Congratulations you are engaged. But now what? Where do you begin? Your wedding will be one of the greatest days of your life, but if you are recently engaged, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed with where to begin. SB Magazine has put together some information you can borrow to help get you started with the beautiful process that is wedding planning.



Wedding Essentials

To get you started with your wedding planning process, we have a few pieces of advice, suggestions and the basics.


Flowers may be a very big part of your decoration budget (or a very small part) depending on you and the style of your wedding. Even nontraditional and modern weddings can use unique touches such as berries, feathers, paper, succulents and other elements to create a unique floral arrangement or bouquet.

Untitled-2Be specific when explaining your style to your florist. Also, remember the season you are in as that may affect the price and availability of certain flowers. If your wedding is based off of a particular season, you may want flowers that are prominent in that season.

You may want to think about other ways to incorporate flowers and greenery other than bouquets, boutonnieres and centerpieces. Remember you can incorporate them into aisle decorations, accents for your gift table, at the entrance of your reception area and other ways depending on your ceremony location.


You probably hear this all the time, but photography is one area you will not want to skip, no matter your budget. There are also some important factors, other than the cost, that you may want to consider when looking for a visual specialist for your special day.

cameraFor example, some wedding photographers have time limits, and only stay for a specified amount of time. Make sure to plan specific events accordingly. Is your wedding going to be unplugged? In other words, are you going to request your guests to not be taking their own images, whether on cell phones or other devices?

Some photographers may request this and you may want to look into it, as well. Find a photographer style that you love. Look through their wedding portfolios. Photographers/videographers are artists, so make sure you like their editing style, as well as how they shoot their subjects.

Tip: If your wedding is not unplugged, think of a creative way to be able to find your pictures on social media. For example, create a hash tag for guests to use. Request that they tag you in photo albums or give them an e-mail address where they can send their pictures so you can download them. This way, you will get to see and experience your wedding through the eyes of your guests.


When looking for venues, consider their location, price range, distance from your ceremony site (or if they have a separate ceremony site) and space. If you know exactly how many people you want to have, this will help you narrow the search.

Some venues charge fees if you go over a certain number of people, especially closer to your wedding date. Is this venue going to be accessible to all of your guests?

Another thing you and your photographer might want to look into is places around your venue to take photographs of you, your husband and your bridal party.

6Other factors to look at when looking at venues: does it include tables and chairs? Is there a space for your caterer? Do they allow you to bring your own bar tender? Is there a time limit for your event? How long do you have to set up?

Most importantly, make sure it’s a space that you absolutely love. This will be the backdrop for most your photos and will set the tone for your wedding; so choose the location wisely. Make sure you visit in person before reserving the date or pay a deposit.

Also, if you have your heart set on sparklers or paper lanterns, make sure your venue allows the use of those things.


Food is an area where you can get creative regardless of your wedding style. Keep the needs of your guests in mind. Do you know anyone who has seriously food allergies? Are there vegetarian or vegan options?

5Remember to keep your food selection varied enough for a wide variety of people, yet similar enough to make sense on the same table. Your caterer can help you come up with enough food for all your guests, but be sure to consider your different food options.

For example, will you be having cocktail hour appetizers? Are you having a formal sit down meal or a buffet? Will you have additional dessert options along with your cake? Be prepared with these answers when meeting with potential caterers.


This should definitely be a part of your planning process that should involve your groom. If you trust him enough, a great way to make him feel more involved is to have him surprise plan it (although you can always elicit the help of friends and family to get him started.)

7This should definitely be an area of compromise for both of you, whether you love the mountains, beach or exotic locations. There are unique locations that have it all, so don’t rule anything out.

If you have a particular place in mind, ask around or look for recommendations. Are there bad reviews online? Is there a lot to do in the area? Will there be any distractions that might deter you from choosing that location?

Be sure to check them out, especially if you are planning on going to another country. If you will need plane tickets, don’t wait until last minute to purchase them, and make sure to reserve seats beside each other. If you need to incorporate the honeymoon into your budget, make sure you account for that, as well.


An invitation says a lot more about your wedding than the text that appears on it. Your invitation should suggest the mood of the wedding, as well as inform.

For example, if you are having a nontraditional wedding, your invitations should reflect that. But no matter your style, you can still have beautiful invitations. Your invitation should also include specific information.

Don’t leave your guests wondering too many questions, such as how many people are invited or is it a kid friendly wedding.

9For more traditional weddings, there are a lot of specific ways you will want your information to appear. If your wedding is not so formal, you may want to consider cute wording or playful phrases to suggest the mood of your wedding.

Along with your invitations, there are other paper products you may want printed to match your invitations. Will you need food labels? Wedding brochures? Directions? Table reservation cards?

If you are using a graphic designer, they may want to use similar fonts, color schemes and graphics to bring your whole wedding together. Don’t forget that it’s the little details that bring your wedding together.


You can adjust your budget based on your needs. Your wedding planner should be able to give you a more detailed look at what specific spending should work best for you. Remember that there may be some unforeseen fees charged by musicians, your venues and vendors, so keep that in mind when planning your budget.

Reception: 50 percent

The reception should include venue and all rentals, catering, drinks, cake and other fees your venue or vendors may require.

Attire: 10 percent

This should cover your gown, alterations, hair accessories, jewelry, makeup, grooms tux/suit, and any accessories the groom may want.

Flowers and Décor: 10 percent

This should cover all floral arrangements and centerpieces for the reception and ceremony, bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages, lighting and decorations.

Music: 10 percent

This will include your ceremony musicians, cocktail hour musicians, band/DJ/singers/etc. and dance floor rentals.

How to find the perfect dress

8Perhaps the most important part of finding your perfect dress is looking for a dress to fit your body type. There are many shapes to consider that are not listed and you may be in more than one category. No matter your shape, you have a beautiful body and your dress should accentuate that.


You: Your body shape is larger on the bottom than the top.

Your dress: You may want to pick a dress that will draw attention to your top, such as a dropped-waist or even a strapless gown. Stray from gowns that will bring the eyes downward, such as a V-neck.


You: You’re shorter than 5’4” proportionately.

Your Dress: Choose a dress that will give the illusion of height. A column-goddess styled dress, trumpet skirt or A-line dress will be flattering for your figure. While most dresses will look fine if hemmed, large or voluminous gowns or large patterns tend to overwhelm women with smaller frames.


You: You have the curvy hips and bust that many are envious of.

Your dress: You can rock a dropped waist gown, mermaid styled dress for a slimming effect, a dress with a bodice or even an asymmetrical dress. Avoid thin straps or plunging necklines that may not give you enough support. An a-line gown would also be very flattering.


You: You may have an athletic build or lacking in curves, regardless of your height.

Your dress: Your dress should have feminine curves and lines, accenting your bust and waist. This look can be achieved through a dress with a V-neck, a flared skirt, adding a sash or selecting a gown with a high waistline. If you are tall, a ball gown will add shape to your silhouettes.
Tip: Even if you’re trying to lose weight, keep in mind that your actual shape will remain the same and should still be a factor is which dress you choose.

Here are few questions to ask yourself before going on your search:

  • Do you want you gown to go with your theme, or stand out?
  • Do you have any particular designers you like?
  • What is your favorite fabric in a gown?
  • Do you have a list of all the bridal stores you wish to visit?
  • What color dresses do you like?
  • What type of hairpiece or veil would you like to have?

If you haven’t thought of these questions, it might be a good idea to look them up before you go out. Being informed before searching for your dress will give you a better understanding of what you want and will let your dress shop better cater your needs.

Picking a Theme

Below are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a wedding theme. Your theme should incorporate your colors and your style, so think of the two together. Don’t be afraid to ask the experts (your florist, vendors, planner, etc.) how to incorporate your colors and styles. These questions should help you get started.

Wedding Colors

  • Do you want your colors to be seasonal?
  • What neutrals are you going to use?
  • What shade do you want your colors to be?
  • How many colors do you want on your color palette?
  • Do you want a trending color scheme, or something that will always be classic?
  • How are you going to incorporate your colors?
  • What colors will your bridesmaids wear? Groomsmen?
  • What colors do you want in your bouquet? Your bridesmaids?
  • Do you want guests or family to wear colors in your color scheme?
  • What are trending colors that you like?


Tip: If you are having a hard time finding your particular shade, try an ombre décor effect by using colors darker and lighter in your color to give the false appearance of your color. You can use this technique with flowers, decorations, napkins — just about anything.

Wedding Style

  • Do you want your wedding to be modern or traditional?
  • What small décor pieces are you going to use to express your style?
  • What bigger décor pieces are you going to use?
  • Have you thought of natural elements?
  • Does your style fit with your budget?
  • Do you have examples of style you like?
  • How are you/are you not going to incorporate flowers?
  • Does your style match you and your groom’s personalities?
  • What are key elements of your style?

Tip: When choosing your wedding style, try to stay away from blending styles or colors not in your color scheme. Your theme should blend well together and be visually appealing.