Planning a wedding is about more than just the wedding day—there are many moments along the way that couples also enjoy and celebrate. Here are the best parts of wedding planning, including ideas for making these milestones extra special.
Planning a wedding is about much more than just the wedding day. And while wedding planning for even the simplest celebrations is often more of a challenge than one expects (with a host of details and opinions from all sides and a checklist that often seems endless), there are many moments along the way that couples can also enjoy and celebrate.
If wedding planning isn’t all you imagined it to be, consider how celebrating small achievements can make the process more enjoyable. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it may help to think about how many wedding planning milestones you’ve already covered. Or, if you’re just starting your planning journey, here are some of the fabulous things you have to look forward to.
Perfect for: When you pick your date, lock in your venue, or send out invites
This is a lovely way to bring a tiny bit of celebration for the small wins into your day-to-day planning. It doesn’t take much time and is a way to bond and enjoy life with your partner. With these milestones, your wedding is slowly becoming more real to you both, and you’re able to more clearly envision your special day. Spend a moment raising a glass with that special someone who makes all of this effort worthwhile. A majority of Zola’s First Look Report respondents said they celebrated their wedding milestones with a tipple.
Perfect for: When you get engaged
Getting engaged deserves proper recognition—after all, it’s people’s favorite wedding-planning moment, according to Zola’s First Look Report 2023. Be sure to savor it together. A night out with your partner was another top choice for Zola survey respondents celebrating their wedding milestones. You can also spend a lovely night in: If you’re already in saving-for-the-wedding mode, cook your favorite meal, light the candles, and pop some bubbly. A low-key evening with your future spouse is the perfect way to celebrate.
Perfect for: When you create your budget
You’ve been working hard at thinking through, calculating, and estimating every aspect of your big day—and creating a budget is usually couples’ least favorite aspect of wedding planning, involving more than a little bit of stress. But you did it. Reward yourself with a bit of rest and relaxation, another top choice of First Look Report respondents for celebrating wedding milestones.
Perfect for: Your food tasting and cake/dessert tasting, or when you say “yes” to wedding attire
Treat your tastings as special events, and allow yourself to be pampered during that part of the process. Finalizing your wedding attire is a big moment, too. In fact, for some, this is the milestone they’re looking forward to more than anything else. And rightly so, because this is the one outfit you’ll remember for the rest of your life (and maybe even keep in your closet forever). Yes, it can also be a stressful experience, but how often do you get to try on so many beautiful garments? And the moment when you find the one and start to really see yourself as a bride or groom is simply the best. Enjoy the process of deciding, and celebrate with something tasty.
Perfect for: When you get your marriage license
Your marriage license isn’t the most exciting task on your road to married life, but it is a requirement for your union to be deemed legal. So you’ve checked a big box on the wedding checklist. So take a break from everything for a bit, and appreciate how far you’ve come. At the very least, congratulate yourself for navigating all the forms, lines, documents, and legalese involved in getting a marriage license.
Perfect for: When you get your first RSVP, or when you get your first wedding gift
Of course, it’s pretty exciting to drop your invitations in the mail (phew!), but receiving that first response card is sure to be an even more memorable moment. If possible, open that envelope with your partner (finger crossed it’s a yes!). Then update your guest list and high-five to your quickly approaching nuptials. And yes, weddings are about more than just receiving gifts—but that doesn’t mean you can’t get totally psyched when that first box arrives at your doorstep. The wedding-registry process is kind of miraculous—you ask for things you want, and people get them for you. It’s totally okay to jump up and down and gleefully shriek when you receive that first gift. Celebrate the small, but happy moments with a tiny moment of joy with your partner.
Perfect for: When you create a wedding website, or design save-the-dates or invites
Dropping those invitations in the mailbox is a moment cherished by many couples. Just think of all the smiles that’ll greet those envelopes from all the people who love and care about you. Same goes for the wedding website. It is a hub of information that your guests will refer to time and time again. And fortunately, creating a wedding website is actually quite easy and enjoyable. From choosing a design to personalizing every detail, you’ll love making your website uniquely your own, and will feel so accomplished once you’ve finished. You’ll also love that your guests won’t be constantly bugging you for wedding details—it’s all right there on your website. Take a moment of self-care for all those hours spent thinking, scrutinizing, and perhaps even coding.
Perfect for: When you choose your wedding registry gifts
After spending so much time window shopping, you might feel the urge to do some actual shopping. You’ve looked at a lot of things—time to splurge on that thing you can’t stop thinking about that’s not on your wedding registry.
Perfect For: When you get engaged
Sharing the news of your engagement with family and friends ranks among the top favorite wedding-planning experiences, according to Zola’s First Look Report. So many people are happy to hear your great news, so get them all in one place and have a proper celebration. It can be as elaborate as a glamorous gala in a top location—or as casual as a pizza party at your place. You deserve to have a great start to your wedding journey, even if you haven’t set a date yet. Your wedding planning starts right here, and what better way to kick it all off?
Perfect For: After you get engaged or finish all the planning
This should be reserved for your biggest wedding milestones. Whether you decide to fly somewhere tropical or hole up in a nearby bed-and-breakfast, a weekend getaway is a great way to spend some time alone before the craziness of wedding planning begins. You’ll be so grateful for the romantic time together—and it’s a fun precursor to your honeymoon. Alternatively, take a vacation when you finish wedding planning—one of First Look Report respondents’ favorite wedding moments.
Working for a year on the plans for a single day can become very overwhelming and cause the whole process to lose a bit of its luster. By celebrating the small milestones along the way, you can remind yourself of what awaits you on the other end. And Zola's here to help with everything from finding your venue to taking time to bask in the blissful yet chaotic moments of planning your wedding day. After all, it’s not just the destination, but the journey along the way.
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