How to plan a wedding

How to Plan a Wedding: Your 11 Step Guide

Once you’ve told everyone ‘we’re engaged!’ and found the perfect way to announce your engagement, so now it’s time to actually plan a wedding. You might be wondering how to plan a wedding? We’ve put together a simple 11 step guide that will teach you how to plan a wedding.

You’ll also find it useful to print off our wedding planning checklist.


how to plan a wedding

If you’re still in shock, check out these thoughts everyone has when they get engaged – you’ll identify with them all!

How to Plan a Wedding in 11 Simple Steps

1. Set Your Budget

The first answer to that ‘how to plan a wedding’ question is to set your budget. You need to frankly look at your finances and decide how much you can afford to spend on your wedding.

woman planning wedding budget

The average cost of a wedding is something to consider, but remember that no matter what your wedding budget, you can still have an absolutely lovely wedding day.

You need to consider how much you can save, how much you already have that you can spare and if either of your families will want to make a financial contribution.

If you don’t set a budget when figuring out how to plan a wedding, it could lead to a lot of stress later on. Also, when it comes to things like the honeymoon, you can always set up a honeymoon gift list that will help you pay for your honeymoon.

If you’ve decided on a budget, these articles will help you:

2. Find the Ideal Wedding Venue

When you know what you have to spend, you can start to look at wedding venues. There’s a lot to consider when it comes to picking your wedding venue, from the questions you need to ask your venue to the style of wedding you want to have.

wedding venue doorway

You’ll be able to find a huge range of wedding venues on Confetti – whether you’re dreaming of a rustic barn wedding venue or a luxurious stately home venue.

You need to think about the things you want your wedding venue to have too – do you need a wedding venue with accommodation? Does it bother you if your wedding venue charges for corkage? How many people does your wedding venue need to host? Will you need to bring in your own caterers?

Once you’ve answered all those questions, you’ll have a better idea of what you’re looking for.

3. Plan Your Guest List

Your budget and your choice of wedding venue will help to dictate your guest list numbers.

wedding guest list planning

When you’re figuring out how to plan a wedding, it’s important to sit down with your partner and decide who you want to invite. Try and split the allocation of guests as fairly as you can, and also decide whether you want to have evening guests too.

Remember to include yourselves in your numbers, and have that tricky chat about whether you want children at your wedding too.

If you are inviting them, here are some fun ways to entertain children at your wedding.

Once you’ve got your guest list numbers sorted, you can start to think about your wedding stationery and what you need to include. When you know who is attending, you can start working on your wedding table plan.

4. Pick Your Bridal Party

Decide who out of your guest list is going to make the cut to be in your bridal party. You’ll need a maid of honour, bridesmaids, a best man and groomsmen. You might also want flower girls and page boys, and to ask people to be your witnesses or to give a wedding ceremony reading.

bridesmaids laughing

Give yourself time to think about who you ask – these people will be supporting you as you plan so you need to make sure you choose people who you can rely on and who won’t stress you out.

It’s also worth considering the costs that come with asking people to be in your bridal party – you’ll need to cover their outfits, accessories and flowers, as well as thank you gifts.

There are lots of cute ways to ask ‘will you be my bridesmaid?’ – we’ve rounded up some of the best ways to pop that question.

Make sure you share with them the lists of bridesmaid duties, maid of honour duties, best man duties and usher duties.

It’s also a good time to share the mother of the bride duties and the role of the father of  the bride with your parents.

5. Sort Your Wedding Suppliers

Give yourself plenty of time to find the perfect wedding suppliers for your wedding. You can browse every kind of wedding supplier you can think of on Confetti.

wedding table setting

Your venue may have some recommended suppliers, but if you want to bring in your own, check that it won’t be a problem. Have a think about all the fun ways you can entertain your wedding guests too – whether you want a wedding magician, a prosecco van or an awesome band.

Make sure you compare prices and read reviews before booking your suppliers – and always keep hold of your contracts!

6. Get Wedding Insurance

Your wedding is one of the most expensive things you’ll ever pay for, so it makes sense to insure it.

Wedding insurance planning

Buying wedding insurance will give you peace of mind – in case anything goes wrong, from a supplier going out of business to – worst case scenario – you having to cancel or rearrange your wedding.

It may seem like just another cost when all the costs are adding up, but compared to what it is protecting, it’s a relatively small price to pay.

7. Shop for Your Dress

Shopping for your wedding dress is one of the most exciting parts of planning your wedding. Make sure you do your research to find out what style of wedding dress you like, then start booking appointments at bridal boutiques.

Shopping for wedding dress

Give yourself a year to find your dream wedding dress – some take around six months to arrive once ordered, so allow yourself plenty of time. Consider your budget – are you in the market for a designer wedding dress? And also think about what kind of bridesmaid dresses will go with your dress choice.

You also need to decide whether any groomswear will be hired or bought and what style you want to go for.

8. Create a Wedding Gift List

Planning your wedding gift list is a really exciting part of your wedding planning. You need to decide on your wedding gift list before you send out your invitations, so you can include the information in your invitations.

gift list planning

It might feel a bit weird to send out a list of what you want, but it means your guests know exactly what to buy you and will save you ended up with duplicated or unwanted presents.

You can set up a gift list with a high street shop like John Lewis, or you could go for an online gift list provider. Some couples choose to ask for money as a wedding gift, which you can do through a specialist honeymoon gift list, or towards a project they’re saving for.

9. Send Out the Invitations

You need to send out your wedding invitations with plenty of time to spare before your big day, to make sure your guests are able to attend.

Wedding invitation

If you’re sending out save the date cards, you can do this around a year away from the big day, then follow up with invitations three months before. If you’re not sending out save the dates, then it’s a good idea to send out your wedding invitations six months before the big day, so you can make sure everyone’s got it in their diaries.

Are you wondering what to include with your wedding invitations? It’s a good idea to include local accommodation details, parking instructions, your gift list information and anything else your guests will need to know. A stamped, addressed postcard for RSVPs is a nice touch and will make things easier for you in the long run too.

10. Plan Your Honeymoon

The only thing that might be more exciting than your wedding day is your honeymoon. Traditionally, the groom plans the honeymoon as a surprise, but that might not work for you.

maldives honeymoon

Examine your budget and if you can afford it, book your dream trip. If you are counting on guest contributions, it might make sense to wait until after your wedding to book the trip, in case you get less or more than you expect to receive.

Think about whether you want a summer trip or a cosy winter honeymoon and what you’ll need to pack for each. Research whether you need any jabs to travel and organise any visas with plenty of time to spare!

If your budget is tight, consider a romantic minimoon in the UK.

11. Stag and Hen Nights

Finally, when all the serious planning is done, it’s time to kick back and plan your hen or stag do! The hen and stag dos are typically planned by the bridesmaids and the best man, but some people choose to plan their own.

girls on hen party

Make sure the hen and stag do planners know your availability, your budget and who you’d like on the guest list. If you think they need it, direct them to our guide on how to plan a hen party.

We’ve also got lost of fun hen party games that will take your celebrations to the next level!

How to Plan a Wedding FAQs Answered

What are the steps to planning a wedding?

It’s super simple – there really are only 11 steps involved in planning a wedding! Simply follow the wedding planning steps listed above and you won’t go wrong.

The first and most important steps to planning a wedding are:

  • Agree a budget
  • Agree a potential number of guests
  • Agree the time of year you want to get married
  • Find a venue that suits your budget, can host your guest list comfortably and has availability around the time you’d like to get married

Once you have those steps to planning a wedding covered, everything else will fall into place!

How long does it take to plan a wedding on average?

The average wedding takes around 18 months to plan. This gives you plenty of time to complete the key steps to planning a wedding. Don’t forget our wedding planning checklist, which will help you understand how long it takes to plan a wedding and what tasks should be completed and when.

how to plan a wedding
how to plan a wedding checklist

What is the cheapest way to plan a wedding?

If you’re looking for cheap ways to plan a wedding, we understand! We’ve got 23 ways to save money on your wedding, from easy DIY to tips for finding the best wedding venue deals.

Now you know exactly how to plan a wedding, read up on our round up of the best wedding planners and organisers to help you even more.

Find Wedding Ideas, Inspiration, Venues and Services

mail icon

Subscribe to our Network

Stay connected with our network and get all the best Wedding Planning, Inspiration and Competitions directly into your inbox.