Beyond Pinterest: What you REALLY need to know about planning your wedding

Wedding Planning

Kirsty Ussher

September 6, 2023

Congratulations! You’re engaged! This is a special moment in your life that you will never forget. But now that you said “yes”, what comes next? Read on to learn about the first 5 things you should do on your wedding planning journey.

1. You’re Engaged! Take time to enjoy it

I see you, scrolling endlessly through Pinterest Boards, pinning anything and everything that sparks your interest! It’s fun right?! And to be honest, it’s the perfect place to start for most newly-engaged brides (and maybe a few grooms). But before you even start that part of the journey, I want you to STOP. That’s right, just stop, freeze, pause, don’t do anything. Just let the moment wash over you. Revel in it. Take a great big bath in it! This is a moment in time that needs to be savored – so give it the attention it deserves. Too often I see couples go from Yes to Stress in a matter of days or weeks because they get caught up in the wedding hype and jump right into planning the big day. Instead, I advise you to celebrate this part of your journey together.

Maybe the proposal was done spontaneously and intimately during a sleep-in together one lazy Sunday morning. Or maybe it was a fully orchestrated event that required a slick team of professionals pulling together the most romantic mountain-top proposal the world has ever seen. Either way (or any way!) now you should permit yourselves to truly CELEBRATE THE ENGAGEMENT. Find a way to announce it to your family and friends that brings them into the celebration too. Take that awesome Instagram-worthy photo of the ring and announce it to the world of Social Media. Have a party. Do an engagement photo shoot. Go out for dinners. Take romantic weekends away. Celebrate with your girls.





Don’t rush. And don’t feel pressured to “get the ball rolling” on your wedding plans. Oh, I know, people will start asking. “When’s the date?”. “Where are you getting married?”. “Who are your bridesmaids?”. “Have you chosen a dress?”. It might feel a bit relentless, to be honest, but take a deep breath and just tell everyone “We’re taking our time and not making any plans yet”. They will all soon get the message and leave you to it.

2. Let’s talk about the unsexy side of wedding planning…

I know, I know, I know – you don’t want to think about money and how much this will cost. You are ready to dive into those Pinterest Boards again and start thinking about the vibe of your wedding. That’s way more fun! And I totally agree with you! I loathe thinking about costs and budgets and expenditure. Yuk! But the harsh reality of weddings is that they cost. A lot of money. So the second best piece of advice I can give you is SET YOUR BUDGET FIRST. And I don’t just mean a “pie in the sky” figure that you think you might spend on your wedding. I mean a full blown spreadsheet! With breakdowns of percentages to spend on florals, venue, rentals, food, booze etc, etc. Make sure you include your incomes and how much of your incomes you are prepared to put toward the wedding. This will also help set you up with a better timeline of WHEN you will be able to get married. By “be able to” I really mean “afford to”.

Believe me when I tell you, budget first, plan second. Setting your expectations to a realistic level will not only help you with the next steps of creating a wedding vision but will also help you further down the line when you need to make decisions about the smaller details. The other advantage of having a clear budget is that it can give you a bit of breathing space in terms of how quickly you plan your wedding. Maybe you need to save a little longer and therefore get to enjoy the time spent being engaged, rather than rushing to the altar.

Photographer: Hannah Hughes Photographer | Planner: As You Wish Weddings + Events | Florist: Alpine Flowers | Signage: Spearmint Signage Studio

3. The Fun Stuff: Your Wedding Vision

I think for most couples, this is where your wedding planning really begins. This is the fun stuff. This is where the Pinterest Boards come in handy. So go ahead and scroll to your heart’s content! Pin the crap out of those inspo images. Just be sure to be organized about it. Create some handy Boards before you even start. And make sure you go through and review them regularly so you can cull the images that you’ve lost interest in or no longer align with your vision. Check out other places for inspiration too. Wedding publications and Instagram are also good places to look. So have fun and let your creativity flourish.

BUT (and it’s a big but!) this is often the part of your planning journey where you can get a bit STUCK too. For a couple of reasons. Number one, you forget to include your partner in all your searching and planning. Even if your partner is not remotely interested in the decor and styling of the wedding, make sure you discuss the overall vision together and ensure your ideas are aligned! This is the time for open discussion, debate, and dreams! There will (should??) even be time for arguments and conflict during this part of the planning process. Maybe your childhood dream of the Barbie Pink-themed wedding doesn’t sit well with the one you love. Maybe you need to compromise. Maybe you need to listen to each other. Maybe you need to figure out how to do this together.

Number two, you can get quite overwhelmed by the volume of ideas out there. There is a lot! And if you are anything like me, you love to collect stylish things. Pinterest is my dirty habit and sometimes I have to cut myself off! Your wedding day is the perfect excuse to go nuts but in the process, it can take you to a place you don’t want to be and then it can be difficult to find a clear vision for your day. Things can get a bit muddy. My advice is to stick to what is personal to you and your partner. What are your styles and what are you drawn to when it comes to art, food, colors, fashion, etc. Don’t be lured by the latest wedding trend – be true to yourselves. Find a few key images that represent that and build your wedding vision around it. It can even be a great idea to go to a Wedding/Event Planner or Stylist at this point and have a consultation to get you started.

Photographer: Hannah Hughes Photographer | Planner: As You Wish Weddings + Events | Venue: The Venue, Wanaka

4. Wedding: When and Where

Now you’re ready to start looking at locations and venues. Time to start considering suitable dates and who you might want to be part of your bridal party. These are all big details, but it is important that you have done steps 1 through 3 first.

Firstly, consider WHERE you want to get married. This is twofold. You need to firstly consider a location. Such as getting married where you live, or somewhere that is special to you both like a beach close by, or maybe you are thinking about a destination wedding. Think long and hard about this aspect of your planning as it will have many implications later on in your journey. It will impact planning logistics. It will impact travel and accessibility for you and your guests. It will even impact costs.

You also need to think about aligning the location with your overall Wedding Vision AND your Budget. Go back to the decisions you made in Steps 2 and 3 to help guide you with this part of your planning. The same goes for the choice of venue. If your style and wedding vision is a cool, hip urban street food vibe then don’t choose a beachside venue at Omaha! Just because your partner’s parents own a bach there and want you to have the party on the lawn! Stay true to your vision and find places that align with that vision. Also consider the style of reception you want. Do you want your guests sitting down at tables for the meal or would you rather they mix and mingle throughout, in a Walk & Fork style reception. You need to make sure that your vision will fit with the venue you choose.

Once you have the venue found, pick the date of WHEN you will get married. And don’t just choose whatever date is free on the venue’s booking sheet! Do your research here. Think about seasons and weather. Does the venue have a wet weather contingency? If not, consider the drier months. Also consider public holidays and the impact on guests for accommodation. There is also the consideration of venues costing slightly less during the off-season or during mid-week. Think about your work schedules and making sure your wedding date doesn’t fall right in the middle of your busiest month at work! And if things aren’t lining up – delay! Wait a bit longer and do it right.

Photographer: Hannah Hughes Photographer | Planner: As You Wish Weddings + Events | Florist: Alpine Flowers | Signage: Spearmint Signage Studio

5. Expert Help: Assembling Your Team

Planning a wedding can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. It should be a fun-filled, joyous time in your life so make sure you keep that as your goal throughout. Consider hiring a wedding planner to guide you through the process and help you make informed choices. We really do know our s$#t. Wedding planners can provide anything from helping you get started with tips, tools and style guides all the way through to full-service planning so you can just sit back, relax and turn up to the party on your wedding day!

But wedding planners are not the only expert help you can enlist on this journey. Look for vendors who align with your vision (and budget!) and get to know them. Also, let them get to know you and you will find that they will go above and beyond to help you achieve your wedding vision. Find vendors who know other vendors and have good working relationships with them. This will really help you in the long run and will ensure things run smoothly on the day. Take your time to do your research with your vendors and be clear about your overall vision for your day.

Make sure you listen carefully to your vendors too. You don’t have to do what they tell you to (especially if it doesn’t align with your wedding idea) but they usually know what they are talking about and are worth a listen to! If your caterer tells you that you might need more food for your 100 guests, it’s probably a good idea to get a bit more. If your venue suggests you hire a few outdoor heaters because it’s a “bit chilly” at that time of year – you better believe they know what they are talking about. Good wedding vendors are in the business because they love to create experiences for people. They genuinely love, love 🙂 And they will work hard to make sure your day meets all your expectations. So…. Vendor Squad – Assemble!

That’s it!

Everything else you need to know will happen organically as you travel along the path to your wedding day. If you follow these 5 essential steps to wedding planning you will have set yourselves up for success, and more importantly – a stress-free and enjoyable planning process.

Planning a wedding can feel like a daunting task, but with a little bit of research, organization, and teamwork, you’ll be well on your way to creating the perfect day. Remember that every decision you make is an expression of your love story. Embrace the process, savor the moments, and don’t hesitate to seek help when needed – hire a wedding planner to alleviate stress and ensure a seamless experience.

Your wedding day is just the beginning of a beautiful adventure together. Remember to take some moments for yourselves during the process and enjoy this special time. Happy wedding planning!

Photographer: Hannah Hughes Photographer | Planner: As You Wish Weddings + Events

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