Planning a wedding can feel very overwhelming, here are some important guides to planning a wedding. Often couples hire a professional to help manage all their wedding plans, however, there are plenty of reasons why most might also opt to take the responsibility on their own. Maybe you are working with a tight budget or maybe you simply love the creativity side and want all the extra details. It is possible and here are a few guides that are important to keep in mind.
Set Your Wedding Budget and Stick to It!
Setting your budget is the most important thing in your planning process. The money talk is generally not fun and can be very stressful which is why it’s best to rip off the band-aid and get it all out on the table. Start with discussing the vision for your day with your partner. Do you envision being surrounded by a large group of family and friends or something more intimate with only your closest loved ones? Can you picture a big, fancy party or something more chilled and low-key?
Do some research to understand the realistic amount needed for your expectations so you can change them as you please. It’s important to educate yourself on the true costs of a professionally executed event. Getting familiar with actual costs will help you to set a realistic wedding budget that allows you to have what you want at a price you can afford. Then finally set that absolute maximum spend. It is important to leave room for the unexpected when planning a wedding but understand what the absolute maximum you are willing to spend on this wedding is and STICK TO IT!
Create a List of Wedding Day Priorities
Sit down with your partner and determine what the three most important aspects of your wedding will be. Here are three great examples of wedding day priorities; venue, wedding attire, photographer. The venue, including the ceremony and reception area, should be the top priority. Give yourself at least three months to look around and see what works for you. Also, always keep in mind that some popular venues in your area may be booked up to two years in advance. So, choose your wedding date wisely and give yourself plenty of wiggle room in case desired locations are booked. Try and reserve the venue at least one year ahead. Finding your perfect wedding attire can take time.
Brides need to start shopping for their wedding gown at least a year, if not more, before the wedding. Ordering wedding gowns takes time, as does ordering bridesmaid dresses. In some cases, it can take up to six months to receive your gown, especially if it is a designer wedding dress or a custom-ordered bridesmaid dress. Then, you must consider alterations and how long that will take. You do NOT want to be rushed in this process. It can be one of the most stressful aspects of your wedding.
During prime wedding season, good wedding photographers can be booked solid up to a year in advance. Start this process soon—right at the beginning of the planning. It is a good idea to use a photographer that you know or you have researched. Prioritize those details and be willing to compromise on the rest. This will help you stay within your budget and help you focus your efforts on what really counts.
Involve Your Significant Other
Don’t feel like you’re in this wedding planning process alone. Consult with your partner along the way; their opinion is bound to be invaluable and even if they’re only involved in some aspects. However we do understand the more involved your other half is in wedding planning, the more likely you may butt heads. So, it’s a good idea to put a few systems in place to help keep the peace while wedding planning side by side. Like; Setting up a wedding-specific email account so you both stay in the loop with vendor communication and meetings. Make time for a touch-base before every vendor meeting so you both go into the conversation on the same page.
Set a recurring planning date and make your meetings fun and something to look forward to. It makes wedding planning so much more fun when you can make decisions together. Working towards a common goal not only further bonds you and your partner but also helps you grow as a couple with every issue you tackle as a team.
Start Working on Your Guest List
Making decisions about the guest list can be a complicated process and one that will depend largely on your venue and budget. Sit down with your partner and key family members to put together a wish list of wedding guests. First, make your absolute list, write down people you can’t imagine your wedding day without them being there. Depending on how large your family and social circles are, this list could be 10 people long or it could be 50. Either way, it gives you a feel for how many more spots you have on your list to fill given your overall budget.
Then make your B list, you two can work through the list of extended family members and friends who you will undoubtedly invite if it all works well. Now create your C list invites and expect to make decisions on whether they make the cut based on budget, venue space, and RSVPs from the first round of invitations that may free up spots in the months before the wedding.
Time to decide on plus-one and children invites. Plus-ones can make planning a wedding a bit tricky. On one hand, each extra head at a wedding costs real money and, particularly if you’ve never met a guest’s plus-one, it can seem like you’re throwing away budget as the number of guests ticks up. On the other hand, a plus-one can be a reassurance that guests will have someone to sit with, hang out with, and dance with, which can be especially important for guests who may not know many people at the wedding.
Children at weddings can be a sticky situation. Some people feel strongly that their special day is an adults-only occasion, not a family reunion. Others believe that weddings are best celebrated with all generations present. All these decisions should be left to you and your significant other to make not anyone else. Chances are, you’ll need to make some cuts and rework it but having a template is the best way to start.
Find your perfect Photographer
Your wedding photographer should capture every detail of your big day. From your place card holders to your hair accessories and your makeup applications, it’s your photographer’s responsibility to capture it all. This way, you don’t have to rely completely on memory. While you can get a good deal with a photographer who’s new to the industry, you do need to find someone you trust to get it right, do your research. Perfection comes with experience. Look through the portfolio of any photographer you’re considering. You won’t just be looking for examples of the weddings they’ve captured. You’ll also be looking at their different styles and approaches. When you find the photos that resonate with you, you’ve found your style and photographer.
Read Every Contract, Closely
Before you sign on any dotted lines, be sure to closely review every detail of any contracts you arrange with your wedding vendors including date, location, times, deposits, additional fees, colors, quantities everything has to be in the contract because if it isn’t, or is written incorrectly, you will not be protected if it’s not executed properly. Making sure you actually understand what you are signing can help alleviate a lot of headaches and sometimes additional fees in the long run. Once both parties sign, you officially have a legally binding contract and are one step closer to a smooth wedding day.
Build a Registry
You and your partner should begin creating a wishlist of potential gifts you’d like to receive from guests very early on. If traditional gifts aren’t quite your thing, you can opt for more creative registry ideas to fund things like your honeymoon or a downpayment on a new house or opt for a charitable contribution instead. When registering for gifts, stick to two or three stores you love. Choose a national department store or chain that has lots of household basics; you may also want a local specialty store to add to your registry.
Think of your guests! You may want to choose stores that are low, medium, and high-end, so guests have gifts in a variety of price ranges to choose from. Complete your registry four to six months before the wedding. This will give guests time to purchase gifts for the big day, but also for your engagement and a shower. Fill your future home with items that feel personal and useful to you and your partner; otherwise, you’ll feel like you’re living in a grand museum featuring someone else’s beautiful objects.
Be Present, it’s Your Day
Be in the moment and feel the love, you’re getting married! Don’t worry about the minutiae and if some things aren’t perfect. Start your day out just for you and your partner. Put the phone away, before your wedding and during, you don’t need to check-in that day, just be there. Every hour or so, try to take a minute to stop, look around, and take it all in with your partner. Say, “we did this! This wedding is super fun. Oh my god. This is our wedding. Our wedding is happening right now.” Surreal, but amazing” – in your own words of course! Take it all in because it will zoom by – ask any married couple.
Now you have this important guide, contact us to find your perfect fit!