10 Steps for Planning A Wedding

Need advice on how to plan a wedding? Here’s our simple step by step approach for stress-free DIY wedding planning.

Bride kisses the groom on her wedding day

You may find it helpful to write down a plan for the months, weeks and days approaching the wedding, so that you know what’s expected and when you’ll need to do it.

If you’ve not been involved in wedding planning before, you may find it helpful to buy one of the books which goes into detail about every aspect of the wedding day and the time leading up to it.

There’s also books for other people with a key role in the day, such as the best man and the bridesmaids.

1. The Engagement

The first many parents know is that their son or daughter phones them excitedly or visits to let them know they’re either planning to get engaged or that they’re engaged. This can be a surprise, but it’s important to try and be supportive and encouraging, whatever your initial feelings.

Once the surprise has worn off, you’ll have more time to think clearly about it and discuss whether there are any definite wedding plans yet.

It’s traditional to hold an engagement party or celebration – whether this is organised by the engaged couple, or one or both sets of parents – it is often a family affair. However, you can celebrate however you wish, and it will depend just how big your circle of friends is.

You can find out more about planning your engagement party at Confetti UK.

2. Wedding Planning on a Budget

It's important to set out the budget early in your preparations

Before any real DIY wedding planning can start, it’s important to consider the budget, as this will help inform your decisions on choosing everything from the wedding invitation wording to the venue.

Tradition used to be that the brides father paid for most of the wedding, with the groom paying for the church and the honeymoon. However, the reality for many couples is that the cost is shared between both sets of parents and the bride and groom.

Whatever your situation is, it’s important to know what your wedding budget is going to be and plan carefully for each item of expenditure. This is a critical aspect of planning a wedding. In the week before the wedding there will be dozens of small expenses and you’ll want to ensure that you have sufficient funds available to pay for each of them.

When planning a wedding, here’s just a few of the items that you’ll need to include:-

  • Bridal flowers / bouquet
  • Bridesmaids’ dresses
  • Cars / limousines
  • Church / civil ceremony fees
  • Engagement ring
  • Entertainment / DJ / band
  • Flowers & floral arrangements
  • Going away outfit
  • Groom’s suit
  • Hotel for wedding night
  • Honeymoon
  • Insurance
  • Invitations
  • Jewelry
  • Order of service
  • Other
  • Photography
  • Reception food & drink
  • Reception venue
  • Rings for bride & groom
  • Wedding cake
  • Wedding dress / gown, accessories, veil/headdress & lingerie
  • Wedding shoes or sandals
  • Video

Confetti UK offers a DIY wedding planning software to help you prepare your own detailed budget.

3. Choosing The Wedding Venue

For many couples this is one of the first big joint decisions they’ll make, and as such may be the most important aspect when planning a wedding.

Whether you’re going to have a church wedding or civil ceremony will set the tone of the day. Your budget and personal preferences will both influence your decision, as will the number of guests you wish to invite.

wedding guest in hat arriving at the church

You’ll need to consider whether you want any religious or Christian content, such as bible readings and prayers, or simply a few well chosen words.

If you’re thinking of having a specific theme for the wedding, this may influence your choice of venue – for a celtic or medieval wedding, an older more historic venue would make a suitable setting as well as being great for photos.

Once a venue is chosen and possibly a theme, you’re ready to consider what sort of invitations to send out. These should give your wedding guests an idea of what style of dress will be appropriate, as well as time, location and other helpful information.

If you’re having a formal church wedding, the invitation should reflect this, whereas a simple civil or beach wedding allows you to choose a less formal or informal style of invitation.

4. Guests List & Invitations: Critical When Planning a Wedding

The guest list is compiled by the bride & groom together with both sets of parents, and is very important because how to plan a wedding for a large crowd will differ from doing it for a small crowd.

It’s traditional to invite close relatives and long-standing family friends to your child’s wedding, though many DIY wedding traditions have gone out of the window over the past twenty years or so.

However, one thing is sure, the budget or venue or both will determine the total number of guests, and this number is absolutely critical for planning a wedding. Paring down the list to a manageable number can be a challenge, which is why many couples now have an “evening reception” which is a dance or social event, following the official reception, that enables them to widen the circle of those invited.

5. The Wedding Reception

This is one area where your budget can really change – from an informal american supper with friends to a full sit-down dinner.

The tables are laid for a beautiful beach side reception

As well as your personal preferences, you’ll need to consider venue availability on your chosen wedding date, as well as what each venue is able to offer in terms of catering.

There are a number of websites that offer comprehensive listings of venues in your local area, so it’s worth checking these, as some of the more secluded venues are really well hidden!

Three factors will influence your decision – availability, capacity (number of guests it can seat) and budget (there’s venues for just about every budget).

You’ll also need to consider what your catering requirements are – are you planning a wedding buffet, or do you prefer a three course meal served at your table. There are, of course, cost & venue implications for each.

6. Wedding Planning for Dresses, Gowns & Formal Wear

Whilst some brides want to buy their bridal gown as soon as the engagement’s announced, others are in no rush prefering to take a long leisurely look through all the bridal magazines to help them make their decision.

Unfortunately, there’s less help available for parents to choose suitable clothing, though many of the formal wear departments of larger stores will be able to offer a reasonable choice, as well as small independent retailers.

With dresses to buy for bridesmaids and flower girls as well as suits for page boys, it’s important that you’ve figured out the budget ahead of time as part of your overall wedding planning regimen. This will often determine whether the dresses will be shop-bought or sewn at home.

7.The Preparations

Parents, usually the mother of the bride, will get involved with  flowers, the brides & bridesmaids bouquets, buttonholes & corsages as well as floral arrangements for the church and reception.

There’s seemingly a hundred and one things to prepare, from table arrangements & caterers, to favors and table linen.

8.The DIY Wedding Day

On the actual day itself, you’ll probably be rising early to get everything done.  This ranges from picking up buttonholes, to final touches at the church and helping the bride get dressed and ready (as well as helping her to keep calm!).

Planning a wedding timetable for the morning can be helpful in ensuring that you’re allowed sufficient time for everything, add in extra few minutes for emergencies and those last minute panics.

beautiful bride on her wedding day

9.The DIY Wedding Ceremony

This should be when, after all the planning, you can finally rest and enjoy the experience.

With a front row seats, as proud parents, you can enjoy seeing your child make their vows and promises, as well as enjoying the spectacle of the wedding ceremony.

10. Planning a Wedding: The Day After

Once the excitement of the reception is over and the bride and groom have been waved off to their honeymoon, it’s time to tidy away and thank all those who have helped throughout the day.

Finally, don’t forget that DIY wedding planning does not end when the wedding ends – make sure you plan a day or two of rest and relaxation if you can, to recuperate after the stress and strain of having made it through! Plus this will give you time to reflect on how to plan a wedding even better next time!



  1. I agree – wedding planning can be painful if you aren’t well organized. My wife and I almost got a divorce before the wedding ceremony even beganb over plannig disagreements, LOL! Anyway, great site and keep up the good work!

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