10 Wedding Planning Tips From Our Bridal Experts

When it comes to the basics for planning a wedding, Avery Austin has got you covered! From setting the groundwork and budget with your partner to scheduling pre- and post-wedding activities, the ten wedding planning tips below will have you ready prep and plan with enjoyable ease. Whether you’re looking for ways to create a simple wedding planning checklist or hoping for insider wedding planning tips that no one casually tells you about, there’s something for every bride and groom in this list. Read from start to finish for the full experience, or just right to the wedding planning tips that you’re most curious about by selecting it from the quick list below.

#1 Set Your Priorities with Your Partner
#2 Make a Budget
#3 Get Organized
#4 Choose Your People Wisely
#5 Research & Book Venues and Vendors
#6 Prep for Guests
#7 Shop for Wedding Attire
#8 Schedule Pre-Wedding Events
#9 Finalize the Details
#10 Make Post-Wedding Plans

#1 Set Your Priorities with Your Partner

One of the first things you need to do when planning a wedding is talk to your partner. You’ll get advice from just above everyone, whether you request it or not, but try to remember that this day is all about the two of you! When in doubt, trust yourself and your soon-to-be spouse. Here are a few things you might want to discuss:

  • Priorities: Discuss what is most important to each of you for your wedding day. Perhaps it’s an inclusive guest list, a delicious and extensive menu, or a small intimate experience abroad. This conversation will go a long way toward preparing you both for the next wedding planning tip about budgeting!
  • Family Traditions: Are there any special wedding traditions on either side of the family that you both would be expected to uphold? Talk through them, see how you both feel about including the traditions, and don’t be afraid to break away from them to create your own new traditions if that’s what makes you both happy.
  • Dreams/Visions/Themes: You might not be the only one who has been dreaming of this day! Share your wedding day dreams or visions with each other and find common ground. Perhaps you both have shared interests that could, with a bit of careful wedding planning, become a memorable theme for your big day.
  • Budget: Start talking right from the beginning about realistic expenses. Make plans together to sit down and brainstorm all of the financial details and create your wedding budget (more on that in the next wedding planning tip).

Remember that talking through wedding day priorities with your partner is not a one-and-done deal! Plan to have frequent check-ins throughout the wedding planning process as you both gather more information and start to see your hard work come to life.

#2 Make a Budget

It’s easy to get carried away with wedding day dreams and overspend if you don’t prepare a wedding budget first. Don’t start your time as newlyweds in massive debt over your big day! Make a realistic plan for what you can spend. Here are a few ways wedding planning tips for creating your budget:

  • Create a Budget List: Make a comprehensive list of everything you might want to spend money on, including activities before, during, and after your wedding (engagement party, bachelor/bachelorette getaways, wedding day after party, honeymoon, etc). Typically, this list will also include wedding attire for the entire wedding party, guest invitations and other details, reception costs, music and entertainment, photography and videography, flowers and decor, ceremony costs, and transportation. Pro wedding planning tip: If you’re worried you might forget something, do a quick search for a wedding planning budget checklist. While not everything in the lists you see might apply to you, you might be surprised by some of the items that pop up that you had not previously considered (like tipping your vendors)!
  • Estimate the Costs: Once you have your detailed budget list set, do a little research to get an idea of about how much each item might cost and make note of this on your list. If you want to try to avoid pricing surprises later, note down the highest price estimated for each item.
  • Tally Up the Budget: Total all of the estimated expenditures to see just how much you might need to save if you included all of the items on your budget for your wedding. Then add an extra 5 to 10 percent on that total to prepare yourself for any surprise expenses that might pop up along the way.

So how much money should you save before planning a wedding? After making a budget that shows the expenses you’d like to cover to create your dream wedding, you’ll have a good idea of your savings goal. If you’re not quite at that goal yet, you can go back to the budget to find areas where you can cut out items that are not a high priority or swap in DIY options that are less expensive. Alternatively, you could also extend your engagement with the plan to use that extra time to save up additional wedding budget funds.

#3 Get Organized

Once you’ve talked out your priorities with your partner and worked out a budget, it’s time to really get down and start planning for your wedding by getting organized! A simple wedding planning checklist is the perfect way to begin organizing. You can easily find generic options online (just like with wedding budget lists), but it’s important to personalize it so you can prioritize putting your time, effort, and money into what’s most important to you both. These wedding planning checklists often have a suggested timeline breakdown too, so you’ll have a better idea of how early to start on different tasks, like shopping for your wedding dress! Beyond a simple wedding planning checklist though, here are a few other ways you can keep organized:

  • Digital Options: Use shareable file folders or spaces (like Google) to keep downloaded forms, contracts, receipts, checklists, etc. The extra perk with this method is that you and your partner can both easily look up information as needed. Another option is to choose a specialized wedding planning app and keep all of your wedding planning details and updates on it (The Knot App is a great example that includes a wedding planning timeline checklist too).
  • Physical Options: Maybe you’ve always been a paper and pencil kind of gal, and that’s totally fine! Get a notebook and folder (or a notebook with inserts or pockets) for stashing vendor flyers, venue brochures, receipts, etc.

Pro wedding planning tips: You can use a combination of digital and physical organizational options. For example, even if you have business cards stashed in your wedding planning notebook, it’s most convenient to save an emergency contact list with all of your hired vendor and venue phone numbers in your phone so that you are only a click or two away from calling them when needed. And of course, don’t be afraid to ask for help as you organize and plan! You might seek out a professional wedding planner, ask for advice from other married couples, or enlist your family or bridesmaids to help you knock off tasks from your wedding planning checklist (like keeping track of those pesky RSVPs). Whether you could use an assist with running errands or just need a friendly ear or two as you bounce ideas around, ask for help whenever you need it.

#4 Choose Your People Wisely

For your wedding, you want to surround yourself with family, friends, and staff who are supportive and ready to make your special day a memorable one. You should never feel obligated to invite someone to be a wedding party member, nor should you feel pressured to hire certain vendors simply because they are considered “the best.” You should feel comfortable and happy when surrounded by your chosen people! Here are the roles you especially want to be sure to fill with individuals who make your heart happy and your mind at ease:

  • Wedding Party Members: The bridesmaids and groomsmen will be with you both for the entire wedding day, as well as pre-wedding events that they take part in planning, such as the bridal shower and bachelor/bachelorette parties. Choose a solid crew that has your best interests at heart and you’ll be guaranteed an unforgettable wedding experience.
  • Wedding Planner or Day-of Coordinator: Whether you hire a wedding planner who is with you every step of the way or a day-of coordinator who shows up on your wedding day and keeps everything running smoothly and on time, you’ll be putting a lot of trust in this individual. Find someone who truly gets you and your wedding planning vision, communicates clearly and frequently, and makes you feel comfortable and confident about your big day!
  • Vendors: Some vendors will be spending a lot of time with you on your wedding day (photographers and videographers) while others work more behind the scenes (caterers). Either way, it’s key to meet these vendors in person and see if they vibe with you and your wedding style or theme.

For your wedding, it’s more important to surround yourself with people you love, respect, and share a connection with than simply choosing people because they are family or have the best ratings. Choosing your people wisely means you’re more likely to have a stress and drama free celebration, and you deserve no less!

#5 Research & Book Venues and Vendors

Since the top wedding venues and vendors end up booked a year or more in advance, it’s important to start your research early! Here are a few things to keep in mind when you look into possible venues and vendors for your wedding:

  • For Venues…
    • Tour facilities in person whenever possible, especially around the season and time frame that you hope to get married. Brochures and online imagery always showcase locations at their best, but might not give you a clear idea of how the venue looks in other seasons or at other times of the day.
    • Do your weather research. Is your destination wedding locale prone to extreme weather events at certain times of the year? When is it hotter-than-hot or downright glacial in your venue’s region? Knowing this information can help you avoid any risky and uncomfortable weather or prepare you to provide proper heating and cooling options to keep your guests comfortable. It’s always good to have a backup plan in place if you decide to take a weather risk instead of avoiding the extreme temperatures and weather phenomena altogether.
    • Ask lots of questions about the venue’s policies, available spaces, local seasonal perks or risks. Questions might include asking about the perfect sunset view, possible outdoor-to-indoor space swaps in the event of rain, other local scheduled festivities that could impact travel to your wedding, bug swarms during certain seasons, etc. And of course, don’t forget to confirm the additional time beyond your event reservation that the venue provides for you and your vendors to set up and clean up.
  • For Vendors…
    • Attend bridal shows and other vendor events so you can meet the people you’ll be working with in person. If that’s not a possibility with a vendor you’ve found online or through family recommendations, contact the vendor to ask if it’s possible to schedule a video chat.
    • Strike up a conversation with each vendor about your wedding style or theme. This will give you some insight on their familiarity with your wedding vision and how well you can get along and communicate. If certain vendors don’t exactly vibe with you, walk away and keep looking for the ones that are best for you.
    • Explore a variety of vendor possibilities to get a feel for what’s out there, as you may discover new options that you want to incorporate into your wedding planning checklist and budget! Some of the most common vendors include caterers, photographers and videographers, officiants, transport vendors, photo booth services, and hair and makeup stylists.

Once you’ve found the venue and vendors you want to book for your wedding, make sure you get contracts from everyone you work with and READ all of the fine print before signing anything. It’s key to check for everything you’ve requested in prior talks and to look out for any hidden fees (assembly fees for equipment, cancellation fees, travel costs, etc) that might not have been discussed. Once booked, make note in your wedding planning checklist to schedule meetings before your wedding day to work out any and all details, including music playlists, dinner menus, and preferred picture poses.

#6 Prep for Guests

The very first thing you’ll need to do to prepare for guests is to create a tiered priority list for the people you’d like to invite to your wedding. At the top of the list, include the people who are closest to you, then work your way down to acquaintances (like friends of your or your partner’s parents) at the bottom. This will make it easier for you to trim from the bottom of the proposed guest list if you need to invite fewer guests due to budget or venue restriction. Here are a few wedding planning tips that will help you communicate with your guests once you’ve finalized your list:

  • Make a Clear Kids Policy: Avoid family drama right from the start by making your stance on children as wedding guests very clear. It will be very confusing and upsetting for some guests if they are told they cannot bring their children but then they see other children in attendance. Having an adult-only celebration or a family-friendly wedding simplifies matters. If the lines need to be blurred, it should be clearly communicated that, due to space or budget restrictions, the only children included will be the flower girl and ring bearer or the children of the wedding party, etc.
  • Create a Wedding Registry: Make it easy on the guests who wish to purchase a special gift for the newlyweds by creating a wedding registry or two. Include a range of options at different price points so your guests can shop more easily within their own budgets. Be sure to share your registry link or QR code with your wedding party so that they can include it with bridal shower invitations, and you can also include that information on your wedding website (if you make one) and with your invitations.
  • Create a Wedding Website: A great way to share any and all information about your upcoming nuptials is to make a wedding website! You can include fun information about yourselves as a couple, wedding guest attire requests, your wedding day kids policy, an address and driving tips for getting to the venue, details about the date and time of your wedding, hotel suggestions, registry information, and more!
  • Reserve a Hotel Room Block: If you are able to do so, reserving a hotel room block can save your guests time and money. Sometimes your guests can make plans to carpool or dine together when they are all in the same hotel too!
  • Order Save the Dates & Wedding Invitations: Once you have finalized your guest list, you can send out save the dates so that your guests will know which day you plan to get married. As you get closer to your wedding day, the official invitations should be sent out with an RSVP request. At the very least, be sure to include the date, time, and venue location on the invitation and instructions for how and when a guest should RSVP. You can also include in the mailing special driving or parking instructions, attire requests, and information about your wedding registry.

#7 Shop for Wedding Attire

While wedding dress shopping might be one of the first things to come to mind when you think about how to plan a wedding, your bridal gown isn’t the only attire that you’ll need to consider! You may decide to choose styles and accessories for everyone in the wedding party, including a flower girl and the mothers of the bride and groom. At the very least, you’ll have a say in your own wardrobe, the bridesmaid dress styles, and the suit or tux options for the groom and groomsmen, so let’s focus on some wedding planning tips for those:

  • Wedding Dress: Arguable one of the favorite things on the wedding planning checklist is shopping for your wedding dress! Check out Avery Austin’s inside scoop on how to prepare for wedding dress shopping, then you’ll be all set on how to book appointments or try on wedding dresses at home, how to choose the right style, and what to wear when you try on dresses.
  • Bridesmaid Dresses: Whether you call up the girls and go bridesmaid dress shopping together or you plan a get-together with a Try at Home box of bridesmaid dresses, it’s important to get feedback from all of the bridesmaids. You might choose the color and let your bridesmaids choose the styles that flatter each of them best, or you might go for a universally flattering style, like an a-line gown, and have them determine their size. While you certainly have the final say for your wedding aesthetic, you chose these girls because they are important to you, so their comfort should be a deciding factor as well.
  • Groom & Groomsmen Attire: Choosing the suits or tuxes might be something that the groom wishes to handle, but it’s worth taking the time to touch base about the wedding colors and theme to make sure everything fits together beautifully. Decide on the suit or tux styles, any color additions, and any fun stylistic accessories that you both may wish to include (top hats and canes, anyone?).

#8 Schedule Pre-Wedding Events

Here’s a wedding planning tip that no one tells you about: Wedding planning isn’t all just about the big day. You either just know this fact from being around other brides or discover it as you begin your wedding planning research. Now that you’re over your initial shock, let’s think about the fact that having other events before your wedding is a huge perk! For one, you get to build up the excitement and anticipation for your wedding day! Just think about all the memories you’ll be making along the way that will make the start of your married life even more beautiful. Here are a few pre-wedding events that you might want to include:

  • Engagement Photos: Many couples love to capture those early moments together with a special photo shoot. It’s just you, your partner, and your ring in whatever romantic setting most appeals to you! Work together to decide on the best location and photographer, then get something in the books early before you get swept up in all the other wedding planning excitement.
  • Engagement Party: Another way couples like to celebrate the news of their engagement is to throw a party with family and friends. An engagement party can be a huge fancy event with most, if not all, of the people you are thinking of inviting to your wedding, or it can be on a much smaller scale, like an intimate gathering of friends and family that’s all about good food, great company, and happy memories.
  • Wedding Shower: This event is very often planned by the mother of the bride and the bridesmaids as a surprise for the bride, but there’s no rule that says you can’t help if you wish to do so! Some brides take the hands-off approach and only supply the wedding guest list and bridal registry details. Other brides will share any special requests, like themes or locations, to help guide the wedding shower planning. How involved you get in planning your wedding shower is entirely up to you, so if you don’t like surprises and want to arrange your own wedding shower, go for it!
  • Bachelor/Bachelorette Parties: Here’s another set of pre-wedding events that are often surprises planned by the wedding party. Our best wedding planning tip for the bride and groom in this case: Share both your hopes for your bachelor/bachelorette parties and anything that’s a hard no for you and your partner. If the kidnapping gag is sure to sour your weekend or you know you will prefer a family and kid-friendly adventure with your bridal party, make those kinds of things known right from the start to help your groomsmen and bridesmaids plan memorable and fun parties for you both.
  • Rehearsal Dinner: Often planned by the parents of the groom, the rehearsal dinner is a special gathering of the wedding party just after a practice run of the wedding day schedule. If you prefer to be more hands-on or supportive of the wedding planning for this event, you can gather a list of restaurants or halls in the area around the venue for the parents of the groom to consider. You can also plan the event yourself, even with the help of the wedding party, if you prefer to be in charge or your future in-laws are able to assist with this event.

Avery Austin’s big tip for planning pre-wedding events is to get started early and bring in the reinforcements to help you whenever possible.

#9 Finalize the Details

Now that you’ve got all of the pre-wedding events scheduled, the guests invited, and the venue and vendors booked, what’s next on your wedding planning checklist? It’s time for a lot of the nitty-gritty wedding day details to be hammered out. Here are a few final tips for planning the day of your wedding:

  • Prepare Thank You Gifts: While certainly not required, giving special personalized gifts to each member of the wedding party and other loved ones who have helped you out throughout your wedding planning process is a beautiful gesture. Even something as simple as a thoughtful handwritten thank you card can go a long way to showing your appreciation for these special people in your life.
  • Assign Wedding Day Roles: To give yourself some wedding day peace of mind, consider choosing some friends or family members to help keep your wedding running smoothly from start to finish. For example, you might want to put a few people in charge of packing up the gifts and cards you receive or any other personal materials you’ll have at the venue. You might also need to choose some readers for your wedding ceremony or ushers to help seat your guests. If the venue does not already provide such a service, you could ask for help with setting up bathroom amenity baskets at the start of the event (with occasional check-ins to see if any supplies need to be restocked during the reception).
  • Apply for Your Marriage License: While the rules for getting your marriage license can vary by location, you generally need to get it at least 24 hours before your ceremony so that your officiant has it in hand in time after that required waiting period. Of course, there’s no need to wait until the day before to get your license, especially since you’ll have many other things on your plate at that point! Most licenses are good for 30 days, so you can plan to apply for yours within that time frame.
  • Wedding Emergency Kit: Get yourself a small bag or backpack and stuff it with “emergency” items that you can easily keep nearby at the venue. You might include anything from safety pins and a mini sewing kit for dress emergencies to deodorant or extra bobby pins. Check out Avery Austin’s tips for how to make a bridal emergency kit.
  • Write Vows: If you plan to personalize your vows, now’s the time to block off some time in your wedding planning to get writing! Even if you love writing, be sure to set aside plenty of time for this task so you can take your time walking down memory lane and thinking about all the reasons your partner makes your heart sing.
  • Schedule Final Meetings with Vendors: Make sure you have time set aside to touch base with each of your vendors before go-time. You might need to finalize details regarding the menu or update your caterer regarding the wedding cake bakery delivery. If you haven’t built a playlist with your DJ or band, share your ideas and consider their recommendations to iron out those details. You also want to make sure your photographer and videographer know your wedding day schedule so they can be involved in any pre-wedding preparations and make plans to pull you, the groom, and the wedding party aside before or after the ceremony.

#10 Make Post-Wedding Plans

Now that you know how to plan a wedding and you’ve got everything figured out through your wedding day, you’re all set, right? Well, not quite. To truly make the most of your time as a newlywed, doing a bit of extra planning now for post-wedding tasks can make a world of difference. Here are a few post-wedding things that you can plan ahead of time:

  • Honeymoon: Whether you plan to leave for your honeymoon immediately after the wedding reception or a few weeks later, take time with your partner to work out your travel plans, itinerary, and packing needs before you get swept up in your wedding day fun!
  • After Party or Day-After Brunch: Maybe you don’t want to party to stop with the end of the reception, or you just want to have additional time to mingle with family and guests. Just because your scheduled time with your venue comes to an end does not mean the fun ends too! You can make plans with just your wedding party and immediate family or with all of your guests to attend an after party at another location or to meet up for brunch the next day (which is especially easy if you are all staying in the same hotel).
  • Wedding Dress Care: Wondering what to do with your wedding dress after your wedding? If you plan to clean, preserve, and store your wedding dress, check out Avery Austin’s tips for after wedding dress care so you can make plans in advance. Prefer an alternative to stashing your bridal gown in a closet? Here’s a list of 8 things you can do with your wedding dress after your celebration.
  • Thank You Cards: From vendors to your wedding party to your guests, there are so many people worthy of appreciation for the part they played in your wedding adventure! Before your wedding, stock up on the type of thank you cards you’d like to use, as well as stamps and any other mailing supplies you might need. Then schedule some time for yourself after your wedding (and after you and your partner have had a chance to open up your wedding day cards and gifts) to write out some heartfelt notes.
  • Vendor Follow-Up: Set yourself reminders to check in with your photographer and videographer during the allotted time frame (per your contract) regarding any digital photos, albums, videos you purchased. You might also need to check in with the caterer or baker regarding your wedding cake if you planned to freeze some of it for your first anniversary or pick up a small fresh cake on your anniversary.


With these 10 tips for planning a wedding under your belt, you’ve got a good idea on how to get started! As you start diving in with your partner to get the ball rolling, Avery Austin has one more thing to help you along the way: the top 3 things to keep in mind when planning a wedding. First, know that it is never too early to start your wedding planning. Remember that some things need to be booked or started at least a year in advance, so even if you have a long engagement and it feels like you have plenty of time, it won’t hurt to jump right into making your wedding planning checklist and budget right away. The second thing to keep in mind while wedding planning is that communication is key! This goes for keeping your partner involved and in the loop, as well as for touching base frequently with your wedding party, venue, and vendors. This is the best way to keep tensions and stress low while also making your bridal dreams a reality. Last, but not least, don’t sweat the small stuff. A lot of time, money, and energy goes into wedding planning, but at the end of the day, some things may not always go according to plan. If the band shows up twenty minutes late or the caterer forgets the silverware, try not to panic. Be flexible, ask for help, find a solution together, and enjoy the moment. One day, you'll look back on it all and smile and laugh.