You’re Engaged! Now what? A Step-by-Step Guide to Planning a Stress-Free Wedding

If the highlight of your holiday season was getting engaged, then your head is likely spinning with thoughts of how to start planning your ultimate wedding day. We’re here to help you as you choose the venue and food, search for that perfect dress, decide on flowers and prepare for your big day. The first step is to take a deep breath and then have a look at this comprehensive wedding checklist.

Naomi Finch at Big Grill Catering in Oro-Medonte, suggests booking your venue and caterer as soon as possible because great locations book one to two years in advance.

“We tend to see a big influx of bookings after Christmas and New Year’s and then there is another peak during the summer … between the long weekends,” Finch said. “Once you have your budget and your theme and you have done your research online, then you should book a consultation with your caterer.”

With help from local vendors in Barrie, Orillia and across Simcoe County, you can pull together your dream wedding. There’s no time to waste, so let’s get started!


Compile your preliminary guest list
Choose your wedding party
Shop for your wedding dress

There are bridal boutiques in our community where you can get advice and find your dream wedding dress, along with dresses for the mother of the bride, bridesmaids, flower girls, and amazing accessories. Check out Helen’s Bridal, Best for Bride or Loved Again Bridal Boutique.

Find a Venue for Your Ceremony and Reception, and Book a Date
Though most brides-to-be may disagree, your venue is hands down the most important factor in planning your wedding. Without a venue, there would be no wedding!

Once you decide if your wedding will be formal or casual, large or small, indoor or outdoor, you can choose a venue.

The subtle yet elegant décor at Liberty North in Barrie includes versatile ballrooms to accommodate receptions of up to 300 guests. Northbrook Farm in Severn Township is a gorgeous setting for an outdoor event of up to 160 people.

If an outdoor wedding is your dream, consider Big Grill Catering for a spectacular meal that is tailored to your specific tastes. The on-site mobile caterer will bring everything – including the power – you need to prepare and serve your wedding meal at your special locale.

“We’ve really done a lot of barn weddings,” says owner Naomi Finch. “Your venue could be on private property in a remote spot and we can make it happen.”


Book Your Main Vendors
Food Vendors

The unspoken rule of wedding planning: Once you’ve booked a venue, book your photographer—especially if you have someone in mind whose work you love. Most will include engagement photos as part of your overall wedding package. This is a great way for your photographer to get to know you, and will lead to better pictures on your wedding day.


Book Additional Vendors
Hair & Makeup Artists,
Entertainment, Florist
Arrange Accommodation for Out of Town Guests and Book Your Wedding Suite
Choose a Wedding Cake

Remember most bakeries require 6 to 8 months for special orders. Melissa L’Abbe started Melissa L’Abbe Cake Design after a career in nursing and she has been creating wedding cakes ever since. “No matter what your style, traditional, modern, vintage or simple elegance, Melissa L’Abbe Cake Design will work with you to create a one-of-a-kind work of art to make your day a memorable one,” she says.

Shop for groom and groomsmen attire
John McNabb Clothiers in Barrie and Dapper Depot Menswear in Orillia are great places to find the perfect suit for all seasons. Their made-to-measure suits and dress shirts are designed specifically for you!


Purchase wedding rings
Metzger Studio in downtown Barrie offers hand crafted designs and amazing, personalized service. In Orillia, visit Town’s Jewellers for exceptional selection and service.

Finalize Your Guest List and Invitations
Experts like Cindy Norman of Simple Wishes Custom Wedding & Event Stationery recommend you send your invitations 6 to 8 weeks before your wedding. If you have guests traveling a distance to attend, you may want to consider sending them earlier.

Katie Williams, owner at The Paperie by Katie Williams Design says the invitation sets the tone.

“When that invitation arrives in the mail, your nearest and dearest are going to open the envelope, and read the details announcing the celebration of love between you and your partner,” Katie says.


Organize the Finishing Touches
Gift for the Wedding Party
Favours for Guests
Extra Décor and DIY Projects to Complement Your Theme

No matter the size of your budget or guest list, your theme, food choices or your idea of the “perfect wedding,” remember to enjoy this time. Congratulations!

Local Links
Town’s Jewellers – 51 Mississaga St East Orillia

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