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Essential Tips for Newbies Planning Their Wedding

Need nutritional guidance? Send me an email at I'm Cara Orlan, a registered dietitian nutritionist, and I'm here to help you achieve your health and wellness goals!

Planning a wedding can be a daunting task, especially if you are a newbie. With some helpful tips and advice, you can make sure that your wedding day is as stress-free as possible.

Planning a wedding is a huge undertaking, and for first-time wedding planners, it can seem overwhelming.

This blog post covers essential tips for newbies planning their wedding, including budgeting, setting a timeline, and delegating tasks. With the right planning, a successful wedding is within reach!

Newbie Wedding
Newbie Wedding

The Beginner's Guide to Wedding Planning

What to Expect

  • A fun and exciting event

  • An enjoyable experience for all involved

  • A memorable day for everyone

When planning a wedding, there are many things to consider. From choosing the perfect wedding dress and decorations to selecting the right caterers and flower arrangements, there are a lot of details to take care of. It is important to take the time to research and plan ahead to ensure that your special day is everything you dreamed it would be. Here are some essential tips for newbies planning their wedding:

Newbie Wedding
Newbie Wedding


  • Create an itemized budget

  • Determine all costs associated with the event

  • Establish a timeline for payments

Budgeting for a wedding is a crucial step in the planning process to ensure that all expenses are accounted for and that you can have the wedding of your dreams without breaking the bank.

While the cost of a wedding can vary significantly depending on factors such as location, venue, guest count, and desired level of luxury, it's true that weddings in certain areas, like Miami, Florida, can easily reach or exceed $100,000.

Let's create an itemized budget for a wedding in Miami and discuss how to determine the costs associated with the event and establish a timeline for payments.

Itemized Budget for a Wedding in Miami:

  1. Venue: $20,000

  • This includes the cost of renting the ceremony and reception venues, including any associated fees, such as setup and cleaning.

  1. Catering: $30,000

  • Estimate the cost of food and beverage for your guests, including cocktail hour, main course, dessert, and an open bar.

  1. Photography and Videography: $6,000

  • Hire a professional photographer and videographer to capture all the special moments of your wedding day.

  1. Wedding Attire: $4,000

  • Include the costs of the wedding dress, groom's attire, bridesmaid dresses, groomsmen attire, and accessories.

  1. Decor and Flowers: $10,000

  • Account for the cost of floral arrangements, centerpieces, bouquets, and any other decorations you wish to have.

  1. Entertainment: $5,000

  • This includes the cost of hiring a DJ, band, or any other form of entertainment for the reception.

  1. Wedding Planner: $3,000

  • If you decide to hire a wedding planner to help with the organization and coordination, factor in their fees.

  1. Invitations and Stationery: $1,000

  • Account for the cost of wedding invitations, save-the-date cards, programs, and other stationery items.

  1. Wedding Cake: $2,000

  • Include the cost of the wedding cake or any other desserts you plan to serve.

  1. Transportation: $2,000

  • If you require transportation for you and your guests, consider the cost of rental cars, limousines, or shuttles.

  1. Extra Expenses: $7,000

  • Allocate a portion of your budget for unforeseen expenses, tips, marriage license fees, and any additional services you might need.

Total Budget: $90,000

Establishing a Timeline for Payments:

When it comes to payment timelines, it's important to check with each vendor or service provider individually, as their payment schedules may vary. However, a general guideline could be as follows:

  • Upon booking: Pay any required deposits to secure the venue, caterer, photographer, videographer, and wedding planner.

  • Three to six months before the wedding: Make progress payments to vendors, especially for services that require advanced preparations, such as catering, decor, and attire.

  • One month before the wedding: Finalize payments with all vendors to ensure that everything is settled before the big day.

By establishing a clear payment timeline, you can keep track of your expenses, avoid any last-minute surprises, and ensure that your budget is effectively managed throughout the wedding planning process.

Remember, the budget outlined above is just a sample and can be adjusted based on your specific preferences, priorities, and financial capabilities. It's essential to have open communication with your partner, prioritize your spending, and make informed decisions to create a memorable wedding experience within your means.

Venue Selection

  • Consider the size of the venue

  • Think about the atmosphere of the venue

  • Research different venues in the area

Venue selection is a crucial aspect of wedding planning as it sets the tone and atmosphere for your special day.

When choosing a venue, there are several factors to consider, including the size of the venue, the desired atmosphere, and conducting thorough research on different venues in the area.

Size of the Venue:

  1. Start by estimating the number of guests you plan to invite. It's essential to select a venue that can comfortably accommodate your guest count. Consider both the ceremony and reception spaces, ensuring there is enough room for seating, dining, dancing, and any other activities you have planned. Keep in mind that some venues may have guest capacity restrictions or minimums, so be sure to inquire about these details when researching.

Atmosphere of the Venue:

  1. Think about the type of wedding atmosphere you envision. Do you want a romantic, rustic, elegant, or modern setting? The venue's ambiance should align with your desired theme and overall style. Consider factors such as architecture, interior design, lighting, and outdoor spaces to create the ambiance you desire. Some venues may have specific restrictions or guidelines on decor and styling, so make sure it aligns with your vision.

Researching Different Venues:

  1. Take the time to research various venues in the area where you plan to have your wedding. Consider factors such as location, parking availability, and nearby options for out-of-town guests. Utilize online resources, such as wedding directories, venue listing websites, and social media platforms, to gather information and reviews about each venue.

Read reviews from previous couples to get insights into their experiences.

Look for photos and videos of weddings that have taken place at the venues to get a visual representation of what they offer.

Reach out to the venues directly to request more information, including availability, pricing, and any specific services they provide.

Schedule site visits to personally evaluate the venues and visualize how they would suit your wedding vision.

During site visits, consider the following aspects:

  • Ceremony and reception spaces: Evaluate the layout, seating capacity.

  • Amenities: Inquire about amenities provided by the venue, such as tables, chairs, linens, and other equipment.

  • Catering options: If the venue offers in-house catering, inquire about menu options, flexibility, and any additional costs involved.

  • Outdoor spaces: If you plan to have an outdoor wedding or reception, assess the condition of the outdoor areas.

By thoroughly researching and visiting different venues, you can make an informed decision based on your preferences, budget, and the overall vision for your wedding day.

Remember to book your desired venue well in advance to secure your preferred date, as popular venues tend to book up quickly.

Guest List

  • Make a list of all the guests you would like to invite

  • Consider the size of the venue when creating the guest list

  • Assign seating if needed

Creating a guest list for your wedding involves careful consideration of your relationships, venue capacity, and budget. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the guest list creation process:

Start with Immediate Family and Closest Friends:

  1. Begin by listing your immediate family members, including parents, siblings, and grandparents. Then, include your closest friends who you can't imagine getting married without. These individuals will form the core of your guest list.

Extended Family and Close Friends:

  1. Next, expand your list to include extended family members, such as aunts, uncles, cousins, and close family friends. Consider your relationship with each person and the impact they have had on your life.

Friends and Acquaintances:

  1. Consider friends from different stages of your life, such as childhood friends, college buddies, and colleagues. Evaluate the strength of your relationships and the frequency of interaction.

Parental and Other Obligations:

  1. Consult with your parents and future in-laws to determine if they have any specific individuals they would like to invite. Take their input into account while ensuring that the guest list remains within your desired capacity.

Work Colleagues and Professional Relationships:

  1. Decide whether you want to invite any colleagues or professional acquaintances. If you have limited space or prefer to keep your wedding more intimate, you may choose to exclude these individuals or invite only close colleagues.

Consider the Venue Capacity:

  1. Once you have a preliminary guest list, cross-reference it with the capacity of your chosen venue. Ensure that the number of guests can comfortably fit within the venue's limitations, accounting for seating, dining, and any additional activities.

Assign Seating:

  1. If you plan to have assigned seating, you can start creating a seating chart based on your guest list. Consider the dynamics between individuals and group people together who are likely to enjoy each other's company. You may also want to consider separating guests who may not get along.

Review and Revise:

  1. After creating the initial guest list, take a step back and review it. Assess if the number of guests aligns with your desired wedding size and budget. If necessary, make revisions by removing individuals who may not be essential or adjusting the number of guests from certain categories.

Remember, creating a guest list can be challenging, and it's important to be mindful of potential limitations. Communicate openly with your partner and consider your priorities and budget when making decisions.

Ultimately, the guest list should reflect those who are most important to you and contribute to the overall atmosphere and experience of your special day.


  • Determine if there is a dress code

  • Make sure the attire is appropriate for the event

  • Communicate the attire to the guests

When planning your wedding, it's important to consider the attire for both you as the couple and your guests.

Here are some steps to help you navigate the process of determining the dress code, ensuring appropriate attire, and communicating it to your guests:

Determine the Dress Code:

  1. Decide on the level of formality or dress code you would like for your wedding. This could range from formal black tie to semi-formal or casual attire. Consider the overall theme, venue, and time of day for your wedding when making this decision. The dress code will set the tone and help guide your guests in selecting their outfits.

Ensure Appropriate Attire:

Ensure that the dress code you choose is appropriate for the event. For a formal wedding, specify black tie or evening gown attire.

For a semi-formal event, you might request cocktail attire or dressy casual. If you prefer a more relaxed affair, indicate a casual dress code.

It's important to strike a balance between your desired atmosphere and the comfort of your guests.

Communicate the Attire:

  1. Include the dress code information on your wedding invitations. You can use clear and concise phrases such as "Black Tie," "Formal Attire," "Semi-Formal," or "Casual" to indicate the expected dress code.

  2. Additionally, you can provide some guidance or examples to help guests understand the appropriate attire. For example, you could mention "cocktail dresses for women" or "suits and ties for men" to give your guests a better idea of what to wear.

Provide Additional Information:

  1. If there are specific considerations regarding attire, such as outdoor or beach weddings where guests should dress comfortably or bring appropriate footwear, include those details in your communication. This will help your guests feel prepared and comfortable on your wedding day.

Wedding Party Attire:

  1. Consider the attire for your wedding party, including bridesmaids, groomsmen, and other participants. Coordinate their outfits to align with the overall dress code and theme of your wedding. Communicate your expectations to them clearly and allow them to ask any questions they may have.

Be Accessible for Questions:

  1. Some guests may have questions regarding the dress code. Provide contact information, such as an email address or phone number, so they can reach out to you or a designated wedding planner for any inquiries.

Remember, communicating the dress code is important to ensure that your guests feel comfortable and dressed right for your special day. Providing clear instructions and examples will help set the tone and create a cohesive atmosphere throughout your wedding celebration.

Food and Beverage

  • Decide on the type of food you would like to serve

  • Consider dietary restrictions and allergies

  • Think about the beverages you would like to provide

Music and Entertainment

  • Choose music that fits the occasion

  • Hire entertainment if needed

  • Consider the guests' tastes when selecting music


  • Choose decorations that fit the event's theme

  • Shop around for the best prices

  • Stay within your budget when selecting decorations


  • Hire a professional photographer and/or videographer

  • Determine the type of coverage you would like

  • Communicate your expectations to the photographer/videographer

Newbie Wedding Conclusion:

As a newbie to the world of weddings, and a wedding nutritionist, I found myself immersed in a whirlwind of wedding dresses, wedding decorations, and wedding themes. The task of choosing the perfect dress that embodies my vision felt both exciting and overwhelming.

I delved into researching different styles and designers, seeking inspiration for the ultimate bridal ensemble. With the dress selected, my attention turned to wedding decorations and themes, exploring ideas that would transform the venue into a breathtaking setting. Wedding transportation arrangements became a priority, ensuring that our guests would arrive in style and comfort.

Amidst the planning, the delectable wedding cakes and the services of talented wedding caterers captured our taste buds and imaginations. The symbol of eternal love, wedding rings, held a special place in our hearts, symbolizing our commitment and unity.

And finally, as the big day approached, the expertise of wedding hair and makeup professionals became essential to enhance our natural beauty and create the perfect bridal look.

The journey into the world of newbie wedding had been a whirlwind, filled with excitement and choices that would shape our dream wedding day.

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