Newbie Wedding 101: The Ultimate Guide to Stress-Free Planning

Take a look at every tip and you’ll be saved a lot of stress!

Are wedding bells ringing and you're feeling clueless about where to start? Don't worry, we've got your back! Our newbie wedding planning guide is here to turn your wedding dreams into a reality. In this blog post, we will walk you through every step of the process, from choosing the perfect venue to creating a personalized theme that reflects your unique style. We understand that every couple is different, and that's why we tailor our services to fit your needs and budget. So say goodbye to stress and hello to your dream wedding. Trust us, with our help, planning your big day will be an unforgettable journey filled with excitement and celebration. Let's make magic happen together!

Ultimate guide to stress free planning
The Ultimate guide to stress free planning (Photography by lolarong)

If the happy couple wants to make sure they don't mess up any part of the wedding planning process, they should start early and gather as much information as they can before diving into the details. We have an article that will help you “How to avoid common wedding planning mistakes” and so much hassle.

The Importance of Proper Planning

Planning a wedding is an exciting journey, filled with important decisions and details that shape a fun, enjoyable, and memorable event for everyone. From selecting the perfect dress and decorations to choosing the right caterers and floral arrangements, each element contributes to the celebration. By investing time in research and organization, you can ensure your special day is a seamless reflection of your dreams. These essential tips are designed to guide newbies through the planning process, helping create a wedding that beautifully tells your unique love story.

The Key to a Successful and Stress Free wedding planning
The Key to a Successful and Stress Free wedding planning (theirishbride)

Setting a Wedding Budget

Determining your wedding budget should be your first priority before making any other decisions. To accomplish this, you and your fiancé should review your savings accounts and ascertain the amount that can be saved during the engagement. Enquire with the parents of the individuals involved to find out if they are prepared and able to help as well. Once you have your grand total, our wedding cost checklist—which covers the most important areas of planning—will help you break it down into manageable chunks. Although our estimates serve as a solid foundation, it is probable that you will have to modify the categories based on your personal preferences and requirements.

  • Ceremony: 3% of your budget
  • Reception catering, Rentals and the venue: 45% of your budget
  • Photography and Videography: 12% of your budget
  • Wedding Attire and Beauty: 9% of your budget
  • Wedding rings: 2% of your budget
  • Flowers and décor: 10% of your budget
  • Stationery: 3% of your budget
  • Favors and gifts: 2% of your budget
  • Transportation: 2% of your budget
  • Cake: 2% of your budget
  • Music/Entertainment: 10% of your budget
wedding budgeting ideas
wedding budgeting ideas
Wedding Preparation Checklist
Wedding Preparation Checklist

Additional Considerations

Modify the figures to include in, depending on your wedding budget:

  • Coordinators and wedding planners: 5–15% (it varies by type of planner)
  • Just-in-case fund: 5–15% (it's smart to be prepared for unexpected costs).
  • Honeymoon: 5% (if you'd want to schedule it just before or around the wedding)
Honeymoon fund for your dream wedding
Honeymoon fund for your dream wedding (DIY Bride)

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Setting up a Payment Timeline for Your Wedding

To manage your wedding budget effectively, establish a clear payment schedule with each vendor, as their requirements may differ. Typically, you'll need to:

  • Pay deposits upon booking for the venue, caterer, photographer, and others.
  • Make progress payments 3-6 months before the wedding for services like catering and decor.
  • Complete final payments a month before the wedding.
Wedding couple in a bohemian meadows
Wedding couple in a bohemian meadows (SAV BROWN)

Wedding Budget Breakdown Examples

With the aforementioned percentages in mind, below are some examples of wedding budgets. You should know that these percentages are flexible and can be changed to fit your wedding's size, priorities and requirements.

Total $5,000 Wedding Budget Breakdown

  • Ceremony: $150
  • Reception catering, Rentals and the venue: $2250
  • Photography and/or videography: $600
  • Wedding attire and Beauty: $450
  • Wedding rings: $100
  • Flowers & decor: $500
  • Stationery: $150
  • Favors and gifts: $100
  • Transportation: $100
  • Cake: $100
  • Music and entertainment: $500

Total $10,000 Wedding Budget Breakdown

  • Ceremony: $300
  • Reception catering, Rentals and the venue: $4500
  • Photography and/or videography: $1200
  • Wedding attire and Beauty: $900
  • Wedding rings: $200
  • Flowers & decor: $1000
  • Stationery: $300
  • Favors and gifts: $200
  • Transportation: $200
  • Cake: $200
  • Music and entertainment: $1000
Wedding budget breakdown
Wedding budget breakdown

Total $30,000 Wedding Budget Breakdown

  • Ceremony: $900
  • Reception catering, Rentals and the venue: $13500
  • Photography and/or videography: $3600
  • Wedding attire and Beauty: $2700
  • Wedding rings: $600
  • Flowers & decor: $3000
  • Stationery: $900
  • Favors and gifts: $600
  • Transportation: $600
  • Cake: $600
  • Music and entertainment: $3000

Download our free Ultimate Wedding Guide that includes budget tracker spreadsheet (Google Sheet and Microsoft Excel based) to put your budget number and kick off your wedding planning!

Choosing a Wedding Venue

Choosing the ideal venue is a crucial decision. It's important to give serious thought to elements like amenities, ambience, capacity, and location. Whether your dream wedding is a lavish ballroom celebration, small wedding or outdoor ceremony, these tips will help you locate the perfect venue.

  • Guest List Planning— When deciding how many people to invite to your wedding, begin by estimating your expected guest count. Choose a venue that can comfortably fit everyone, taking into account spaces for the ceremony, reception, seating, dining, and dancing. Remember, venues often have capacity limits or minimum guest requirements, so make sure to check these details during your research.
  • Matching Venue to Theme and Style— Imagine the perfect wedding setting in your mind. Would you prefer a sophisticated, contemporary, rustic, or romantic ambience? The atmosphere of the location should complement your chosen theme and taste. Architecture, interior design, lighting, and outdoor areas are all important considerations when trying to achieve a certain mood. Be mindful of any venue-specific rules or regulations on style and decor to ensure it complements your vision.
  • Researching Wedding Venues— Do your homework on the several locations in the area that you're considering for your wedding. When planning for out site the city guests, think about things like location, parking and surrounding amenities. Gather information and reviews about each venue by utilizing online resources including wedding directories, venue listing websites and social media platforms.
  • Contacting Venues— Get in touch with the venues personally to enquire about their availability, prices, and any particular services they offer. Another option is to arrange for site visits so you can see the locations in person and decide if they are a good fit for your wedding.
  • Inquiring Venue Details— Ask about the venue's offered furniture, including tables, chairs, linens, and more. Get an overview on the menu items, the level of customization available, and any additional charges that may apply. Examine the outdoor spaces if you intend to have an outdoor wedding or celebration.

Being married is an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime event but it's normal to feel melancholy sometimes. You may share these “Wedding Memes” on Instagram with pals or save them to your camera roll to reduce the stress of wedding planning. They're sure to make you giggle.

magical wedding venue for outdoor wedding
magical wedding venue for outdoor wedding (Abby Jiu Photography)
A fairytale beginning on the floral wedding aisle
A fairytale beginning on the floral wedding aisle
Newbie wedding planning elegant outdoor ceremony
Newbie wedding planning elegant outdoor ceremony (tali__photography)
A Fall Wedding in the Heartwarming Ambiance of a Barn
A Fall Wedding in the Heartwarming Ambiance of a Barn (Sunnyside Farm)

Selecting a Wedding Dress

An important thing to think about while planning your newbie wedding is what you and your guests will wear. A few things to consider when selecting the dress code for the event, choosing an appropriate yet budget-friendly attire for yourself and everyone else and sending out invitations are as follows:

  • Choosing Your Wedding's Dress Code— Pick a dress code or degree of formality that suits you best for your wedding. This might be anything from a business suit to a more relaxed dress code. Thinking about the wedding's general theme, location, and time of day can help with this selection. The dress code is a great way to assist your guests feel comfortable and to establish the mood for the event.
  • Aligning Guest Attire with Wedding Formality— Make sure the dress code you pick is suitable for the occasion. If the wedding is more formal, guests should wear evening gowns or black tie. The dress code for a semi-formal event could be cocktail or dress casual. Mark “casual” if you'd want to keep things low-key.
  • Clarifying Dress Code on Invitations— Make sure that your wedding invites specify the dress code. Words like “Black Tie,” “Formal Attire,” “Semi-Formal,” and “Casual” are short and to the point when describing the required attire. Furthermore, you have the option to offer a few recommendations or examples to assist guests in understanding the suitable clothes. Say something like “suits and ties for men” or “cocktail dresses for women” to help your visitors decide what to wear.
  • Dress Requirements for Outdoor or Beach Weddings— Be sure to mention in your wedding invitation any particular dress requirements, such as those for an outdoor or the beach wedding, so that guests can arrive in comfortable shoes. Your guests will be more at ease and ready to celebrate your big day if you do this.
  • Coordinating Wedding Party Attire You should think about what every member of your wedding party, including the bride, groom, bridesmaid and groomsmen will wear. They should all wear something that goes in with the wedding's theme and dress code. Be specific about what you anticipate from them, and give them plenty of time to ask questions.
Stylish bridal gown newbies are a must when you are planning your big day
Stylish bridal gown newbies are a must when you are planning your big day (tali__photography)
Dressing yourself and bridesmaids affordably
Dressing yourself and bridesmaids affordably (Image Haus Photography)
Include attire guidelines for outdoor or the beach weddings in your invitation
Include attire guidelines for outdoor or the beach weddings in your invitation (ayeh.kphotography)
Stunning off the shoulder wedding dress
Stunning off the shoulder wedding dress (tali__photography)

Planning a Guest List

Making a guest list is not always an easy task. When choosing your wedding guest list, be careful to consider your relationship, the venue's capacity and your budget. This comprehensive guide can assist you in creating your guest list:

  1. Prioritizing Immediate Family— Starting with your parents, siblings and grandparents, make a list of everyone in your immediate family. You should then invite your closest friends—those without whom you could not imagine getting married—to the ceremony. These people are essential to have on your guest list.
  2. Including Extended Family and Close Family Friends— After that, make sure to add cousins, aunts, uncles and close acquaintances of the family to your list as well. Think about how each individual has affected you and how you feel about your relationship with them.
  3. Adding School Friends, Colleagues, and Acquaintances to Your Guest List Think about the people you've known throughout your life, from childhood to college and beyond, including your coworkers and pals from different ages. Check in with yourself to see how often you communicate and how strong your relationships are.
  4. Managing Parental Guest Requests Within Venue Limits— Find out whether your parents and future in-laws have any particular guests they would like to invite by consulting with them. Make sure the guest list stays within the specified capacity while taking their input into consideration.
  5. Considering Coworkers— Think about inviting coworkers or people you know in the business world. You can opt to invite only close coworkers or not invite them at all if you're short on space or just want a smaller, intimate wedding.
  6. Matching Guest List with Venue Capacity Check the capacity of the venue you've chosen with your preliminary guest list. Keep in mind that the location has certain constraints when it comes to seating, food, and any extra activities, so make sure that the number of guests can be accommodated without any issues. Modify the list if necessary, eliminating guests who might not be necessary or changing the amount of attendees from specific categories.
outdoor wedding venue with beautiful view
outdoor wedding venue with beautiful view (trendenvy)
budget friendly rustic wedding table seating arrangement
budget friendly rustic wedding table seating arrangement (darkmaito)
Wedding Guest List. 1

Wedding Decor

It takes a lot of preparation to choose wedding decorations that are lovely, coordinated and represent your tastes as a couple. If you're having trouble deciding on the right decorations for your wedding, these recommendations should assist.

  • Choosing Your Wedding Day Style What kind of vibe and theme are you both hoping for on your wedding day? Which style—casual, modern, romantic, bohemian, or classic—do you prefer? You may choose to have a more modern black-tie event in a contemporary museum, or you may settle on a conventional evening wedding ceremony with lots of candles, crystals, and flowers. Another significant factor is the season of your marriage. You could like to incorporate a motif that holds particular meaning for both of you throughout your wedding.
  • Selecting a color palette The next step is to choose on a color palette that reflects the mood and style you want. On our Pinterest board, you'll find an abundance of ideas for wedding color palettes. Visit our posts on wedding colors as well.
  • Decorating on a Budget Staying within your decorating budget is crucial. Here you may see how many decorations you can affordably include in your wedding without going overboard. If you want to avoid returns and other expensive blunders, you need to prepare ahead. When decorating for your wedding on a tight budget, choose out only a couple of focal points to really make an impression.
romantic and intimate garden wedding decor
romantic and intimate garden wedding decor (Sunnyside Farm)
budget friendly wedding decor with hanging installations
budget friendly wedding decor with hanging installations
elegant garden wedding ceremony setup
elegant garden wedding ceremony setup (We Are Origami)

Food and Beverages

Delicious food and beverages are a highlight of any wedding celebration. Prepare to tantalize your guests' taste buds with a culinary experience they won't forget.

Tips on Selecting your Wedding Reception Menu

Select the type of serving— Serving stations, substantial appetizers brought by wait staff, buffet, family style, and plated entrees are the five primary options. The available area and the level of formality of the event should be considered while choosing a style. Get in touch with the reception area in advance to find out which styles will be most suitable for their space and the servers they employ. Find out which ones are affordable as well.

Add your personal favorites—It's your wedding, so eat what you want and share with guests! Are there any unique foods you and your partner enjoy? While planning the menu for your wedding, keep your guests' tastes in mind. Is there a special cuisine that guests from out of town can only find at the location of the wedding? Serving this popular local meal would make people feel welcome in a new location. Ask the venue/caterer about their best-reviewed dishes and signature dishes.

Seasonal options— When planning your wedding, think about the season. Because they won't have to travel as far, wedding foods that are both local and in season are more affordable and taste better. Considering the season allows you to select choices that match with that particular time of year. Lighter fare like iced tea, lemonade, crisp salads, chicken, and fish are perfect for the warmer summer months. Winter calls for heartier fare, such thick soups, hot chocolate, and steak. One more thing to think about while planning the wedding's menu is how the dishes will go with the overall aesthetic.

Keep dietary restrictions and food allergies in mind—When hosting a dinner party, it is customary to offer guests two different plated dinners. Planning a menu with a wide range of options can ensure that all of your guests are satisfied, whether you're serving family style or hosting a buffet. Make sure the caterer provides options for guests with food sensitivities or allergies. If somebody has any food restrictions, it's great that you included a note in the invitation asking them to get in touch.

Share Your Love Story Through Your Wedding Menu— Everything about your wedding is unique, including the décor, color palette, and gown. Why then should the food served for the wedding be any different? The food you want to feed your guests will likely provide them a fascinating peek into your love story. If you and your significant other have travelled together, for instance, what better way to celebrate than by sharing the delicious cuisine you've tried throughout the journey? When you go out as a pair and enjoy trying out different places, you can feature a spin on your favorites from each establishment. Your wedding supper food selections would have more significance if they mirrored your shared movie night snacks, even if they were as simple as mac & cheese or ice cream.

festive wedding food truck
festive wedding food truck (Carats & Cake)
fall wedding rustic birch cake
fall wedding rustic birch cake (theirishbride)
wedding menu display table
wedding menu display table (Slate Catering Co.)
outdoor wedding food station
outdoor wedding food station (Rustic Wedding Chic)

Music and Entertainment

Selecting the right entertainment for your reception sets the tone for the entire evening. Hire a live band or DJ that plays music that you love so that your guests can't stop moving. While choosing music, keep in mind the guests' preferences.

Have a live band or DJ play your favorite music at your wedding
Have a live band or DJ play your favorite music at your wedding (Bespoke Live)

Hiring a Wedding Planner

Hiring a professional who can devote themselves entirely to making sure your wedding celebration is flawlessly executed, artistically conceived, and expertly organized from start to finish is an absolute must when you're planning your wedding. With the support of amazing wedding planners, your big day will be one that all your guests will never forget!

  • Know your wedding goals The first piece of advice is Knowing yourself and what you want from your wedding. Select a wedding planner that can fill up the gaps for you by having skills that are the opposite of your shortcomings.
  • Contact friends and family about the wedding planner— Reaching out to people you know is a great way to find a wedding planner. Start compiling a list after asking friends and family for recommendations. If you recently attended a wedding and thought it was beautiful, you could enquire as to who the planner was.
  • Quick Google search— To kick things off, you may perform a fast Google search or check out [the planner's] Instagram to see if they have planned any actual events that match your wedding theme.
  • Identify theme and style— If you have a specific idea for your wedding's theme and aesthetic, that should guide your decision-making. Verify again that the potential planner has planned weddings with the same style and aesthetic that you want.
  • Find the right wedding planner within your budget— It should go without saying that you have to make sure the perfect wedding planner fits into your budget. Prior to making a final choice, make sure that all the services you need for your wedding are on board.
  • Confirm a planner's services— You should confirm that a planner offers the services you need, even if they seem capable of creating your dream design. It's a good idea to keep lines of contact open by phone and email with your planner if you want to feel comfortable asking questions and getting answers before the big day.
  • Choose a wedding planner based on your needs— Before choosing a wedding planner, consider the specific services you need. Some offer all-inclusive packages, while others provide a la carte options. Decide if you need a day-of coordinator for a smooth wedding day, or a full-service planner to guide you through the entire process. Assess your schedule and needs – for instance, if work commitments limit your time for vendor communications, hiring someone to handle these tasks might be beneficial.

Why You Should Hire a Wedding Planner

  • A good wedding planner can handle the finances Saving money on your wedding is possible by spending wisely on suppliers. A skilled planner can help allocate your budget effectively, ensuring that every investment, even in small details, yields significant benefits.
  • A planner is a vital asset in executing your wedding vision— When it comes to seeing your wedding vision through from beginning to end, a planner is a lifesaver. They focus solely on your event, ensuring everything runs smoothly. Their insight is crucial, whether it's sticking to an outdoor ceremony despite rain or quickly adapting to unexpected changes, they're dedicated to making your day perfect.
  • Vendors would do well to work with the wedding planner— Instead of dealing directly with the happy couple or their parents, vendors would be better off coordinating with a wedding planner. As the wedding day draws near, they would prefer to annoy a planner with last-minute details than a worried couple.

Newbie Wedding Photography Must-Haves

Capturing the special moments of your big day is essential. Selecting a professional photographer capable of both formal and candid portraits is essential if you want to preserve the emotions and moments that will last a lifetime.

  • Make sure they match the theme of your wedding.
  • Photography can be done in a variety of ways. One cannot be judged by their style alone. Ultimately, it is all relative to your needs. For instance True to life, bright and airy, melancholic and dark, vibrant and colorful, and film.
  • Choose someone who's images you love and has a personality that you can connect with.
  • Read their reviews when you have time.
  • Share your expectations with the videographer or photographer.
  • Does the photographer you want to hire have experience with various lighting conditions? Ask to see more examples from your photographer if the lighting in your event will differ from what you see on their website so you can be confident they will be prepared.
  • What does each package include? Some photographers do not provide digital photographs. While some photographers insist on pre-ordering prints, others provide a print release that lets you choose your printer.
couple outdoor must have wedding photography
couple outdoor must have wedding photography
romantic first dance wedding photo
romantic first dance wedding photo (theirishbride)


This post dedicated to newbie wedding planning highlights the value of infusing traditions like cake cutting, vow exchanges, and the first dance into your ceremony. These moments, enriched with cultural or personal significance, make your celebration uniquely yours. While planning may feel daunting, the right tips and organization can lead to a day that surpasses your dreams. Keep communication clear with your partner, stay organized, and remember to savor the journey. Your wedding will beautifully mirror your love story, marking the start of a lifetime of memories.

Congratulations and happy planning on your upcoming wedding – may it be as unique and wonderful as your journey together!

About me


Seven years ago, I took a leap of faith and merged my organisational skills and love for all things wedding by starting this blog. Since then, it's been a whirlwind of sharing my insights, covering the latest trends, and offering practical how-tos, all aimed at simplifying your wedding experience.

Why weddings, you might ask?

Well, for me, weddings are more than just events; they are a tapestry of love stories, each unique and beautiful in its own way. With a blend of technical expertise and a keen eye for style, I bring a fresh perspective to the wedding scene, marrying (pun intended!) precision with creativity.

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