The Best Parts of Wedding Planning, According to Real Couples

Planning a wedding can feel like a rollercoaster, so we asked 2023 engaged couples to share the best parts of making it to the big day

By Shameika Rhymes

The Best Parts of Wedding Planning, According to Real Couples
Photo by Geovana Andrade Photography

The First Look ✨

2023 couples have been engaged for on average 2 years – longer than any generation before. Through the years, they’ve been overloaded with inspiration from the constant stream of their social media feeds, not to mention the 10-plus weddings couples say they’ve attended, on average, over the past two years alone.

With so much noise, it’d be easy for these couples to feel overwhelmed and stressed, and to some degree they are. But these couples are also enjoying the wedding planning process. Here’s a look at what Gen Z, Millennials, and Zillennials ranked as their favorite parts of wedding planning, according to Zola’s 2023 First Look Report.

Couples' Favorite Wedding Planning Moments Ranked

1. Getting Engaged

Whether it was an over-the-top romantic gesture or an intimate moment, 39.57% of couples say getting engaged has been their favorite part of wedding planning. It makes sense, too—it’s the kickoff to the main event.

2. Feeling Done With All of the Planning

Whether they hired a planner or did all the planning themselves, 29.43% of couples were happy when the planning stage was over—they considered the milestone a huge stress reliever. What’s more, it was an exciting time, since all that remained ahead was the fun of walking down the aisle, tying the knot, and celebrating with your loved ones.

3. Saying “Yes” to Wedding Attire

Saying “yes” to the dress—and the entire wedding party attire, for that matter—is a sigh of relief for most couples. It’s stressful looking for the perfect attire to complement the wedding theme and venue, not to mention there are pictures to think about. 31.23% of Zillennials were relieved once they found the perfect wedding attire. Gen Z was right behind them with 30.96% of couples agreeing.

4. The Engagement Photoshoot

Engagement photos are a rite of passage before sailing into the rest of the pre-wedding festivities. While the session isn’t a must do, the resulting photos are something to cherish forever, so for 31.67% of Gen Z couples, it ranks high on their list of the best parts of wedding planning; only 22.14% of Millennial couples agreed.

5. Sharing the News With Family & Friends

It’s exciting to share your engagement news with your loved ones, whether it’s in person, via text, or even social media. Couples even get creative with how they announce the news.

6. Food Tasting

For about 15.82% of couples, food tasting is one of the most fun and memorable parts of the whole wedding planning process. A wedding tasting is when couples taste the menu items with the caterer for the reception, and it’s usually done weeks or even months ahead of time to allow for adjustments for the finalized menu.

7. Choosing the Venue

Destination wedding, beach wedding, farm wedding, or even a ballroom wedding, no matter the location, choosing a venue is a fun part of wedding planning. The venue is the backdrop for the entire wedding day, from the budget to the wedding attire.

8. Picking Out Wedding Decor (Flowers, Balloons, Etc.)

Weddings are all about highlighting who you are as a couple and your personal style. 16.37% of Gen Z couples thought this was the best part of wedding planning, while 11.21% of Millennials, and 14.44% of Zillennials agreed that picking out and/or designing the wedding decor is something they enjoyed.

9. Practicing the First Dance

The first dance is your premiere as a married couple, so practicing ahead of time will help you shine. Some opt for dance lessons, others choose to practice at home, but no matter how you plan to two step, the first dance allows you to kick off the reception and open the dance floor to your guests. For 12.02% of all couples, this is one of the best parts of wedding planning.

10. Getting the Marriage License

Things start to feel really real once you have the official marriage license in hand. It’s a must-have before the wedding. Depending upon the state you live in, couples only have a couple of months to get married after obtaining the license.

11. Creating a Playlist

Every couple’s wedding soundtrack is different, and that’s where the fun comes in. From up-tempo songs to romantic ballads, you get to be the DJ. 13.91% of Zillennials were ready to get the party started by creating the playlist, while 7.83% of Gen Z couples said this task was the best part of wedding planning.

12. Cake/Dessert Tasting

Cake and dessert tasting is a little more involved than just spending a couple hours eating cake and combining frosting and cake to create the perfect accent to your wedding day. You’ll need to be able to provide logistics, budget, and even the appearance of the cake. Will there be a dessert table? What kinds of desserts will you put there? Some couples love this part of the process, but in the survey, only a total of 7.95% of couples enjoyed this part of the planning.

13. Designing Save-the-Dates or Invites

Designing the stationary is another way to show off your style as a couple. Save-the-dates are less formal than wedding invitations and don’t have to match each other or the wedding theme. They go out early enough that you can change your design when it comes to the wedding invitations. 7.79% of couples surveyed said this was one of the best parts of wedding planning.

14. Putting Invites in the Mail

Once the envelopes are stuffed, addressed, and posted, your wedding invites are ready to be sent out. Putting them in the mail will give you and your future spouse peace of mind once your invites start their journey to guests' mailboxes.

15. Registering

Brainstorming unique wedding registry gifts as a couple can be one of the most fun parts of the wedding planning process. It’s where you find gifts to start your new life together, and you can create your registry right here on Zola.

16. Getting the First RSVP

You’ve mailed out the invitations, now it’s a waiting game until the RSVPs start rolling in. Receiving the first RSVP can be exciting, and 6.80% of couples surveyed said this was one of the best parts of the wedding planning process.

17. Creating a Wedding Website

Deciding what should go on your wedding website can be a fun part of the wedding planning process. Consider adding all the wedding details guests may call you about, like accommodations, dress code, directions, registry, and more. A custom wedding website allows you to include everything you couldn’t put on the save-the-date or wedding invitations. You can create a custom wedding website right here on Zola within minutes. You can even add photos, share your registry, and let guests RSVP online.

18. Picking a Date

Availability of your venue can determine if you get your dream wedding date, but when you finally nail down the date, the wedding planning ball starts rolling faster. 5.32% of couples say picking the wedding date is the best part of the wedding planning process. Some couples pick dates that are symbolic, others pick a date that a venue has available.

19. Practicing the First Kiss

You don’t want an awkward moment after you’ve said your vows in front of everyone. Just like you would practice your first dance, practice the first kiss to avoid any fumbling or bumping heads when the moment comes.

20. Posting About the News on Social Media

It’s exciting to share your engagement news with thousands of your social media friends, but only 3.36% of couples thought that sharing the news on social media was one of the best parts of wedding planning.

21. Getting the First Wedding Gift

Receiving the first wedding gift is an exciting prelude to the wedding day, but only 2.74% of couples found this to be the part of the wedding planning process.

22. A Special Cultural Moment

Whether it’s sticking to the traditional something borrowed or incorporating a cultural moment like jumping the broom, this moment is bound to have a special place in your heart and the memories you’ll cherish forever.

23. Creating a Budget

How much can you comfortably afford to spend? Money can be a tension trigger, so it’s important to have that honest and open conversation about everything from the wedding size, number of invited guests, catering, and more. This was the least favorite thing for couples—only .99% found it as the best part of the wedding planning process.

Couples love the start of the journey—“getting engaged” is the overwhelmingly favored wedding moment for couples of all ages. Next on the list? Being done with all of the planning. But that doesn’t mean there’s not moments of fun to be had along the way. Couples are learning that planning a wedding is about more than just the wedding day. From picking out a venue to choosing attire, there are many days along the way that couples can enjoy.

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