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49 Tips for a Bride Planning Her Own Wedding

Looking to be your own wedding planner? You’re not alone! Many brides, whether it be for budget reasons or just their natural love of DIY, decide to plan their weddings — and they totally kill it as their own coordinators! But, as any experienced bride-to-be and professional planner will tell you, it’s a whole lot of work. With endless amounts of decisions, looming deadlines, budgets to manage, and miles-long to-do lists to tend to, planning your own wedding is no simple feat. So where should you begin if you’re the planner, the executor, and the bride? Right here.

First up, get inspired! Before any bride puts forth the logistics of planning her own big day, she needs to create a vision, no matter how vague. One bride may decide to spend countless hours every night on Pinterest, while another may find it useful to pick up a handful of bridal magazines and fold down her favorite pages. Some brides-to-be might even just rely on the advice of former brides who have been down this road before. Whatever avenue you choose, the goal is to be able to visualize how you will be saying your “I dos” with your husband — are you on a beach, in an elegant ballroom or on top of a mountain? Once you have a bare bones idea of what type of bride you are or want to be, the decision making just gets easier from there.

But still, even the most organized and motivated bride-to-be can feel thrown off course every now and then by the chaos and pressure that comes with the wedding planning process. That’s why it’s always a good idea to get a strategy in place, reserve some down time to get through all of your tasks, and plan far ahead so big decisions never come down until the last minute.

From getting your bridal party involved in your planning to crafting the ultimate wedding vision board or creating a month-by-month task to-do list, here are our expert tips and tricks to help any bride-to-be plan the wedding of her dreams.

  1. Start With a Budget

Before you can dive into any of the nitty-gritty details, it’s important to carve out how much this wedding is going to cost you. Plan out the maximum amount you’re able to spend on all the wedding vendors, details and decorations. Be sure to set a budget early on and stick to it throughout the wedding planning process.

  1. Don’t Make Any Quick Decisions

After you’re engaged, you’ll be filled with urges to book everything as soon as possible. But remember, there’s no rush. Spend quality time getting to know vendors before signing on the dotted line. When it comes to selecting your date, pick a date that gives you enough time to save up some money and also plan the wedding of your dreams.

  1. Talk to Your Married Friends

The best people to talk to about what they did right and what they wish they did differently are those who recently got married. Consult with past brides for tips and tricks on how to be your own wedding planner without leaving out any details or getting too stressed out.

  1. Stock Up on the Bridal Mags

Get acquainted with all things bridal by picking up issues of BRIDES and your local bridal magazines. That way, you’ll get an inside and quick look at current trends and even wedding industry news. Fold down pages that include ideas or items you like, or cut them out and make a vision board.

 

  1. Get to Pinning

If you’ve never used Pinterest before, now is the time. Create multiple boards and scroll through the website pinning wedding ideas, DIY projects, food options, and other things that catch your eyeballs. Share your boards with anyone who is interested in helping you out with the wedding plans.

  1. Kick Out the Old School Traditions

If you’re not sure why you’re doing a certain wedding tradition that people have done in the past, feel free to bid it goodbye and take it out of your wedding plans. Your wedding should feel anything but generic, so keep only the traditions that mean something special to you.

  1. Get the Bridal Party Involved

If you’re looking for a squad of people to lend some ideas or even help out a bit with wedding tasks here and there, turn to your bridal party. Tell your bridesmaids at the start of your wedding adventure that you’d love for them to get involved. Ask them to help out with things they are both good at and passionate about. Some people love DIY crafts and others are better at researching local vendors, for example.

  1. Make a Master To-Do List

The first couple of weeks that you immerse yourself in wedding planning will feel extra hectic and chaotic, so try to keep yourself organized with a to-do list. Jot down all the tasks you can think of on one document, and add to that list whenever a new thought pops into your mind.

 

  1. Keep Your Priorities Straight

You may start to feel like you have so much to do and no time to do it. Push away that overwhelming feeling by setting priorities for the tasks on your to-do list. Rank everything by order of importance and urgency. Save the mini tasks for a day-off or lazy Sunday afternoon.

  1. Take Some Time Off

Make sure you’re not doing wedding planning all of the time or else you might start to become overwhelmed with stress. Take breaks along the way to give yourself some breathing room. We promise you have time for it!

  1. Delegate Tasks to Your Family Members

Ask eager-to-help family members for a hand with tasks along the way. If you’re not sure which tasks to hand over, have them take a look at your to-do list and pick any items that they feel they can execute for you.

  1. Look Into Day-of Support

On the day of the wedding, you may think that you’ll have the time and the capability to make sure that everything is getting set up properly and that all of your vendors are where they need to be. But consider hiring a day-of planner to handle the logistics and execution while you’re busy being the bride.

  1. Have a Month-By-Month Playbook

Instead of making general plans of when you need to complete tasks by, come up with a month-by-month plan of what needs to be completed. It will make you feel more at ease when you check your to-do list.

  1. Transform a Wall into a Style Board

Since you may start to feel like planning a wedding is taking over your life, it’s okay to let it take over your house a little bit. Use a wall or a space to set up a style and vision board, where you can hang different photos that give you inspiration to plan the wedding of your dreams.

  1. Negotiate With Vendors

Whenever you receive a vendor quote, be sure to go back and negotiate with them. It’s good to have a game plan when you’re negotiating. Know the price you want to aim for and what details you’d like them to adjust.

  1. Get a Second Opinion

Be sure to investigate prices from vendors before you sign on the dotted line. If there’s a vendor and a package price that you like, always look for a second opinion. Ask around and see what over vendors are charging before agreeing on a price.

  1. Limit Your Options

When you dive into wedding planning, you’ll start to feel like the decisions and options are endless. Limit your choices by staying focused on the kind of wedding you want to have. Whether it’s big or small, destination or local, choose that early on so that you know what you’re in for when you start making plans.

  1. Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late

Try not to save big decisions or plans for the last minute. You’ll end up spending more money than you should and also be stuck making compromises on things you shouldn’t have to compromise on.

  1. Say Yes to DIY

Save some money along the way by doing some DIY crafts for your wedding. You can go DIY on centerpieces, party favors, and even smaller wedding items by asking your friends and family members to get involved and help you make some of these items.

  1. Say No to Too Much DIY

While DIY wedding crafts can save you money, they still take time, so don’t go overboard on the projects. You’ll find yourself overwhelmed with how many items or centerpieces you have to make, in addition to everything else on your wedding to-do list.

  1. Don’t Be Afraid to Get Personal

With all of the wedding traditions that people tell you that you should have at your wedding, be sure to plan in some personal traditions too. If your family has any wedding traditions that they’ve done in the past, or if there is something you want to start for future generations, don’t be afraid to give your wedding a personal touch.

  1. our Seating Chart Last

It may be tempting to plan out who is going to sit where on your wedding day, but try to save this task for a few weeks before your wedding, once you’ve received all of the RSVPs. That way, you’ll have a more accurate head count of who will be attending your big day.

  1. Plan Out Vendor Tips Beforehand

The last thing you’ll want to do on your wedding day is count out cash and track down each vendor to give them a tip. Plan this out beforehand and put the cash in an envelope with each vendor’s name on it. Consider passing off this task to your maid of honor or best man so that you can take it off your to-do list.

  1. Put Someone You Trust in Charge

Choose one person you trust and ask them to be in charge of some important tasks, like holding onto your valuables, passing out vendor tips, and even making sure the gifts and the card box are put away somewhere safe during the reception.

  1. Get Hands on With the Ceremony

Feel free to work closely with your officiant so that together you can plan out a unique and personal ceremony. Meet with them beforehand to chat about the parts you want to add and change in the traditional ceremony script.

  1. Stay as Organized as Possible

When the planning starts to get chaotic and even a bit overwhelming, try to stay organized. Store all of your notes, plans, and to-do lists in one area so that you can reference them whenever necessary.

  1. Borrow a Pair of Eyes

Not only will you need a couple of extra pairs of hands throughout the planning process, but you may find that you need an extra pair of eyes to help look over vendor contracts and even your to-do list to see if there is anything you may have left off.

  1. Work as a Team With Your Fiancé

Don’t feel like you’re in this wedding planning process alone. Turn to your fiancé for help along the way and even make wedding planning something fun you do together.

  1. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Extras

When you’re chatting with your wedding vendors, always ask them if there’s anything extra you can add on to your planned package for a discount. You never know what added bonus they’ll be willing to toss in.

  1. Pack Up Your Car the Night Before

Starting the week of your wedding, gather all of the items that you’ll need for the rehearsal dinner and your wedding day and place them in one spot. The night before your wedding, pack up your car. That way, you’re not stressing out over whether or not you have everything you need in the morning.

  1. Find Out When You Can Start Setting Up

Chat with your venue beforehand and find out when you and your vendors can arrive to start setting up. Give yourself a couple of hours beforehand to make sure that the centerpieces look the way they should and all your wedding details, like the guest book and the table cards, are where they should be.

  1. Keep Your Centerpieces Simple

You might find yourself with an urge to design over-the-top centerpieces for your wedding — ones that are filled with all different kinds of flowers and practically touch the ceiling. But remember that you don’t have to have large centerpieces to give your reception room a wedding-like vibe. Instead, you can keep your centerpieces simple and have scattered flowers throughout the space.

  1. Remember the Smaller Details

When you’re planning out your list of what needs to get done, you’ll start off with a lot of the bigger tasks, like booking your vendors and your venue. But as the wedding planning moves forward, you’ll start to feel overwhelmed with all of the little details and tasks that you need to get done. Plan ahead for these by getting the bigger tasks out of the way and reserving a couple of hours every month to knock the smaller tasks off your to-do list.

  1. Review Every Detail With Your Vendors

Schedule a couple of in-person sessions and conference calls with your vendors before the wedding. Be sure to go over what you expect of them on the day-of the event, including what time they should arrive and what they are responsible for setting up.

 

  1. Consider Selecting a Theme

If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to planning your wedding or what kind of colors, flowers, or even vibe you want to execute on your big day, considering picking a theme early on to narrow down the selection process.

  1. Go With A Couple of Colors

To help make pulling together the atmosphere and overall look of your wedding a little easier, pick a couple of colors you’d like to weave into the wedding. It’s always best to have at least two colors that complement each other and work well together.

 

  1.  Brand Your Wedding

Whether it’s a wedding hashtag or a logo, you and your fiancé can create a couple of branding items for your wedding. You can use these pieces on your invitations, on party favors, and on other aspects of your wedding day.

  1. Create a Must-Have List

All throughout planning, there will be things you may not be sure you want or can afford. When you’re starting to make decisions, create a list of you and your fiancé’s must-haves. Be sure to include the things that will make your wedding feel personal and be memorable.

  1. Make Your Wedding Website Guest Friendly

Your wedding guests, and even your family members, will have a lot of questions for you. Avoid getting endless emails, text messages, and voicemails from your guests by putting up a wedding website where they can check out the details of your wedding and even have a day-of itinerary that lets them know where they need to be and when they need to be there.

  1. Schedule Time to Get Your Marriage License

Don’t forget this task the month before your wedding. You may think walking down the aisle and saying your vows seals the marriage deal, but you’ll need to get your marriage license to make everything official.

  1. Keep Your Wedding Details a Secret

Have some wedding surprises along the way that you keep secret between just you and your fiancé, whether it’s a special dessert bar or even an activity that will be taking place at your wedding.

  1. Remember That Bigger Doesn’t Mean Better

You might feel pressure to throw a gigantic reception with a lot of people and a budget you can’t afford, don’t feel as though you have to make your wedding like that. A bigger wedding is not a better wedding, especially if you want to have a more intimate vibe.

  1. Let the Groom Have His “Thing”

An easy way for your groom to get involved is to give him something special to plan for the wedding, whether it’s a whiskey bar or even the gifts for his groomsmen.

  1. Forget About Perfection

Knowing that things may go wrong along the way will help you feel more at ease during the wedding planning process. Try not to focus on planning a perfect wedding and instead, focus on planning a wedding that’s personal for you and your fiancé.

  1. Consider Taking Off Work the Week Before

There may be a lot of last-minute tasks along the way, so consider taking off a few days before the wedding to just have some time to rest, relax, and to give yourself a buffer.

  1. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Remember to pick your battles when something makes you upset. If it’s a problem with a vendor or even a last-minute wedding day challenge, remind yourself that it’s important to let the little things go throughout the process.

  1. Take Time Between Your Wedding and Your Honeymoon

Planning a wedding and a honeymoon at the same time can be expensive, but also very time consuming. Consider taking time off between your wedding and your honeymoon so that you can save up and reset the button on your planning priorities. It helps to just focus on one thing at a time.

  1. Remember What Matters Most

Planning a wedding can be an emotional and overwhelming process, but throughout it all, remember why you’re throwing this party in the first place: To marry the love of your life and celebrate with your loved ones. Try to remember that little detail as often as possible when you feel like things are going wrong or you’re letting stress take over.

  1. Make the Wedding Adventure Fun

Enjoy the time you’re spending planning your wedding and make it fun along the way. Weddings are a giant celebration of love and when you plan your special day on your own, you truly are planning the wedding of your dreams.

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