20 of our favorite wedding planning tips for a stress-free and magical celebration!

Planning a wedding can often feel like navigating a maze of decisions, timelines, and expectations. From choosing the perfect venue to creating a dreamy menu, there’s no shortage of details to consider. But don’t let the stress overshadow the joy. With the right tips and tricks, you can have a stress-free and magical celebration that will leave you and your loved ones with memories to cherish for a lifetime.

In this blog, we have compiled 20 essential wedding planning tips to help you stay organized, relaxed, and focused throughout the entire process. Whether you’re the one getting married, or a helpful friend or family member lending a hand, these tips will guide you through the maze and ensure a seamless and unforgettable wedding experience. From setting a realistic budget and creating a shot list to choosing the perfect vendors and personalizing your wedding day, we’ve got you covered. So sit back, relax, and get ready to transform your wedding planning journey into a stress-free adventure. Let’s make your big day everything you’ve ever dreamed of and more!

1. Savor Each Moment

You are only engaged for so long. So, as you are going through the wedding planning process and checking off tasks on your list, stop and give yourselves a high five and celebrate the little wins. This could be anything from completing your seating chart to selecting your menu options. Savor that moment. It’s such an exciting time!

20 essential wedding planning tips
Image by Once Like A Spark

2. What to do the week of your wedding

You’ve only got a few days before you say I do, so what exactly do you need to focus on? First, take time off of work if possible. If you can’t take off the entire week, then at least give yourself two days before the wedding. Second, you’ll want to organize and pack your personal items. This includes anything for an overnight stay or the morning of. Also, don’t forget to pack the personal items you need for your wedding. Such as your guest book, photos, favors, marriage license, cake topper, etc.

If you’d like to give your vendors gratuity, definitely make sure you are getting that together, prioritize self care, connect with your wedding party, get your ring cleaned so it’s nice a sparkly and spend some time with your fiancĂ©. After all this will be the last week you are engaged.

20 essential wedding planning tips
Image by Paradise Studios

3. Hold on to your first kiss

Number 3 from our list of 20 essential wedding planning tips is an important one! At your ceremony when the officiant pronounces you married, and you are going in for that first kiss, we want you to hold on to that kiss just long enough for two reasons. The first is so your officiant has the chance to step out of the way. It should just be the two of you up at that altar when you have your iconic first kiss. Second, you are going to want as many pictures as possible of that moment, so this will also give your photographers plenty time to get the best shot.

20 essential wedding planning tips
Image by Juju Photography

4. Try on your wedding attire

Put it all on! Your undergarments, your dress, shoes, veil, jacket, suits, tie, etc. Make sure you feel comfortable enough to walk, sit, dance, move and breath. When trying on your suit, check to see if it fits around your waste, around your shoulders, make sure your sleeves and pants are the right length. Does anything need to be altered? Because you want to leave plenty of time to get that fixed. On wedding day you should feel comfortable and confident in what you are wearing!

Image by Spark 11 Productions

5. Schedule a hair and makeup artist

This tip comes from one of our preferred hair and makeup vendors – Destiny and Light. Their tip is to schedule a hair and makeup trial. We suggest scheduling your appointment 3-6 months prior to your wedding day. This will give you plenty of time to make changes if need be. When you book your appointment ask your hair and makeup professionals how you can best prepare for the trial. Ask for the cost so you can be prepared with payment. Also, bring inspiration photos with you!

Image by Daylin Lavoy Photography

6. Decide what is most important

Is it the food, the dancing, the flowers, the photos? This will help when it comes to making decisions throughout your planning process. It’s easy to get caught up in what you think you have to do on your wedding day. But in reality, it’s up to you and your partner. It’s your day so spend your time and budget on what you think is important to you. Talk to your partner about your priorities and take the stress out of planning a wedding.

7. Make a shot list

What is a shot list? It is a checklist of all the photos that you want your photographer to capture on your wedding day. Your photographer should have a general checklist of the moments and details that they plan on capturing. However, it is still a good idea to map out those very specific pictures that you would like to see from your wedding day.

Image by Marialeja Photography

8. Set a budget

We get it, it’s not always fun to chat about wedding budgets. However, we truly believe that it will save you time and money in the long run if you take the time to figure out a rough estimate of what you want to spend on your wedding day. Setting a budget will give you a better idea of how many guests you can invite and which venues are in your price range. Don’t forget to do an honest research of what weddings cost in your area.

9. Assign tasks

There is a lot going on the day of your wedding. So use those around you to help take care of tasks! Remember your parents and wedding party members are all there to support you. Don’t forget to discuss these tasks with your Lead Coordinator so they can confirm who is taking what, when and where. Just another thing you don’t have to worry about on wedding day!

20 essential wedding planning tips
Image by Marialeja Photography

10. Tour your reception space

Number 10 on our list of 20 essential wedding planning tips is one we wish every couple would do regardless if you are getting married at Cross Creek Ranch or not. Schedule in 15 minutes on wedding day to tour your ceremony and reception space before any of your guests arrive. The space you have chosen has transformed to meet your exact design vision. For a while you have been planning all the details with your designer, you have hand selected every flower, votive and napkin color and on this day it is all finally coming together. Don’t miss out on the chance to see it without any guests blocking your view!

Image by Rad Red Creative

11. Take time off to plan

As much as your all-inclusive wedding venue or wedding planner are there to help guide you throughout the planning process, there are still some tasks that they just can’t do for you. Full transparency, in order to complete these tasks it may require you to take some time off or spend a weekday evening making decisions. Weekdays work best because the majority of your vendors are not available during the weekends as they are out making dreams come true at weddings!

20 essential wedding planning tips
Image by Lindsey Vander Wal Photography

12. Give your guests an enhanced experience

This can be done in a number of ways and in different price ranges. For your ceremony, you can do a live musician, like a harpist or violinist. You can do a champagne welcome when they arrive at the venue. A second line is a fun experience. It’s a New Orleans wedding tradition where your guests get to join you on your walk to the reception.

For cocktail hour, think games! Corn hole and giant jenga are easy to do. Signature cocktails is a great way to enhance your guests experience by giving them something fun to sip on. We have also seen puppy adoptions, so adorable! Lastly, you can use your guest book as a way to enhance the experience. We are loving the audio guestbooks lately.

For reception, there are lots of ideas. Whether you rent it or DIY, photo booths are always so fun! You can also have foam light sticks for dancing, cigar rollers, interactive escort cards or late night snacks. There are lots of ideas out there to enhance your guest experience and have them talking about your wedding day for years to come.

Image by Rad Red Creative

13. Put together a wedding website

We promise this is not as expensive or as complicated as it may seem. You can easily put together a website for free using sites such as The Knot, Minted or With Joy. Your website should include details about your wedding. This is also a great way to cut costs on invite inserts. Print your website URL or QR code directly on your invite so it’s easy for your guests to find. It’s cost effective and eco-friendly for those looking to reduce their carbon footprint!

Websites can be customized to match your invitation and your overall theme of your wedding, giving your guests a sneak peek of the vibe for your special day.

20 essential wedding planning tips
Image by Love and Covenant

14. Make a playlist for your DJ

When the time comes for you to have your meeting with your DJ, make sure you are prepared with your song selections for your ceremony, cocktail hour and reception events.

For your ceremony, chose 2-3 songs at most for your processional and 1 song for your recessional. For cocktail hour, it might be easier to pick a genre of music instead of specific songs.

For your reception there are specific events that will require a song selection based off of your vibe. These events include your reception introductions, first dances, cake cutting, bouquet + garter toss and the last dance. For the dancing portion of the night, it’s ok to give your DJ a genre to stick to if you are open to them picking out the songs. It’s even better to give specific songs selections that you know for a fact that your guests will like.

Of course, your DJ’s are song picking gurus so definitely lean on them for suggestions if you just don’t know what to choose.

Image by A Stewart Photo and Video

15. Don’t follow the norm

Just because social media and the trends are telling you what you should be doing for your wedding, does not mean you always have to. For example, if you don’t want to pay for a large, heavy bouquet, you can opt for a smaller arrangement that is easier to hold and will still look gorgeous in pictures. You can opt out of giving favors, you can have your guests chose to dress using a specific color palette that matches your wedding aesthetic or host a themed wedding! As long as your celebration reflects your personal style and what you want to see on your special day.

20 essential wedding planning tips
Image by Rad Red Creative

16. Make sure your wedding party and family are aware of your timeline

If you have family members that are going to be a part of your pre-ceremony photos or if they are taking part in your processional, make sure they know exactly what time they need to be at the venue. This also goes for your wedding party. We highly suggest giving everyone a copy of your wedding day timeline. Let them know if they should arrive dressed in their wedding attire. Lastly, remind everyone to check traffic so they can plan transportation time accordingly.

Image by Kelcie Corbin Photography

17. Wedding dress bustle

What is a bustle? It is a way to pin, tie or secure all the fabric, also known as your train, off the ground to the back of your dress. The idea here is that your dress can then act as if it has no train making it easy to dance and move around. Your seamstress will be the one to insert a bustle into your dress as they usually do not come pre-bustled. They will need to measure how high to place the bustle. So when you go in for your alterations, make sure you bring your reception shoes with you if they are different from your ceremony shoes.

Have your mom, maid of honor, bridesmaid, or whoever you feel you can trust, go in for your final fitting to learn the bustling process. Take a video just in case you forget how to bustle come wedding day. It happens 🙂

Image by Love and Covenant

18. Put together a seating chart

Out of all 20 essential wedding planning tips, don’t skip this part! We get it, it can seem overwhelming putting together a seating chart and can be a tedious task. However, it is a necessary one if you want your wedding day to go as seamless as possible. Unless you are doing a plated meal or gifting personalized favors, you can just assign your guests a table instead of specific seats.

You want your guests to feel like you have taken them into consideration and that they have a designated place to sit. We suggest organizing your seating chart based on the first initial of your guests’ last name. This is the easiest way for each guest to find their table.

Image by Love and Covenant

19. Do one thing to personalize your wedding

This is so easy to do and can be done on any budget. We’ve got some great ideas for you:

  • Signature cocktails
  • Display your engagement photos
  • Incorporate cultural elements into your ceremony or in your decor at your reception
  • Serve up your favorite food
  • Put your name on display using signage
  • Print family photos and either have a memorial table or photos of your parents from their wedding day
  • Give a favor that is meaningful and unique to your relationship
Image by Juju Photography

20. Don’t forget the reason why you are planning this wedding

It’s great to take your guests into consideration when planning your wedding. However, your guests are not the reason why you are getting married. As you go through the planning process, making decisions along the way, working through some of those more tedious tasks, remember the reason why you are hosting a wedding in the first place. You are getting married to the love of your life! This is huge! You are taking this next step in life with your most favorite person in the world. When it’s all said and done, this is the most important thing that will come out of your wedding day.

Follow our Instagram, Facebook or Tik Tok account to watch as we walk you through these 20 essential wedding planning tips in more depth! Contact us for more information regarding our Carriage House Stable, The Oak Hall and French Country Inn Weddings. Call or text us at 813.651.0934 or email us at info@crosscreekranchfl.com.

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