3 ideas for get your wedding planning started the right way
Planning a wedding is often the first full-scale event that we ever take on so when one doesn’t have a lot of experience, it’s important to know how to plan an event that hits the mark for your guests but doesn’t unexpectedly break the bank for you. As you get started in the planning process, you need to understand your budget, planning timeline, and identify whether or not you need professional help.
Ask yourself how much you can afford to spend for your event. How much will be your own money? How much help will you be getting from friends or relatives? How much are you willing to put on a credit card? What is that total amount? Now, think about the style that you’re going for and the vendors, services, and products that are important to you that you’ll want to include in your event. This includes everything such as your dress and accessories, tuxedos, invitations and other printed materials, expenses for your ceremony location and your officiant, your reception venue, catering and bar expenses, your cake, entertainment, décor, lighting, flowers, photographer, videographer, hair and makeup, favors and gifts, the rehearsal dinner, and even your honeymoon. Group your items based on whether they are fixed expenses that don’t change based on the number of guests (your dress, for example) or if they are variable based on the number of guests (food, bar, table decor, etc.). Think about the number of guests that might be on your guest list. You can begin to plug in some “guesses” to get an idea of what an overall cost might be. If it’s lined up with the amount that you’ll have to spend, that’s great, but if it’s not, you’ll need to identify the most important things and the least important things to make some adjustments.
2. Planning Timeline
Know what needs to be accomplished at each step of the way as you start your planning process. While you can begin the shopping process for vendors, in many cases you won’t be able to book them until you have a firm date and that means that selecting your venue will be the first major decision that will need to be made. Often, venues will book a year or more in advance, particularly if your wedding is during the “peak” seasons or if the venue is exceptionally popular. Once your venue is booked, you can work with the service providers that will need to be on hand the day of your event such as caterers, DJ’s, photographers, and others. Identify what needs to be done 9-12 months in advance, 6-9 months in advance, 4-6 months in advance, and the details that need to be completed in the remaining weeks before your event.
3. Getting Help
Couples often believe they can do it themselves and don’t think about getting professional planning help during the initial part of the process. The result can be not identifying all of the expenses early on and going over budget or having dependencies in the planning timeline that are overlooked that cause last-minute headaches. The cost of a professional event planner can often pay for itself because your planner will help you identify budget considerations and will know how much advance time is needed for the different elements of your event. Planners can assist with your entire event by developing your budget, managing your planning timeline, helping you create your event timeline, being the point-of-contact for all of your vendors, and being on hand for the event itself. They can also work with you on a smaller scale and help you through the budgeting and planning timeline process or with suggestions for doing things more cost-effectively while letting you take over once that’s done. Even if you’re the point-of-contact for your vendors, a planner can still be on hand to coordinate them on the day of the event.
Having the event that let’s your guests celebrate your love for one another that is tailored to your unique style doesn’t need to be a challenge as long as you take the time to understand the details early in the process and engage the help of a professional in the areas that you’re not sure about.