The First 5 Steps to Start Planning a Wedding

Are you recently engaged? If so, congratulations! This is an exciting time that’s already filled with anticipation for your big day. But now that you’ve finally got a ring on your finger, where does wedding planning start? 

Although you may draw inspiration from your wedding Pinterest board (hey, follow us!), you don’t want to plan the big day in the same mish-mash way. All of those gorgeous pictures might tempt you to start looking for florists and decor, but there are some foundational details to iron out first. After over a decade in the Austin wedding catering business, here are the first five steps we recommend.

Engaged couple in Austin, Texas

1. Set a budget.

This is not a glamorous start to wedding planning, but it’s essential. Knowing what you can afford can help you make smart decisions moving forward, without missing out on the things that matter most to you. Keep in mind that some vendors will, like us, offer extensive services and supplies, and thus might take up more of your budget than you expect. For example, we may be your “caterer,” but we provide far more than amazing food. As a full-service caterer, we take care of food, beverages, desserts and cake, set up, clean up, bartending, staffing, plates, glassware, flatware, linen rentals, table and chair rentals, delivery, and even trash removal.  We can also provide lounge furniture, tents, and specialty rentals (like heaters, podiums, ice sculptures, you name it!). So, as you consider how much to allocate to each vendor in your budget, don’t forget to consider how much of your wedding checklist they really take care of for you.

2. Hire a Wedding Planner.

Let’s face it, the number of decisions ahead of you is overwhelming, not to mention ensuring that you’re making them all at the right times. That’s exactly why there should be room in your budget for someone to guide you through this complex process. And you’ll get even more bang for your buck when you have someone to make the day of your wedding completely effortless by coordinating vendors and guests behind the scenes.  Check out our preferred vendor page for a list of our favorite planners!

3. Pick multiple dates.

The pressure to set a date will be intense from the moment that ring slides onto your finger. “Have you set a date?” will probably be the first question you hear when you share the news. It’s best to start planning with several possible dates in mind. Check your work schedules, the schedules of anyone you want to have present (especially anyone who will be in your bridal party), and pencil in a few possibilities. This will give you some wiggle room if the venue or caterer you love most is already booked.

Addison Grove, an Austin, Texas wedding venue.
Addison Grove, an Austin, Texas wedding venue. Photo by Angela Sostarich Photography.

4. Narrow down your list of venues.

The next major step is choosing a venue because this will help you set a date and may limit your vendor options moving forward. The venue may also impact what you need from vendors. Are tables and chairs supplied? Or will you need to rent them? If there is an awesome caterer or a special florist you want to use, those are great things to keep in mind, but they aren’t step one. Make sure you are looking at venues they partner with, but hold off on jumping into tastings feet first. For a comprehensive list of venues we work at most often, visit our preferred vendors page.

5. Find your caterer.

Once your venue is picked, the next key detail is booking a caterer. We’re a little biased, but we think that great tasting food and excellent service is the foundation of a wedding that you and your guests never forget. As you consider potential caterers, be sure to compare more than prices — as we pointed out in step one, you may be getting more bang for your buck than you realize, even if the overall price is higher. Client reviews speak volumes, so check out our over 250 reviews on Wedding Wire and contact us to set up a consultation

Now you have a starting point for planning your big day. Go forth and conquer, and then read our next post to find out more about choosing the perfect caterer for your dream wedding!