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The 7 Steps to Creating a Wedding Priorities List

Guest Blog by Kelly Sugano

At the start of your wedding planning process it’s important to determine your priorities! What are the top things you and your other half care to see, do, and feel on your wedding day? Do you envision floral centerpieces on twenty tables? Or a 4 piece string quartet playing an instrumental version of “You are the Reason” as you or your partner walks down the aisle? Knowing your vision is crucial to being able to start creating your wedding priorities list! If you’re not sure how to find your vision check out our past blog sharing how to create a vision board!

However, if you both know your vision for the big day then you’re ready to create your wedding priorities list!


This list can have many names but overall it is the document that states all of the aspects of your wedding in order of how much you and your significant other want it to be included.

Some items that are typically on wedding priorities lists are specific vendors such as photographers, videographers, and officiants, as well as wedding staples like a first dance, cake cutting, or bouquet toss!


It will help you and your partner organize all of the areas of your wedding day to ensure that your money and energy are going to the aspects of your wedding that you care about most. Though you may have discussed the things that you want and do not want on your big day, putting these thoughts on paper and discussing them as a team will make certain that your priorities are aligned so that all decisions will be made on the same page. This list will also be crucial in helping you determine and then stick to your wedding budget.


You can make this list on a piece of paper or in the notes section of your phone, whichever works best for the both of you!

Photography: Michele C Photo | Venue: Hawaii Vista Weddings | Florals: Always Flowers 808 Weddings | Hair & Makeup: CJ Siepka
Photography: Michele C Photo | Venue: Hawaii Vista Weddings

Step 1: Start with jotting down a list of the 10-15 most important aspects of your wedding day!

  • Such as the food, entertainment, favors, stationary, and venue!

  • Really take this time to discuss with your other half all of the things you each would like to have or do on your big day!

  • If you’re not sure of the type of activities or vendors you may want to do or have, think about how you want to feel! For example, you’re not sure if you really want a make-up artist but you know that you want to look your absolute best when you get married. Consider what that absolute best feeling would look like and think if that is something that can be done with or without a make-up artist.

  • Going through this thinking process will help you connect the emotions you know you want to have on your wedding day with the vendors or activities that will be able to make you feel the way you want to feel!

Step 2: Now that you have your list, begin re-ordering it so that the item at the top is the one you both would really really like to have or do and the second one is the next one you would like to include and so forth till your list of 10-15 items is in order of desirability.

Step 3: Take your list and divide it into two categories. The Must Haves and The Nice to Haves.

  • The Must Haves: Like the name these are the aspects that you know you NEED or REALLY WANT to have at or to have happen at your wedding. These items would typically be at the top of your list.

  • The Nice to Haves: The items that fall under this category are those that if you could have it in your wedding you would like to have it, but if you couldn’t have it then you’ll still be happy without it. These items would typically be towards the middle or bottom of your list. If you determined that all 10-15 items are Must Haves and you don’t have any Nice to Haves that’s totally fine too!

Photography: Michele C Photo | Venue: Hawaii Vista Weddings
Photography: Michele C Photo | Venue: Hawaii Vista Weddings

Step 4: Really evaluate each item of your The Must Haves and The Nice to Haves lists and think about if you would or would not go over your budget for them to happen.

  • The Must Haves: These items are typically the ones that you would be willing to spend a little more than you originally planned to, because you MUST HAVE it in your wedding! As we often see on “Say Yes to the Dress” for many brides an item that falls in this category is having the perfect gown! Though they may have a budget, since their dream dress is in the Must Haves category they often will go over their budget to have this item.

  • The Nice to Haves: Items in this category are those that will often happen or not happen due to your budget. For instance if you go a little over your budget to put more money towards an item on your Must Have list know that it may affect the chance that you will be able to do or have an aspect on your Nice to Have list.

Step 5: Now that you’ve got your list with The Must Haves and The Nice to Haves, we’re going to make a separate list titled The I Could Live With-outs.

  • These 5-10 items would be those that you would prefer to not have on your big day. For instance having more than 100 people at your wedding, doing a first look, the garter toss, etc.

  • Just as it’s important to know what you want on your wedding day, identifying what you would prefer not to have is crucial as it will help you stay aligned with your vision and ensure that your priorities are not changed due to outside factors. More on this in the next step!

Step 6: Similar to Step 4, we are going to evaluate each item in your The I Could Live Withouts list. Except instead of thinking how your budget may bend for these items, think of the reasons that may actually influence you to have or do them on your wedding day.

  • Using our earlier example, if your list states that you would prefer not to have more than 100 people on your wedding day, but someone important in your life really wants there to be more than 100 people and is willing to give you the funds to support more guests would you then adjust your guest count?

  • By determining if the item is something that you would include under certain circumstances or if it’s one that regardless of the circumstance you would still not include, it will help you from being influenced by your family and friends.

Step 7: Discuss the list with your other half and make sure that you’re in agreement, if so congrats you have your wedding priorities list! This list will always be there to remind you of your Must Haves, Nice to Haves, and I Could Live With-outs as well as all of the factors that could influence the priorities of these wedding aspects. In future blog posts, we will teach you how to use this list to guarantee you CAN stay in your budget!

Now that you’ve got your wedding priorities list we hope it will help streamline and organize your entire wedding planning process!


Happy Planning!

(A Perfect Day)

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