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How to Start Planning Your Wedding

So you’re engaged! Hell, yes, that is amazing congrats on finding your person! Now how do you start planning your wedding?

Rocky Mountain National Park Wedding Photography by Josie V

Wedding planning can be overwhelming at first! There are so many different options in details, vendors, venues, dresses, suits all of the things. What will your ceremony involve, who will be in your wedding party? All of these questions come up when you are starting to plan your wedding.

Here are a few things I have learned over my years in the wedding industry. You’ll discover what the best first steps are in starting to plan your dream wedding. And where you can begin to explore the vendors who can help you bring your dream to fruition.

Grand Lake Colorado wedding photography by Josie V


First things first: Where and when do you want to get married?

Okay well actually backtrack a little, who do you want to be at your wedding? Before you can find a venue, you’ll need to create a preliminary guest list to start to see what capacity you will need. This list doesn’t have to be super concrete; you’re not sending out the invitations just yet! But having a general guideline of how many people each person will want to invite is super helpful. This list can also give you an idea of how many people may be traveling, and you can start to think about how you can help their arrangements come together.

Once you have your list, you can start to ask yourself questions about what type of venue best suits your wants. Do you want to be surrounded by mountains? Maybe you’re more a city couple, or perhaps you want a luxurious hotel? Or a rustic barn out among rolling hills? Or is there a place that is so meaningful to you both that you just know you need to say your vows there? Your venue ideas can start to take shape from just asking yourselves a series of questions.

Summer Colorado Wedding Venue by Josie V

Lyons Farmette Wedding by Josie V

Where to start your search:

If you are still lost and not leaning one way or another, maybe begin to think about what matches your style the best. You learn about how to find your wedding style here. Once you have a general idea of what type of venue you’re looking for, you can start searching! I know in the age of the internet, there are endless ways to find businesses online. As always, Pinterest, the Knot, and other search engines can help you discover local venues. If you are in Colorado, there are some great vendor resources found on Rocky Mountain Bride, as well as, Couture Colorado. There are usually local wedding vendor directories and blogs that showcase different weddings. You can discover what appeals to your heart.

Venues are the first thing to book! Unless you have a specific date in mind, I would choose a few options when looking for a venue. That way, you can be flexible if the site you’ve settled on is booked. If you are genuinely unsure of what venue would work best for you, then skip to the next step!

How to start planning your Colorado Wedding by Josie V

Couple walks down the aisle together at their summer Colorado Wedding by Josie V photography

Ceremony set up at a Breckenridge Wedding Venue

Next on the list: Planners + Photographers!

Why you need a wedding planner:

So you have your dream venue in mind, or maybe you’re still unsure, a wedding planner is instrumental in helping you solidify the place, and start on planning the rest of your day! Please please get a wedding planner! They are the best at what they do, and they do it for a reason. Wedding Planners can help you discover how to start planning your wedding, but they also will help you see the vision through to the end. Planners make sure that everything runs smoothly and that all of your other vendors work in perfect coordination. If you still have not found a venue, they can help point you toward one that works for your budget and your dreams!

Because wedding planners know and work with so many other wedding vendors, they are the perfect next step in planning your day. (and they can give you much more detailed steps to take after this blog post!) You can find wedding planners the same way you find venues, but I recommend asking around to your other friends and family to see if they can give you recommendations. You want your wedding planner to click with your personality, especially since they will be with you throughout the day!

Highlands Ranch Mansion, Colorado Wedding Venue by Josie V


Speaking of something with you throughout the day, a wedding photographer will be with you all day long! Keep in mind that this person will be with you for all of the special moments, so you want to make sure that you select a photographer that fits your vibe. Since many wedding photographers are small businesses with usually one lead photographer, they will book up quickly. There is nothing worse than finding your dream photographer and being unable to book them because someone else got them first!

When searching for a wedding photographer, check out their blogs, ask to see a full wedding gallery, dive into their work to make sure that it speaks to you! Wedding photographers each have a unique style, find who you are consistently drawn to, and go with that photographer. Look for consistency throughout the wedding day, and make sure they have some photos of the reception and dancing!

Lesbian beach wedding photography by Josie V

Get to it!

In summary, those are the first steps for how to start wedding planning! Create a guest list, look for venues, planners, and photographers, begin with the big stuff, and then get into the details of the day! All of these first few things are also most likely going to take up a big chunk of your budget, so it will help with budgeting the rest of the day. Lots of venues also offer only their food and beverage, or have a food and beverage minimum so that you can roll right from venue scouting to meal planning! The wedding industry is a community, and we love to work with one another, always ask for recommendations if you are unsure.

Best of luck planning your dream wedding! And when you need a wedding photographer get in touch!

**Don’t forget that your dress will also need to be ordered 6-9 months before your day, so once you know the vibe of your day, head out to shop! (like you have to be told!)

How to start planning your wedding by Josie V



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