5 Steps to Starting Your Wedding Planning
Congratulations to all the couples who got engaged over the holidays! We’re so happy for you! Being engaged is such an exciting time. But planning a wedding can be overwhelming. Where do you begin? Well, before you head out to the bridal shop to find your dream dress, there are a few important steps you should do first to avoid headaches later. We recommend the following 5 steps to starting your wedding planning, so you stay on track and keep moving in the right direction.
1. Setting the budget. I’m always surprised when brides start planning without first setting up a detailed budget. Believe me, unless you’ve been involved in helping your sister or close friend plan their big day, you’re going to be shocked by the cost of a wedding, and your budget will not go as far as you think it will. When you have a complete breakdown of your budget, you’ll be able to tell your vendors the amount you have to work with, and they’ll be able to help you make the best choices.
2. Asking Your Parents for Money. Forget that old rule that weddings are paid for by the parents of the bride. That time has passed. As the marrying age has gone up, so has the amount that each couple contributes to their own nuptials. While parents on both sides often still contribute, don’t automatically assume that they will give you carte blanche for your wedding. And if they do, expect some “friendly” input!
OK, so you’re pretty sure your parents are willing to contribute to the wedding. No matter how certain you are that they will, you should always verify first. Which means the “fun” part of asking the parents if they are interested in contributing. No matter how close your relationship is to both sets of parents, it’s not fair to make one person do all of the asking. Each one of you gets to ask your own parents.
This is where your homework will really pay off. Show your parents ideas of the type of wedding that you are looking to create, how much it will cost, and how much you and your fiancé(e) can contribute. Then ask if they would consider contributing a set amount to fund a specific part of the wedding. Consider having them do so in lieu of giving a gift.
Regardless of their answer, make them feel comfortable with whatever they decide. Remember, this is your event, not theirs. They shouldn’t have to go into debt for your wedding day, no matter how important you feel it is to have a designer gown or a full five-course dinner with open bar for everyone you know.
3. Choosing a date. Now that you’re engaged, everyone wants to know, “Have you set the date?” Before you choose an exact date, decide on a season or month you’d like to be married. If you’ve always dreamed of having your wedding at a certain venue and you select a specific date first, you may find that the venue has already been booked, or costs too much. Most venues offer discounts during off-peak season, or off-peak hours and the savings can be significant!
4. Decide if you’d like to hire a Wedding Planner. Okay, you knew this would be one of the steps, right? There are a lot of details that go into planning a wedding, and problems and questions will arise. Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone to keep everything in check and running smoothly? Someone to help you stay on budget, help keep you organized, help you handle the sea of “great ideas” from well-meaning friends and family, help you design a “great look” for your special day. Even if you decide to tackle all of the planning yourself, you should consider hiring a “Day Of” coordinator to manage your wedding day, so you and your families can relax and enjoy your wedding day.
Before you think of hiring a wedding planner as just another cost, realize that wedding planners have more experience and vendor relationships than you do, and many times they often help save you more money than their actual fee. Did you know that brides who don’t hire a wedding planner usually overspend their budget by 30%?
5. Decide on the Guest List. The number of guests you invite will affect the cost of your wedding and where you will be able to hold your ceremony and reception.
One of the biggest challenges you’ll face when deciding on a guest list is keeping it manageable in size, and keeping everyone happy. Most likely, you, your fiancé, and both your families will have names to add to the guest list. But the bigger your guest list, the more money you’ll have to spend. You’ll have to pay for more invitations, more food to feed them all, more favors, etc.
Keeping the number lower will allow you to save money, splurge a little more on the details, and you’ll be able to spend more time with each of your guests.
Having fewer guests may mean the difference between having an open bar or just serving a signature drink, beer, and wine. Or having the extra money for that expensive wedding gown that you fell in love with, or the live musicians for the ceremony.
Well there you have it, 5 steps to starting your wedding planning. These are just the first of many, but they’ll help you begin your journey along the path to planning your wedding easier.
Love Wedding Planning