it’s easy to take on too much too fast. Once your guest list and venue are ironed out, there are still many details to plan. Put together a schedule so you can complete all your tasks one-by-one. For example, once your date is confirmed, you can start researching vendors. Going through step-by-step will help your budget too! Planning also means being realistic with your time.

Budget, budget, budget

When planning your big day, picking a budget formula and sticking to it will save you stress and headaches. Keep 48-50% for the reception, 8-10% for flowers, attire, entertainment, and photography, 2-3% for invites and gifts, finally save 8% for miscellaneous expenses. It’s important to put aside 5-10% of your total budget for surprises. The dress might need extra tailoring, a must-have gift might come up, or last minute items like hair and nails need to be accounted for in the budget.

The budget is also something you can tier. Make a checklist of your absolute must-haves like music, photography, attire, and flowers. Assign numbers to each line item “1” to “3” with “1” being crucial and “3” being optional. Spend on the top two tiers and cut corners or eliminate in tier 3. This will help remove a lot of stress from your planning process if you have to make tough decisions.


The following links are resources at external websites. If you click on these below, you will be leaving the Wedding Protector Plan’s website.

30 Essential Wedding Planning Tips and Tricks

33 Tips for a Bride Planning Her Own Wedding