How to Plan a Wedding Without a Wedding Planner

It's your wedding; do things your way. Here's how you can plan a wedding without a wedding planner and not fail during the process.

How to Plan a Wedding Without a Wedding Planner
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One big misconception with weddings is that if you don't hire a wedding planner, your wedding won't be well-organized and that something is bound to go wrong. Although your big day is important, and clearly a formal event, a wedding planner isn't necessary.

So, if you're about to get hitched and would prefer to have greater control over your own wedding's planning process while saving money in the process, read on to learn how you can plan a wedding without a wedding planner.

Make sure you and your fiancé(e) are on the same page.

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It's important that before you opt out of using a wedding planner that you make sure your bride or groom is also up for the idea. Do discuss that there will be greater responsibility placed on you as a couple and that it could potentially cause excess stress, resulting in frequent fights.

If and when you get their okay, it's crucial that you two work together, because remember, you're your own wedding planner, and without a professional wedding planner, the communication and negotiation can easily get messy without a third party there to provide compromise.

Get organized.

Before you plan anything, it's first important to find an organizer to store your ideas and other information for your big day. There are plenty of digital and non-digital planners out there, but if you must go the digital route, best advice is to also opt for a non-digital one just in case.

Organization is important for all of your go-to wedding resources, guest list, meal planning, and everything else you'll need to keep your wedding day in order.

Get the basics down first.

Now that you and your partner have agreed to plan your wedding without a wedding planner and have a means of organization, it's time to plan your big day.

Start off with the basics. You know, the most important stuff: the big picture. This includes:

  • The budget (This may change, but try to stick to your guns.)
  • Wedding date

  • Venue(s) for the wedding and reception
  • Theme / color theme
  • Possible food options
  • Lists of potential caterers, entertainment, etc.

After the basics, then get into more detail. Easing into the details can help you to get a better idea of what your big day may be like rather than rushing the process.

Maybe you'll decide to offer succulents as wedding favors. Perhaps you'll want tulips and baby's breath in your floral arrangement. You (or the bride) may decide that instead of walking down the aisle with your father that you walk alone. Maybe you'll want the bridesmaids to wear pastel.

Go on the DIY route to save some moola.

When you plan a wedding without a wedding planner, you have more say over what you want and what you don't want. You're the decider. You have all the power. This also means you can opt for all the DIY projects as you wish without a professional trying to convince you otherwise. There are a lot of helpful tips for a DIY wedding out there too.

While wedding planning can't always be an easy or quick job, having the ability to spend less and get more creative with your own wedding is a wonderful experience those with a wedding planner may not get much of.

When in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask for advice.

If you're stuck in slump or are having disagreements with your soon-to-be husband or wife or others involved in the planning of the wedding (and you probably will), reaching out for advice can be the best thing you can do.

Even if you don't consult a professional for advice for your big day planning, you can find online resources, articles, and the best wedding websites for your budget to help you every step of the way, even for free.

Wedding Bee is one great website to turn to. They also have a forum for those soon-to-be married to talk to others for help dealing with cold feet, difficulties compromising with the wedding planning process, making decoration decisions, and the like.

Try to avoid hiring family or friends to help with your wedding.

As harsh as it sounds, hiring or placing heavy responsibilities on family or friends for your big day can be a bad idea particularly because there is a social bond and emotional tie to you and/or your future husband or wife.

The closer you are to somebody, sometimes the more unreliable it may be to make them a huge component of your wedding in terms of, say, decorating the cake, catering the food, or setting up tables.

Some family and friends may act differently in regard to your big day. There may be excess stress on both ends if something goes wrong, hindering relationships and trust temporarily or permanently.

The point is, if you hire someone you know, they may believe you'll be softer on them just so you can maintain that relationship, not putting in their best, most professional service or skills.

Always have a plan B and C for everything.

Okay, so your DJ bailed out on you, or your marriage officiant is in the hospital unexpectedly. What do you do next? That's when you turn to the next plan on the list.

Without having other alternatives or ideas in mind, your wedding budget can go astray, you may end up impulsively hiring someone else not competent in their field, or may have a decoration disaster.

Think of the worst that could happen (without assuming or worrying that it will happen) during your wedding planning, and think of what to do in those cases (e.g., pick up another cake from a local grocery store, have someone else be the flower girl if the other gets nervous, etc.).

Conduct proper research on professionals before hiring.

When you don't have a wedding planner to help direct you to trustworthy, top-quality professionals such as vendors, it can be hard to know where to go and who to turn to.

But with adequate research, it can be easier to stay on top of your wedding planning.Read online reviews, get in touch with different professionals and ask them questions, and check out professionals' website and/or social media pages for more information.

The more you know, the better. Your big day can't truly be your big day without honest and knowledgeable caterers, photographers, videographers, florists, and other experts. You can also try taking your own wedding photographs.

Keep your eye on the big picture.

Many brides or even grooms place emphasis too much one just one aspect of their wedding or only look at the details rather than what is truly important.

But when you plan a wedding without a wedding planner, you won't have an expert there to help you and/or your bride or groom see the wedding on a broader scale.

Sometimes in the process of wedding planning, the couple begins to stress over how perfect their big day has to be that they forget the true reason they're having a wedding: to celebrate the love they have for one another and their transformation of becoming one.

That said, don't forget what your wedding really is all about, and don't be blinded by the irrelevant trifles of your wedding such as black instead of brown buttons on the groomsmen tuxedos.

Don’t expect your wedding to be perfect.

The truth is, the more observant and nit-picky you are during the wedding planning process or even during the wedding itself, the more you're going to find flaws, and in turn, feel less satisfied.

But no wedding is perfect. Maybe the bride's heels will end up giving her blisters, the dinner will arrive 10 minutes late, the reception will last longer than expected, guests will arrive late, the cake won't taste as good as it looks, and so on.

Even the weddings that have everything down right will have "something wrong" because both the groom(s) and/or bride(s) are going to have a certain perception or hope in mind on their big day.

Psychologically, it can seem that your wedding day wasn't good enough when in actuality, it may be you that is finding faults in what did or didn't happen.

Overall, those who choose to plan a wedding without a wedding planner will deal with different pros and cons. Regardless, doing what you and your bride or groom want is the most important, and of course, not having impossible expectations can ensure your big day goes smoothly!

ceremony and reception
Alicia Springer
Alicia Springer
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Alicia Springer

Mother of two. Personal trainer. Fitness is about determination, not age.

See all posts by Alicia Springer