So you’re engaged now!   First of all, we want to say CONGRATULATIONS to you both!   By now, you’ve likely shared the exciting news with your family and friends, and celebrated with an awesome engagement party.  But now, it is time to start planning the wedding.   For many brides, starting the wedding planning process can be quickly overwhelming because they don’t know where exactly to start.   So if you are a recently engaged bride who is feeling a little overwhelmed in getting started with the planning process, A Daydream Wedding is here to help you get your planning started on the right foot!

1.  Budget:  The first step in the planning process should be setting your wedding budget.   This can be a very difficult task for a newly engaged bride since you’ve never planned a wedding before and don’t really know how much things cost.   Luckily, we are experienced wedding planners who can give you some insight in this areas.   In 2018, the average cost of a wedding in Sacramento county was $24,723.    This figure is based on a guest count of approximately 150 guests.    Knowing those figures will help you to decide on an overall budget and what will be possible for your wedding.  Next, you will need to decide how to allocate the funds from your overall budget into the different wedding expenses you will incur, such as venues, entertainment, photo/video, attire, rings, food/drink, invitations, decor, etc.   Typically, your reception will take about 50% of your overall budget (includes venue, food, and drink) and you will spend the remaining 50% for all the categories.    If you need assistance in creating a realistic budget, or would like an experienced wedding professional to evaluate your current budget, give us a call or email, and we’d be happy to help you with that.   

2.  Venue(s):  The next step after creating your budget should be finding your ceremony and reception venues.   Some brides choose locations that can accommodate both.  However, it is common and reasonable to have different venues for the ceremony and reception.  When picking your venue, you will need to keep your budget and the number of people you are looking to invite in mind.   Also, it is a good idea to go into this step having an ideal wedding date and an alternate wedding date in mind.   And once the venue is booked, your wedding date will be set and will drive the majority of the decisions during the wedding planning process.   

3.  Vendors.   Once you have your budget set, and your wedding date and venue(s) picked out, you’ll want to start researching and booking vendors as soon as possible.   Most weddings will have a photographer, florist, officiant, band/dj, caterer, and bartender.  Keep in mind some types of vendors (ie. planners, photographers, entertainment, caterers) fill up spots for weddings a year (or even two years) in advance!  We know it is very time consuming to research and interview vendors, so A Daydream Wedding offers a  a list of vendors that we love working with, as well as a guide to interviewing vendors, which comes with all of our wedding planning packages to save you hours of precious time.

4.   Pick your wedding party!   Your bridesmaids and groomsmen will be a large part of the planning process and will need to be kept updated. They will need to know if there will be events to attend like bridal showers, bachelor and/or bachelorette parties, etc.   They will also need to know what kind of attire they need to purchase or rent, and have enough time to save up for the expenses.   Once you pick who will be in the wedding party, it is a nice gesture to present them with a small gift to express your appreciation.

5.  Attire:  Go wedding gown tuxedo shopping. It’s always better to get these nailed down quickly so that there is plenty of time to get measured and have them altered if neccessary. If you’re getting married in the spring or early summer, it’s good to consider that local high schools will be having their proms and you’ll want to get in before they do!

6.  Create a wedding registry! You’ll be inviting people not only to your wedding, but also to the bridal shower, and guests will need to know what gifts you want and need. This can be a tedious task and take much of your time to sit down and pick all the things you need. We think it’s best to get this out of the way. 

Registry Tip #1:  Many stores these days allow you to create a registry online, such as Target, Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Macy’s, and MyRegistry.

Registry Tip #2:  If you are an older couple and already own the typical registry items such as a blender, knives set, pots/pans set, you can register for activities on your honeymoon.   Check out Honeyfund if you think this sounds like a cool idea.

 7.  Engagement Photos: We suggest getting this out of the way early on so that your photographer can have time to process, edit, and get your photos back to you.    These days many couples chose to use their engagement photos in their Save-The-Dates or wedding invitations, which make them personalized keepsakes for your family/friends.   Another cool way to use your engagement photos is to frame your favorite photo and have your wedding guests sign the matting around the photo.  This is a creative alternative to the traditional guest book.

8.  Wedding Invitations:  Start working on those invitations! This is another tedious task that can take a lot of time to do. You’ll need to finalize your guest list, find addresses for each person, and start designing your invitations! We suggest getting them mailed out (don’t forget the cost of postage!) 6-8 weeks before the wedding.  If you are getting married during a popular time of year, or at a destination location, you should also consider sending sending Save-The-Date cards out 7 to 9 months before the wedding. This allows for people to save the date ahead of time while they wait expectantly for a more detailed invite later on.  Some of our favorite places to design and purchase wedding invitations are Minted, Basic Invite, Purple Trail, and Greenvelope.  

Of course, the checklist continues on, with much more tasks to complete and details to think about. But this should get you started on a good path for the beginning, when things feel kind of crazy and you don’t know where to start.

We hope that this helps you to get started on the right foot.   But if you find you are overwhelmed, don’t have enough time, or just aren’t good with details, we offer planning packages where we guide you through the planning process, making it fun and easy, and giving you more time to enjoy your engagement.  So if that sounds like something you would be interested in, or something you need,  we would love to hear from you!  You can reach A Daydream Wedding by text/phone at 916-320-5080 or  by email at  If you would like to get more info on our planning packages, click here.