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The Ultimate Wedding Planning Guide

You found the love of your life, you got engaged, you celebrated with friends and family — now what? Planning a wedding can be overwhelming, with seemingly endless tasks to do and decisions to make. But with our 8-step wedding planning guide, it really is possible to enjoy your engagement while also planning a memorable wedding weekend.

Browse through event photos. Then browse some more. The only way to learn what you want for your own wedding is to get inspiration from beautiful events that have already happened. Start by looking through our curated photos section in the areas of design and style (we believe rustic chic is here to stay), color palette (neutrals vs. bold and bright), and unexpected elements (arching centerpieces are a favorite trend).

Photographer: LuvRox Photography | Venue: The Breakers Palm Beach | Event Planner: YSD Events | Design: The Special Event Resource and Design Group

Once you have a target date, know the size of your guest list, and have gathered inspiration for your wedding, you’re ready to find a venue. Classic brides and grooms might choose a luxury hotel ballroom in the heart of a city, while loft spaces and warehouses offer couples more of a blank canvas for design flexibility. For those couples who are lucky enough to live in a temperate climate, take full advantage. Vineyards, courtyards, rooftops, and gardens are a few of our favorite wedding venue types. Use our filters to sort by location, amenities, type of venue, and more. No matter what type of venue you choose, remember that many of the best venues book up months — if not years — in advance.

Photographer: Beautiful Day Photography | Venue: Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills | Event Planner: Linda Howard Events | Floral: Marks Garden

While some brides and grooms choose to plan their own weddings, we recommend turning to a professional. Wedding planners infuse each couple’s personality into their wedding celebration, coordinate every last detail, and PartySlate features some event planners who even specialize in creative design. Arguably one of the biggest reasons to hire an event planner is so that they can absorb any stress on your big day, so you can worry less and celebrate more. 

Photographer: Salwa Photography | Venue: Mandarin Oriental, New York | Décor: Atlas Floral Decorators | Event Planner: Sonal J. Shah Event Consultants 

You’ll want to remember your special day long after the last champagne toast, so choose a talented wedding photographer with an artistic style you love. If candid shots are most important to you, or you prefer family portraits, find a photographer with an approach to match. And make sure to create a list of group shots you want on the day of the wedding, then share that list with your photography team.

Photographer: Gruber Photographers | Venue: The William Vale | Event Planner: NYLUX Events | Décor: Carlos Rivas Design & Production

We love a wedding that infuses the couple’s personality into their celebration, and one of the best ways to do that is through the event décor. Browse our curated photos section, then hire a floral designer, décor team, or creative director who can help you choose a color palette and identify your style. Both will help guide the selection of floral arrangements, centerpieces, draping, lighting, and more.

Photographer & Videographer: Ann & Kam Photography & Cinema | Venue: Cafe Brauer at Lincoln Park Zoo | Wedding Planner: LOLA Event Productions | Décor: Kehoe Designs

Food and drink are two elements that can help define your wedding celebration. When planning your menu, the options are truly endless: elegant small plate stations, family-style meals, chic plated dinners, and lively food trucks are just a few ways to feed hungry guests. And don’t forget about the bar. Custom cocktails are a way to infuse more personality into your celebration, but as long as your guests have a cocktail in hand, they’ll be ready to “cheers!” to your wedded bliss.

Photographer: Brian Dorsey Studios | Caterer: Elegant Affairs Caterers | Planner: Elegant Occasions by JoAnn Gregoli | Florals: Ed Libby & Company

An incredible wedding band or DJ keeps the dance floor packed and the celebration going all night long. First decide which type of entertainment you want, then get started on your must-play list of songs. And don’t underestimate the power of alternative entertainment: your wedding guests will be wowed by dueling piano players or a surprise celebrity performer.

Photographer: Peter Wynn Thompson Photography | Venue: The Vineyard at 12 Corners | Event Planner: Joyce Pollakoff Events | Entertainment: The Gold Coast All Stars

Many brides and grooms choose to go beyond the wedding ceremony and reception. Rehearsal dinners, pre- and post-wedding brunches, and welcome parties are all common and joyous wedding weekend celebrations — and you’ll need a talented team of event professionals for each. Don’t forget to prioritize these same steps for each special wedding event, and PartySlate can help you plan your entire weekend celebration.

Photographer: The Edges Wed | Venue: Black Swan Lake | Event Planner: Cole Drake Events | Florals: M Designs

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