How to Plan a Wedding: Simple Steps to Wedding Planning

Planning your own wedding is both a joy and a big responsibility. When you’re doing everything yourself, you want to maximize the fun part and minimize the hiccups. If you would prefer not to hire a professional to coordinate your wedding, you can find simple yet fantastic ways to plan your dream wedding. For any happy couple at any stage in their wedding planning process, this resource will help you get ready for your big day. Our personalized cards, stationery, photo books, and guidance are exactly what you need to DIY your wedding like a pro.

To see the process all the way through — from wedding announcements to thank you cards — we’ve outlined 4 key steps that every couple should take to stay organized and eliminate as much stress as possible. Shutterfly’s wedding services, including our free wedding invitation sample kit that will help you design the perfect day in beautiful style — because it’s your style.

Jump to:

1. Save the Date and Wedding Announcements

2. Wedding Invitations and Wedding Suites

3. Bridal Shower Invitations and Gifts

4. Wedding Albums and Photo Books

1. Save the Date and Wedding Announcements

happy couple save the date with date name and location of their wedding

You’ve said “yes,” but you’re still a little ways away from saying “I do.” The first step is letting your friends and family know that you’re getting married. There are a few ways you can tell your friends and family to reserve time for your special day. The most traditional way is to send save the date cards. Shutterfly offers a wide range of design templates to use to create your save-the-date card. When you find the style and theme you like, just click “personalize” to start the design process.

If you already know the color scheme you want for your wedding, you can begin by choosing that color paper for your save the date announcement. Otherwise, you can choose from a wide range of colors on Shutterfly —  including gold, iridescent, and rose gold foil — which are particularly lovely for a wedding save the date notice. You can also customize the size, shape, and trim (for example, a scalloped edge), and add photos to make your save-the-date even more memorable to your guests. The templates include graphics and text, and you can choose from different photo layouts to personalize the card even more.

If you decide to choose a save-the-date notice that’s guaranteed not to fail, you might consider a save the date magnet. Our save the date magnets offer many of the same personalization options as our cards, such as photos, graphics, and text. Plus, refrigerator magnets are a sweet way of saying you are “stuck” on your partner, and they have the added benefit of reminding your guests of your occasion every time they go to the fridge.

2. Wedding Invitations and Wedding Suites

Custom wedding stationery with invitation, RSVP, and enclosure cards

It’s natural to feel some jitters when designing your own wedding invitations. After all, these are notices that will go out to all of your wedding guests. Though you may feel pressure to make your wedding stationery perfect, the truth is, anything you design with Shutterfly will be elegant and impressive. And with Shutterfly’s personalization tools, it’s really easy to experiment with different designs to see exactly how your photos will look in your invitations. You can examine various cardstocks, including our signature smooth cardstock or pearl shimmer, explore themes including lace and patterns and chalkboard, and try out card formats such as flat, gate fold, tri-fold, and magnets (yes, your wedding invitation can be a refrigerator magnet!).

For those who want all their wedding stationery to match, you can choose from our wedding stationery collections that make it easy to coordinate your wedding invitations with matching response cards, programs, thank you notes, and more. Of course you can select items such as RSVP cards (which let you keep track of the guests who are attending) and enclosure cards (which give guests extra details on the date, venue, dress code, or other information) separately — and still coordinate them beautifully.

To begin the wedding invitation design process, if you have a color scheme or design theme in mind, you can sort and filter on the specific options that match your style, such as elegant wedding invitations, foil-stamped invitations, or even basic simple invitations. Otherwise, spend a moment clicking through the colors, including wedding-perfect foil colors such as gold, silver, iridescent, and rose gold, and explore stationery themes, trim options, and more. Even in the early planning stages, you can upload photos immediately on the site or in the Shutterfly app to get an idea of exactly how your pics will look once you’ve decided on your final design.

3. Bridal Shower Invitations and Gifts

As you’re planning your wedding, at some point you’ll face the choice of when, where, and how to hold your wedding shower. While some brides enjoy being the center of attention at a lavish bridal shower, some are more comfortable with a smaller bride-to-be gathering. Some engaged couples who’ve decided on an elopement choose to only hold a shower instead of hosting a big wedding with lots of guests. Some couples even decide to have a joint party for the bride and groom instead of a traditional bridal shower. Any way you decide to share your love is completely your call — and Shutterfly can help you create custom bridal shower invitations that are appropriate to however you want to celebrate. But don’t skip this step! It’s important for friends and family to have a chance to toast the happy couple, even when you’re eloping.

You can create shower invites to match your wedding suite if you want to, but they really don’t need to coordinate with your wedding invitations. In fact, shower invitations give brides the chance to show off their individual taste and style. First decide what size card you want to send. You can go small with a 4×5 bridal shower invitation or as large as 6×8. Other options you’ll choose in the design phase include which style to settle on. Do you want something from the Wedding Paper Divas or are you more a glitter girl? You can also choose shower invitations for specific party occasions, for example, a bridal brunch, a tea party, or a special outing with the shower guests.

If you’re hosting a wedding shower for the bride, you’re facing lots of important decisions as you design invitations. If you’re a wedding shower guest, Shutterfly’s bridal shower gifts are a must-see, as the collection includes gifts newlyweds will love. You’ll find wedding-worthy presents such as stemless wine glasses you can personalize with “Mr. and Mrs” for the newly married couple.

4. Wedding Albums and Photo Books

Premium leather bound wedding photo album with bride and groom.

Preserving memories of the big day is an important task to factor into your wedding planning phase. Why? Because you’ll want to make sure you — or a designated photographer — are capturing every moment of the engaged couple’s prenuptial days in our best photo books and wedding photo albums. To simplify photo album planning, Shutterfly offers three different ways to preserve photos. They include:

  • Professional Flush Mount Albums
    These are our most elegant wedding albums with top-of-the-line details that provide the quality of a professional photographer’s album at a fraction of the cost. You can use Shutterfly’s Make My Album Service and our professional designers will design it for you.
  • Premium Photo Books
    These photo books offer premium quality with options including deluxe layflat pages and leather covers.
  • Standard Hardcover Books
    You can personalize any photo book with a hardcover that will ensure the couple’s wedding memories last a good, long time.

Final Thoughts

Though planning a wedding is a big job, it’s a project that’s completely within your grasp. The four major milestones in the planning phase — creating announcements, designing invitations, planning bridal showers, and making photobooks — are simplified with Shutterfly’s range of high-quality products and personalization options. From sturdy cardstock wedding invitations to the latest wedding album designs, we want to help ensure your big day is as unique and special as you are. This is such a special time in a bride’s wedding planning journey, so take your time and enjoy it.

More Resources:

Discover the Best Ideas in Wedding Planning

Explore Bridal Shower Gifts

Plan Your Wedding Like a Pro

Shop Elopement Announcements and More