Navigating The Wedding Planning Journey


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You’ve just gotten engaged. Congratulations!

There are special engagement celebrations to enjoy and a wedding to plan! It’s an exciting time.

But, there are also so many details, decisions, and choices to make. So, it can also be a very overwhelming time.

Sure, you have a vision (and a million and one Pinterest boards) of how you’d like this day to go, but the reality is, you really aren’t sure where to start this planning journey.

And even more… what to expect once you do.


Planning: Julian Leaver Events || Photography: Perez Weddings || Venue: Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek

The Wedding Planning Curve

You’ve heard the term learning curve before. But in case you need a refresh:

Wikipedia defines the learning curve as the relationship between how proficient someone is at a task and the amount of experience they have at it.

To sum it up… the more you perform a task the better you get at it.

And let’s be honest, you’ve most likely never planned your dream wedding before. So the learning curve can feel steep. But, that’s okay!

In my 15+ years navigating this journey with my couples, I’ve overcome the learning curve 10x over. And I know exactly what needs to happen, and when, for you to make it down the aisle with a smile on your face.

I’ve put together a small road map of what to expect on your wedding planning journey ahead!

Because as a professional wedding planner, and an Eagle Scout, there’s two things I know for sure:

  1. If you know what to expect you can better prepare.

  2. The better prepared you are for the journey, the more fun it will be along the way.

So, let’s get started, shall we? 


Feeling Lost? Ask For Help.

Planning your wedding should feel joyful and exciting. So before you begin, always remember that if at any time you’re feeling lost or bogged down, you can ask for help.

Reach out to the people in your life who love and support you. Seek out their advice and encouragement. They may have walked this path before you, and you’d be surprised at how willing and ready others are to trek up this mountain with you {or at least point you in the right direction to get there.}

And if you’re feeling completely overwhelmed (or quite frankly need someone to keep you sane) then hire a professional to guide you. Great weddings come from dreaming intentionally with the help of a trusted guide. And as a wedding planner, there’s nothing I love more than seeing through the chaotic fog and guiding my clients through.

Ready to skip over the roadmap and simply let me guide you through it? Head on over to my inbox, and let’s chat!




Up The Mountain: Where to Begin?

Planning a wedding can certainly feel like a larger than life feat. And the beginning of this process will feel much like you’re standing at the base of a mountain, looking up towards a very long trek to the summit.

So, where do you begin?

First I suggest starting with a little exploration. People rarely allow themselves enough time and space to dream—especially people who are planning a wedding. Instead of dreaming, couples get lost in worry, which can lead to premature decision-making. So take the time to dream about the journey and what you want the end to look like.

Then you can begin to take the steps toward making that dream a reality. (Check out my blog post 5 Things Great Weddings Get Right, for more on this.)

So, what next?

Well, once you have a solid vision in place, you’ll begin the process of selecting the vendors best equipped to bring it to life. So while keeping your budget, guest count, and personal desires in mind, you’ll start with what I like to call, your Fab Five.

  • Wedding coordination

  • Venue

  • Entertainment

  • Photographer

  • Videographer

These are your top five most important vendors, and the vendors who are most likely going to book up quickly. By putting the thought and intention into these decisions now, you’ll set yourself up for a successful journey ahead.

All in all, this first leg of the journey will feel pretty challenging.

You’ll probably feel like you have a million appointments, emails, phone calls, and decisions to make. And the truth is – you do. There are a little over 3,000 micro-decisions to get to the finished product.

But remember, a beautiful wedding is a foregone conclusion if you make good decisions along the way.


The Peaceful Valley: A Resting Place 

You’ve set foot on top of that mountain! And now that a lot of those big decisions are behind you, you have this welcome period of time where things are actually calm and you can rest.

In fact, it will be so calm, that you may even feel like you’re not doing anything at all. You’re simply answering small questions and making small decisions.

Revel in it. Welcome it.

(Because another mountain climb is on the horizon, friend.)

During this time, be sure and:

  • Plan a date night and spend some quality time with your fiancé.

  • Shop for your new house.

  • Stimulate your mind creatively with things that don’t directly involve the wedding.

  • Work out. Or go for a walk. And be sure to take care of yourself.

Take a breath and just enjoy being engaged before things get crazy again.


The Roadblocks Along The Way: Love + Life Goes On

Your wedding planning journey may be further challenged by a move or a job change. Or maybe you purchase a house, or you get a dog.

Point is:  Yes, you’re planning your dream wedding. But in the midst of it all, life is still happening around you. And, as life sometimes does, it’s going to present roadblocks along the way.

Whatever the roadblock is, feel free to assess your situation, and slow down or accelerate the planning process (depending on what life brings your way.)



The Last Leg of The Journey

It’s time to start the climb out of the valley.

Because while most of the details are coming together, and a lot of the hard work is DONE, the finishing touches are just beginning.

The last two weeks before your wedding will be filled with new challenges and new decisions to make. It will go by quickly and will almost feel like a sprint to the finish. But, just like your first climb up the mountain, you’ll feel like you’re doing a million different things, and it can be overwhelming all over again.

You’ll start to finalize your guest count, update your layout, refine your timeline. There will be calls to family members, RSVP capture, and the final changes to all of your details.

And then once it’s all done… total and complete calm.

All of the decisions are made. All of the checklists are completed.

Your focus will turn directly to your fiance. And, you’ll know all the intentionality, the planning and the hard work of the climb was all worth it.

The two of you will walk the last steps of this journey toward the aisle, together.

The Journey is complete.


The Journey In Action: Kasey and Nash

One of Kaseys’ biggest concerns when she started planning her “Elegant Garden” wedding was being able to bring the vision in her mind to life. She felt as if she didn’t have the creative skills to exceed her Pinterest-like vision. And she was aware of the details, decisions, and choices that were ahead of her, and how overwhelming it could get.

Rather than taking on this challenge alone, she hired me to help guide them through it.

Understandably, her first challenge was trust. Could she trust that she was being led in the right direction and that her guide was going to do the things he said he would do?

After hearing about me through referrals and word of mouth, I met up with Kasey and her mom for coffee. At that first meeting, I took them by the hand (metaphorically) and walked them through the process. But more importantly, I listened to understand her vision and her dream.

I wanted her to feel at ease and less stressed right away.


Part of Kasey’s vision involved a tent as her venue. Unlike a ballroom or traditional venue, she was unable to truly envision the space and had to imagine it in her mind. By not having a clear picture of the final destination, she had to trust and rely on me as her guide, to ensure her that we were taking the right steps and making the right choices.

As we continued, the inevitable roadblocks came her way. Kasey started a new job and purchased a new house in the midst of wedding planning. It became a stressful time for her, but because of the foundation we had built throughout our time together, she was able to assess things and ask me where we could hit pause and slow down.

Ultimately, since we had made good decisions along the way and because we had a solid plan formed, this rest period didn’t create any issues or problems for her.


I was able to help Kasey sort through ideas and decisions. I kept things on track and organized for her. And, with warmth, laughter and kindness I made sure she actually enjoyed the journey.


Kasey’s vision came to life and she felt the least amount of stress on the wedding day. Because we had already walked up the mountain and put in the hard work to ensure it all came together just how she imagined. And she fully trusted that as her guide, I was by her side to the very end.


The journey with Kasey to get to their day was lovely. And their elegant garden wedding day was even lovelier.


Thanks for reading, friend.

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