At long last, you and the person of your dreams feel ready to make a serious commitment to each other: you’ve gotten engaged. So, what’s next? Your wedding!

Weddings are one of life’s most magical, special days, but wedding planning takes a lot of time and effort. It may feel like you have countless decisions ahead of you, from the invitations to the cake.

If you’re ready for wedding planning but aren’t sure how to begin, this guide could help you take the first few steps toward the rest of your life.

Set a budget

In Canada, the average wedding costs around $29,500 CA. However, depending on your unique circumstances and desires for that important day, you may spend thousands less or thousands more.

The first step to planning your wedding is establishing a realistic budget, including factors like the venue, catering, decorations, music, and more. If you’re unsure where to begin, you could ask loved ones who have had weddings to discuss the costs or look online for sample budgets.

You and your partner should also determine how you’ll pay for the wedding. Consider the following questions. Are you expecting help from parents or other family members? What’s your wedding savings goal? Will you try to find an installment loan in Canada? While it isn’t the most romantic conversation, a frank financial discussion could help you avoid tension as you begin making decisions.

Establish priorities

You and your future spouse may each have a wide range of ideas for your wedding day. As you transform your ideas into definitive plans, you should understand both of your priorities.

Try making a complete list of everything you want for your wedding day, from music to food and beyond. From there, identify the items you couldn’t imagine getting married without. Wedding planning may come with compromises, but setting expectations and boundaries in advance could help you retain all the essential elements.

Decide on a wedding size

The number of people invited to your wedding has a major impact on your planning. Before building your guest list, consider your and your partner’s ideal day. You might want an intimate affair with just your immediate family or closest friends. Or maybe you hope to throw the party of the year with hundreds of loved ones from all aspects of your lives.

When you’re further along in the planning process, you should settle on an exact number and specific guests, but a general idea of your wedding’s size will help you make choices about the venue, catering, and more.

Consider the time of year

The season could shape many aspects of your special day. Do you imagine exchanging vows outside, under a canopy of red and orange leaves, or maybe in a cozy chapel as snow falls quietly outside? You may opt for bright floral arrangements at a spring wedding, while winter lends itself to darker palettes.

The time of year could also influence your budget. Summer and autumn weddings are the most popular, so venues and vendors may charge more during those seasons. Winter weddings, on the other hand, may come with more financial flexibility.

Choose a venue and date

Once you’ve developed a clear vision for your special day, you have a foundation for the rest of your planning, like the location. Wedding venues could fill up over a year in advance, so it’s best to begin looking as soon as possible.

Your venue is central to your wedding, so it should fit your style and meets all your needs. Touring several potential sites could help you feel confident in your pick. Having some flexibility around dates within your preferred month or season could also make it easier to book a venue.

Once you have your venue and date set, you can begin working with vendors and nailing down the details like food, music, and decoration.

Final thoughts

At times, planning a wedding may feel overwhelming. Ultimately, however, it’s about celebrating the start of a beautiful new chapter with the person you love.

It’s helpful to set expectations and take the planning process one step at a time, but don’t forget to enjoy your special day and create lasting memories.

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