You're Engaged? Congrats!
Now let's get started planning your wedding. These 9 steps will get you started like a pro.
Step 1: Crunch Those Numbers
Before signing any contracts or hiring any vendors, your first step is to know your numbers.
Guest Count - You need to have a good idea of your guest count in order to make early decisions. Break your potential guest lists into groups to help you decide who you will invite and who you think will attend. Every guest who attends adds to the final budget. The best way to keep the budget low is to keep the guest count small.
Budget - This one is a tough one! You want to balance all those beautiful images you see on Pinterest with your need to pay your electric bill. A quick estimate to get you started is that every guest will cost you $150 - $350 each. You need to decide who will pay for what and what aspects are most important to you. Don't forget to include service fees, taxes and tips into your final budget.
Every couple is unique and how they choose to spend their money varies according to their wedding vision. Some couple choose to spend more in one category while saving money in another. Ask yourself if the things you are wanting to buy will add memories or value. If it doesn't, then it is just ..... stuff. The most important things are your wedding don't cost money....laughter, joy, hugs and the smiles of friends and family.
Step 2: Hire a Planner
If you are thinking about hiring a planner, now is the step to do it. It is much easier for a planner to help you find the right venue and choose the best vendors before any contracts have been signed. A good planner will recommend vendors that match your style and budget. They can advise you on where to spend money and where to save money as well as ways to maximize your budget.
Step 3: Choose some Dates
Create a list of your ideal dates. Narrow it down to season and your favorite 2 or 3 dates. Don't forget to look at national holidays, important family dates and events, and large local events going on the at the same time.
Step 4: Think about your Wedding Style
When talking about your wedding vision, it helps to mention your wedding style. What is style? Style is the overall look and feel that guides the design. It makes the day feel coherent.
So you do you determine your wedding style. Think about what kind of party you want to have and the photos that most appeal to you. Some common styles are:
- Romantic/ Muted
- Fun/ Party
- Retro/ Vintage
- Old Fashioned/ Homespun
- Glamorous/ Elegant
- Asian/ Zen
- Rustic/ Casual
- Floral/ Garden
- Outdoor/ Natural
Step 5: Look at Venues
Think about the style of wedding you want and make a list of venues that fit. (Read more about wedding styles) Knowing your budget, guest count, and possible dates, you can narrow down your potential list. Each venue has their own requirements for catering, rentals, lighting, bartending, etc.
Step 6: Think about your Bridal Party
Start thinking about who you would like to invite to be a part of your bridal party. It could be your sister, childhood best friend, or college roommate. It is fine to be non-traditional and include your friends on either the bride or grooms side.
Step 7: Book your Photographer
Booking a photographer is a personal decision. You want to find the best combination of budget, photography style, and personality. If you know what photographer you want, book them quickly. While every bride has a budget, photography is the one area where you should always splurge. In 20 years, the flowers and cake will be gone, but the photographs will last.
Step 8: Book your Caterer
Along with all of the fun and dancing, comes eating and drinking. Food can range from full meals to appetizers to light snacks. Having food that everyone enjoys and remembers is a high priority for many brides. Depending on the time of day and the style of your wedding, food can be served in different ways.
• Seated - guests remain at the table and food is brought to each guest
• Family style - guests remain at the table and food is brought on large platter which are passed around the table
• Buffet - guests select their food from a selection of food at long tables
• Food station - a twist on buffet with different selections of food strategically placed around the room
• Passed - Waiters offer food on trays to standing guests
Step 9: Stay Sane
The most important key to successful wedding planning is staying sane.
Take a deep breath and relax. It is useful to remember this during the entire process. Working on wedding details and logistics can be stressful, and if it isn't, dealing with family usually is.
• Take time away from wedding planning. Go away for the weekend or just out to the movies.
• Take a "me" day and get your nails done or a massage.
• Don't add to the stress by adding a lot of stuff because someone else thinks it should be that way. Your wedding, your way.
• There are always things that go wrong or are outside of your control. What will be, will be.
• Keep everything in perspective. No matter what, at the end of the day, you and the person you love will be happily married.
Need more help? Grab a copy of the Smart Wedding Kickstart Guide with 18 pages of tips, worksheets and more.
Engaged? Now get wedding planning started right. Work through this as a couple.
This workbook is different than the usual wedding checklist or wedding planner. It starts before the timeline to help you personalize decisions. It allows you to:
*Make important decisions as a couple
*Determine your wedding priorities
*Personalizing your wedding
*Answer important first questions
*Know when to hire your wedding vendors and in what order
Before you sign any contracts, work through these tips and worksheets to get started and hone in on your wedding as a couple. Don't get overwhelmed with all the decisions. Get a clear idea of where to start!
18 Pages filled with advice & tips. Printable worksheets with questions to answer as a couple. Know what is important to you. Know what to do first and when to hire vendors.