A Stress Free Guide to Early Wedding Planning

This post is in partnership with Zola. Thanks for supporting the brands that support Inspired by This!

It’s engagement *szn, which means whether you yourself are the lucky bride-to-be, or you know a person (or two or three) who just became engaged, you have probably heard a lot about venues, save-the-dates, guests lists, etc. The first steps to planning a wedding often involve the most key elements of your big day. So, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. If this is sounding a little like you, and you’re wondering how to start wedding planning all together, take heart! We partnered with Zola to show you just how simple and stress free wedding planning can be. That’s right! With these wedding planning tips, you’ll be down the aisle in the blink of an eye, and won’t ever remember feeling frazzled about any of it. Well, we hope! Our first tip? Don’t get ahead of yourself! Now is not the time to worry about napkins or seating charts. We’ve listed out the things to start with that will help you feel like all the hard work is out of the way. With that said, first things first…

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Make Your Guest List 

Your guest list sets the tone for every other decision you make for your wedding day, so it’s important that you make it as soon as possible if you want to get wedding planning under way! Decide whether you want the celebration to be big or small, local or destination, and what your budget is. Then, open up a spreadsheet and start listing all your peeps. Between you, your fiancé, and your parents, it can be easy to loose track of lists, so we recommend using a free guest list manager to keep them organized. With Zola, you can start fresh or upload spreadsheets you have already worked on, as well as sync your phone contacts so that all your guests’ information is in one place; their name, number of people in their party, address, RSVP status – even meal or song preferences! You can also mark them as ‘definitely’ or ‘maybe’ invited to help streamline the decision process. 

One of our favorite features about Zola’s guest list manager, though, comes once your list is finalized. You can send out a link via email or text to easily collect addresses from guests, and continue to message them throughout the months and days leading up to your wedding with reminders, information, photos, and more. Trust us, this will make RSVP follow-ups and spreading any necessary news or updates a pinch! 

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Pick Your Stationery

Now that your list is complete, you can send out save-the-dates and plan for invitations! This is where the fun part begins! Well, it’s all fun to us ;). When it comes to wedding stationery, the creative options are endless. So, we encourage you to choose something that speaks to you as a couple – and will look great on your guests’ fridge! With over 200 customizable designs, Zola’s paper products can be easily curated and personalized to suit your style.

Once you select your designs, you can avoid tedious tasks like filling in all the information and addressing envelopes, because it automatically integrates with your guest list manager. You & your fiancés names and wedding date will auto-populate into the save the date and wedding invitation, and with free guest and return addressing you’ll have nothing to do but twiddle your thumbs! Ok, kidding (sort of).

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Create Your Wedding Website

Now that your guest list is complete, and your stationery selected, it is time to create a wedding website that will introduce and inform your guests. From sharing your love story and your bridal party, to recommending lodging for out-of-town guests, and guiding them to your registry (more on that later!), a wedding website is a MUST.

By now, you have realized that Zola offers practically everything you need with a full suite of wedding planning tools. And the best part? They all work seamlessly together. Its wedding websites are a great example of this! With a Zola wedding website, you can choose a design that matches your Zola stationery, enable online RSVP for your guests (so easy!), and  integrate it with Zola Registry. And for guests to access it, you can print the website address on your save-the-dates and invitations. Thus, they can get all your wedding details, RSVP, and buy you a wedding gift all in one place! Did we mention online RSVP will save you $$$ in postage and RSVP cards!? That alone is worth it.

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Start Your Zola Registry

Did we mention that wedding planning is fun? Especially when it comes to registering for presents!! And this couldn’t be more true of putting together a Zola registry. Simply start adding to your registry, guided by helpful tools like a Registry Checklist, which outlines all the essentials and upgrades every newlywed home needs, and Registry Planner, which tells you exactly how many gifts you should register for and at what price points. Another huge benefit to signing up for a Zola registry? The careful help from Registry Advisors, who are available to answer all of your questions from sheets to stemware 7 days a week. AND they have over 200 gift guides to help you in your decision making process. Um, yes please! But, once again, we have our favorite feature – the Gift Tracker, which notifies you when you’ve received gifts, then lets you manage shipping dates, returns, or exchanges. Could it be any simpler?

On to the fun part… picking everything out! From every kitchen tool imaginable to the sheets you’ve always dreamt of having, Zola carries all your favorite brands. But wait, there’s more. One of the largest reasons Zola’s registry is so popular with nearly-weds is that its the only store with physical gifts and gift cards and cash funds. So, your guests can give you a KitchenAid or send you scuba diving on your honeymoon. And with free shipping and price matching, your guests will love it too. 

zola, wedding planning tips

With so many helpful features, using Zola for all your wedding needs is a no-brainer. Its savvy tools will make the entire wedding planning process enjoyable and memorable for all the right reasons. Happy wedding planning!

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