Is your big day rushing towards you like a pack of elephants? The ever growing guest list, the impossible puzzle of the seating arrangement, the stupefying conundrum of finding the band to cater to everyone’s taste, the endless maze of finding the perfect venue, the arduous ordeal of choosing the menu? The responsibilities and tasks seem to be piling up without respite.

It’s supposed to be your big day, a day of celebration and joy, a day when you and your significant other make promises to each other, promises you will hold for the rest of your lives. It’s supposed to be that. Instead, it just seems like a big ole pile of stress.

We get it, so we’ve compiled a list of the most essential aspects of planning a wedding that should clear your mind and help you find your focus.

The venue

This is perhaps the most important and stress-inducing element of preparing a dream reception is finding the right wedding event center. There are many aspects to choosing the perfect one, not in the least your budget.

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to make the decision much easier.

  • Are you doing a destination wedding or are you hosting it in your hometown?

This is the first thing to get off the table. If you’re doing a destination wedding, know that your budget will take a significant hit. Flying the guests out and providing accommodation is very costly, but if your heart is set on an exotic location, that’s what you’ll have to live with.

  • Is the wedding big or small?

Are you inviting your cousin twice-removed from out of state? Is the groom inviting every one of his college buddies or just the ones he’s still close with? 

Deciding on a ballpark number of guests will greatly narrow your choice of venue.

  • What is your budget?

Decide how much you can spend before even typing in ‘wedding venue’ into Google. That way, you’ll have most of your choices removed.

What portion of the budget is dedicated to the venue, and what portion of it is reserved for catering? These are two of the biggest expenses, and deciding on the numbers will inform you where to look for a venue.

  • What type of venue do you imagine in your head?

Is it a fancy banquet hall? Is it a barn or farm wedding? A lot of people are going for a historic home wedding nowadays. There are also country clubs, resorts, restaurants, houses of worship… This is where the choice gets difficult. But if you keep your guest count and budget in mind, you’ll have an easier time choosing the type.


People have been dancing at weddings from the moment weddings were invented. That’s why the choice of music matters for your big day. Here are a few tips on how to make yours.

  • DJ or Band?

That’s the most fundamental choice you can make. A DJ is cheaper, probably has a larger song pool to play, and is more open to requests. A live band, however, just brings the whole party to the next level.

  • Make the music coherent with the style of your wedding

If your wedding reception is in a house of worship - twerking music is not part of the equation. The music should be coherent all through the night, as well as with the theme of the party.

  • What’s the first dance song?

This is the most important part of the wedding, music wise. The bride and groom have their first wedding dance as the married couple, and all eyes are pointed at them. It should be easy to choose the song - there must be one that you and your significant other hold dear. The point is - decide on it and make sure to inform the band or DJ about your choice beforehand.

The attire

Many brides consider choosing the wedding dress as the most important, as well as the most stressful part of the wedding preparation.

As with all other aspects of wedding planning, deciding on your budget is the first step to making the correct dress decision. Even if you go slightly overboard, your budget will determine the choices you have.

The second tip is to get your dress early, but not too early. Brides get excited about the dress as soon as they get engaged, but the styles, trends, and even your body shape may change in time between the engagement and the ceremony.

 The final tip we’ll give you here is to be careful who you invite to the dress tryouts. You want people who will genuinely get excited with you but will also offer honest comments and opinions. You don’t want people who’re gonna criticize your every move and make you feel uncomfortable, as well as people who will just nod along to anything.

After you’ve said yes to the dress, choose a bridesmaid's gown that compliments your style for the day. You can delegate this decision to your maid of honor, if you are not a complete control addict.

The menu

We’ll state the obvious again, deciding on your budget will make the decision-making much easier. After you’ve done that, here’s a few steps that will help you narrow your choices down.

  • Serving style

Is it a buffet, or are there plated meals? Maybe you just go with heavy appetizers served by the waiting staff? Your choice of serving style should be informed by the wedding venue you host your reception.

  • Seasonals meals

Depending on the time of year, your wedding menu could differ according to the available produce. Summer weddings call for lighter meals, while winter occasions favor hearty soups and other strong food.

  • The cake

Arguably the most important food-related aspect of a wedding. Make sure the cake fits the style of the wedding, don’t put the looks in front of the taste, but keep in mind that the cake will have a spotlight on it.

Again, a cake could put a serious dent in your budget, so decide on a price range wisely.


Don’t let the stress of planning a wedding ruin your big day. If the responsibilities become too much, you can always hire a wedding planner. That is, of course, if your budget allows for one.