Wedding Planning

From engagement to the big day, the average couple spends around 12 to 18 months planning their wedding. So how do you make the most of your planning time?

Our wedding planning 101 guide will walk you through the first steps to take to plan your wedding. Keep reading to learn more. 

Plan Your Guest List

The first people on your guest list should include the key people in your life that you can’t imagine not being there. You may feel obligated to invite those you aren’t so close to, but keep your budget and venue size in mind.

Talk with your partner about how many family members or friends they anticipate inviting so you can more accurately plan your next steps. 

Work Out a Budget

A wedding budget typically isn’t as simple as “I’d like to spend X amount overall.” Instead, to effectively plan, you should make categories and allocate funds toward those expenses in particular. Here are some examples.


Invitations vary significantly in cost, as you can choose to go with something fun like a message in a bottle or more practical like cardstock and calligraphy. Traditional invitations run around $400 and $650 for 100 cards. 

Food, Drinks, or Catering 

Providing a meal and alcohol is expected at weddings, so it will likely eat up a large part of your wedding budget. Plan to pay around $4000 for catering and another few thousand if you plan for an open bar. 


Depending on the ingredients, the time it takes to make, the number of tiers, additional items, and delivery, you can expect to pay $350 or more on a cake for around 50 guests. You can also explore non-traditional options like cookies or mini cheesecakes. 

Ceremony and Venue 

A professional venue is one of your most significant expenses. Reserve 30 to 50% for a venue.  


Wedding rings for men are usually cheaper than they are for women. For example, a man’s wedding band may range from $300 to $500, while a woman’s ring could cost twice as much. Along with the engagement ring, these costs will be about 15% of your overall budget. 

Wedding Favors and Gifts 

It’s easy to go overboard when shopping for wedding favors for attendants or gifts for members of your marital party. You can come up with fun and memorable gifts for less than $10 per person. 

Hired Professionals 

This is another area that is easy to spend a lot of money in if you’re not careful. You may not need to hire a wedding planner, florist, photographer, tailor, driver, stylist, and coordinator, but they can be a big help. Plan to pay a couple thousand for wedding professionals, so you don’t have to DIY everything. 

Going Dress/Suit Shopping

Start your shopping for your wedding attire 9 to 12 months before the big day. It should happen pretty early since members of each martial party will also have to rent or buy wedding attire that matches. Additionally, alterations or special orders can take a fair amount of time.

This also gives you time to pin down exactly what colors you want and coordinate with the venue or decor. Not sure where to start? Check out for wedding attire inspiration for men. 

Wedding Planning 101: Everything You Need to Consider

There are hundreds of decisions to make in the 12 to 18 month period between engagement and your wedding day. We hope our wedding planning 101 guide helps make this process easier. Remember to talk about your guest list, create a comprehensive budget, and go dress/suit shopping early.

If you liked this article on planning weddings, check out the rest of our site for more posts like this one! 

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