PLanning 101


real weddings

Ridiculously detail-oriented and passionate about beautiful + functional design.

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February 7, 2017


Wedding Planning 101: The Domino Effect

I always tell my clients that wedding planning is essentially a large puzzle, except a living breathing one with many moving parts. Also: if you’re trying to plan your own wedding, it’s like you’ve never seen a puzzle before in your life. Or, maybe you’ve seen a puzzle before (been to a wedding, or even been in one) – but now you’re missing the box, and the finished picture for that matter.

So, what’s the easiest way I’ve found to distill the planning process down to people who’ve never seen the puzzle before? I explain that unlike what you’ve read in wedding magazines or found floating out there on the internet, real weddings never come with a built-in ‘perfect’ planning timeline. That’s simply because no two weddings are alike. Period. So instead of a linear path, I picture wedding planning like dominoes. Hence, ‘The Domino Effect.’ Decisions made during the planning process lead to others, and thus the dominoes fall in a certain pattern.

The old formulas of “12 months out you should do this”, “at the 6 week mark you should do that” don’t really hold up anymore in our current world. The Internet, Social Media, email, cell phones (!) and the plain old increase in the number of people and wedding professionals have made certain aspects of planning much faster. Adversely, too much information and too many ideas (I’m looking at you, Pinterest!) have slowed the process in other areas simply because making choices takes time and thought, and now there’s just more to think about.

As with Dominoes, however, things do have to happen in a certain order. For example: It doesn’t do any good to go looking for a venue before you’ve decided how many guests it will need to hold. The flow chart below is a great way to visualize how decisions need to flow to make the most of your time, money and effort.


You’ll notice some things live outside the timeline, like your honeymoon and registry. Definitely give these things some time, but they aren’t tied to anything else. Additionally, not every single little thing is mentioned, this is just an overview. Menswear can be decided with the bridesmaids’ dresses, etc. And I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the truth is this even this chart is an oversimplification of the process, which is why the biggest box on the chart is the one that says ‘planner’, which leads to so many other parts. It’s not just us tooting our own horn; it’s how all the other boxes come together smoothly.

Keep in mind that even with The Domino Effect there are definitely things that have specific dated reasoning: Invitations, rsvp’s, dress ordering and tailoring. More on that later! But for now, just keep in mind that planning is based on you and your wants/needs. A wedding can definitely be planned in 2-3 months, don’t let anyone tell you different – but it will involve sacrifices, inflated costs and the work of a very skilled planner. You just have to decide for yourself + your partner what you want to get out of the experience. Revisit our last few posts on help figuring that out – and as we celebrate our new website –  we’ll have tips for the all the beginning aspects of planning: mood, location, invitations, websites and registries! Can’t wait to share!