Planning a wedding?... Where the heck to start?? You just got engaged and as you come down from the cloud of complete euphoria you may realize that oh snap! I actually have to plan this thing. One of the first things I tell my clients (and friends and family.... and anyone who will listen lets be honest) is the first thing you need to do is sit down with your new; almost wedded boo and come up with a game plan. This game plan should include a budget, a style, a theme, and some idea of the when and where. I will break down for you in this blog why its important to have all of these elements locked down before you dive into planning and tips to help you along the way.
Photo Source: Wedding Wire
Why a budget and why is discussing money so important when it comes to planning a wedding? Discussing money immediately after you get engaged may feel awkward at first and it may even bring up some uncomfortable discussions about money spent and who is contributing what, but all the more reason to get it out of the way right? The reason I start with budget is you can have all the amazing wedding dreams and visions in your head but the reality will come down to what you can afford. I hate seeing people come to me with a wish list a mile long but a budget that can only accommodate a quarter of that. At the end of the day your budget will allow you to approach all of your vendors with a clear idea of how much money you have to allocate to each item. It will make the entire planning process that much smoother and you will be thanking me later... I promise!
Some of my favorite budgeting tools for specifically weddings are: A practical Wedding, The Knot's Wedding Budget Calculator
Photo Source: WedNova, Pinterest
Style, and Aesthetic are so extremely important. Obviously for a slightly type A (Maybe A-) event planner this would be my number one where for you personally it may be low on your list and that's ok, thats where I come in to help! The reason that choosing a style from the jump is so important because again it allows you and your partner to shop for your vendors and plan your day with ease when you already have a clear idea of the "look" you are going for. When you don't have a clear idea that is when you get overwhelmed, go over budget, or buy and pick a bunch of hodge podge stuff that has no relation to one another. You don't need to get so specific as to make sure every corner of your venue is covered in a specific color or flower, but it is nice to have a streamlined style throughout your day. Here is an example; I had a client who wanted a rustic countryside theme. Her and her fiance were extremely outdoorsy, had family coming from multiple states and wanted to make sure they picked a location that was as aesthetically beautiful as their weekend trips and travels, and wanted to make sure they incorporated specific rustic elements that allowed their guests to relax and feel completely entrenched in the environment. Setting those intentions and goals from the beginning was so key in how we proceeded to plan their big day. Oh, and I forgot to mention they also had a firm budget they did not want to go over! This made searching for the perfect venue a piece of cake. I knew very specifically the direction to point them in given their desire for rustic locale within their budget. With their mountainside cabin venue booked, moving on to all the other vendors also felt like a breeze. Even something so specific like the style of photos lets you be very detail oriented when choosing a photographer. It may seem unimportant at the moment but there are so many different styles of wedding photography that knowing what you prefer will go a long way to ensure you like your wedding album. I could really wax poetic about this subject but I will just end this part by saying when you take time to decide on a style for your big day every single person involved has a very clear picture as to how they can contribute to making your day look and feel exactly how you want it. If you are someone who says "I have been picturing this day forever", the sure fire way to make that statement truth is to outline your theme, style and aesthetic from the beginning. Wedding planning can and most likely will cause a little bit of stress that is very natural, but my most carefree brides and grooms are hands down the ones who are most organized.
I am a HUGE fan of Pinterest and to me that is the easiest place to start a vision or style blog for your ideas. As a wedding planner I make sure that my ideas are here too so I can go back and draw inspiration from them as well. It is a fantastic place to start with everything from color combinations, bridal party style, dress and suite ideas, cake, food inspiration, the list goes on. Do yourself a favor and if you don't have one join Pinterest.
The other things I would suggest to start off your wedding planning is to use the experts that have already created guidlines to help you feel less lost and frazzled. I always recommend The Knot's Ultimate Wedding Planner and Organizer by Carley Roney It is filled with checklists, budget assistance and lots of helpful tidbits. I also think a 12 month wedding planner is super helpful if you are someone who likes to stay on track and feels inspired that way. The queen of weddings herself Mindy Weiss has an extensive one sold at Amazon, The Wedding Planner & Organizer
Lastly, and I promise this isn't a sales pitch, I truly believe if you are going to or considering hiring a wedding planner this is one of the first things you should do as well. Our job is to do all of this heavy lifting so you don't have to. If you have vision for your day but have no clue how to bring it all together, ask a wedding planner for their ideas and or opinions (I guarantee we'll have lot's of them). The purpose of a wedding planner is to be the guide and the checklist and the sounding board. This is one of those vendors that you should include in your budget in the beginning, as to not panic at the last minute and not have the remaining budget to hire a planner and or coordinator. I have heard maybe twice in a decade of friends and family regretting who they chose as a planner, but I have yet to hear from anyone that it wasn't money well spent. Do your research always, find one reputable and within your budget, and I promise you wont regret adding this vendor to your team.
I hope this was helpful, please feel free to reach out, comment, or email if you have any questions.... Until next time!