Bride and groom smiling at each other at their wedding venue, taken by Texas wedding photographer Nikk Nguyen

How to Start Planning a Wedding: 10 First Steps

So you want to start planning a wedding but have no idea where to begin. Let me tell you all about the first steps you’ll take when you start planning the wedding of your dreams! In this article, I’ll let you in on the first ten steps to get you started. So let’s not waste any time and just get right into it!

How to Start Planning a Wedding: 10 First Steps

In 10 easy steps, you’ll be well on your way to planning an incredible wedding. So here are the 10 steps to start planning a wedding. 

Step 1: Conceptualizing The Vision

You’ve likely had an idea of what your wedding would look like long before you were even asked to walk down the aisle. When you start planning a wedding, there’s no limit to what’s possible. So don’t hold yourself to any preconceived notions of what can and can’t be done.  

Bride and groom sharing an embrace as they pose in front of a Victorian-inspired shed, taken by Nikk Nguyen Photo

The first thing you want to start doing is considering themes and color schemes for your wedding. There are so many options available so just start generalizing for now. Think about which options you like first; we can dwindle it down later.

Step 2: What Is Important To You & Your Wedding?

The next step when you start planning a wedding is to start making some tough decisions. You’ve got general ideas of what you want, and now it’s time to figure out what makes the most sense. You should include varying voices in this decision to ensure you’ve received honest feedback. A fresh set of eyes can help you make necessary cuts to your comprehensive list of potential options. 

How to Start Planning a Wedding: 10 First Steps: Bride and groom smiling as they hold their glasses during a fountain fireworks display

It’s also a moment to start deciding on some other details. For example, buffet or three-course meal? Live music or DJ? Valet? Indoor or outdoor? These are just a handful of decisions you’ll be faced with. Some of these options will be determined by the venue, but at this stage you are just setting your absolute non-negotiables.

Step 3: Setting a Reasonable Budget

This can be the most stressful process when you start planning a wedding. Budgets can be strenuous and difficult to truly figure out. Finally, you’ve made critical decisions on the theme, color scheme, and a laundry list of other variations you might need for your wedding. Now it’s time to put price tags on all of these different elements of your wedding. They don’t have to be accurate, just general ideas of what you’re willing to spend on these items and services. 

You might find when you’re in the thick of planning the wedding, you may need to adjust the budget. For example, you might need to spend a bit more or less on something you’d budget differently for initially. 

Step 4: Forming The Wedding Party

Okay, now let’s have a little fun! You’ve already made incredible progress in the steps to start planning a wedding. So now, let’s start with the wedding party! You and your partner are going to ask your nearest and dearest to be involved in the big day as much more than just another guest. We’re talking about bridesmaids, groomsmen, and all the other essential people needed to pull off the big day. 

Bride and groom sharing a kiss as their entourage raises their hands, shot by modern wedding photographer Nikk Nguyen

How you approach these pivotal people and moments of asking them is entirely up to you. It can be in person, via a letter, special symbolic items, or whatever you like.

Step 5: Drafting a Guest List

This might be a mind-numbing aspect when you start planning a wedding. Drafting a guest list and picking who can come to the wedding will take up a lot of your time. It’s also a list that’s going to change over time. As difficult as this step might be, it’s essential when it comes time to consider venues. You need to know what you’re dealing with so you can adequately accommodate all the guests on your list. 

How to Start Planning a Wedding: 10 First Steps: Bride and groom sharing a toast with their wedding guests.

You and your partner will need to sit down and start figuring out the guest list together. Start with family, then friends, and work your way out. Next, turn to social media and review your friend lists to see if there’s anyone you’ve potentially forgotten about. This is the time to decide if you want to include plus-ones in your overall guest list.

Step 6: Potential Dates

When do you want to have your wedding? Sometimes your date might be determined by the availability of your chosen venue, but most of the time, it’s up to you.

Bride reads her vows with her veil swaying in the wind, with the groom in front of her and bridesmaids behind her, taken by Austin wedding photographer Nikk Nguyen

So consider the best time of year for your wedding. Also, make sure you’ve got a series of backup dates. This is to prepare for venues not being available on your chosen date.

Step 7: Potential Venues

Okay, on your journey to start planning a wedding, you’ve nailed down two important factors that go into venue decisions: guest list and dates. Now start searching for a venue that fits your vision and meets the requirements of your wedding.

Start with local venues and fan outward. Look for what each venue offers and make a decision based not only on the look of the venue but the quality of the packages they’ve got on offer.

Step 8: Potential Vendors

Once the venue is on lockdown, you can head onto the next step of planning your wedding: vendors. Check out all the potential vendors in your area or the area of the venue, and start reviewing their websites, socials, reviews, and recommendations.

Your venue will likely have a list of recommendations, so it’s worth checking that out. Once you’ve considered some of the vendors and have short lists, start checking their availability and figure out which vendor is perfect for you for the various needs of your wedding. You will be looking for catering, photography, entertainment, hair and makeup, a wedding cake, etc.  

Step 9: Wedding Dress

This might seem like a weird step when we’re talking about how to start planning a wedding. However, wedding dresses should be purchased anywhere from 6-9 months before the wedding to allow for fittings, ordering, and alterations.

So, this is a step you’ll need to get on immediately. First, look for inspiration for what you want on sites like Pinterest or magazines. Finally, you’ll head to some boutiques and find the dress of your dreams. 

Step 10: Where To Honeymoon

It’s never too early to think about the honeymoon. Once all the dates are solidified, you can comfortably start looking into the best honeymoon destinations.

How to Start Planning a Wedding: 10 First Steps: Wedding guests lounging at the swimming pool.

Then, if you find a great deal, you can make it official and book that trip. But, of course, when you start planning a wedding, you shouldn’t forget about the immediate aftermath of the wedding, which is a romantic trip for the newlyweds. 


Planning a wedding is a process that can’t be achieved in 10 steps. There’s so much to do and so many little decisions attached to every significant decision you’ll be making. So enjoy the process of planning your wedding and make it unique in whatever capacity you possibly can. 

Suppose you’re getting married in beautiful Austin, Texas. In that case, you should consider getting a photographer who knows the area well and is excellent at taking photos. My name is Nikk Nguyen, and I’ve been photographing happy couples for years in Austin! So if you want someone who knows what they’re doing, let’s chat.


Collage of photos of couple during their wedding shoot with Nikk Nguyen; image overlaid with text that reads How to Start Planning a Wedding 10 First Steps
Bride and groom smiling at each other as they pose in front of their wedding venue; image overlaid with text that reads How to Start Planning a Wedding 10 First Steps

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