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Good Tips for Wedding Planning

Updated on November 6, 2017
Lori Leigh profile image

Lori works in the human resources department for NEMHS. She graduated from Thomas College with a bachelor's degree in communications and PR.

Brides Guide to Wedding Planning

As I am currently in the process of wedding planning myself, I have realized a lot of things that you do not really think of when you get engaged. Soon after getting engaged, you will get bombarded with questions from friends and family of where and when you are getting married. At first we had no idea of when we wanted to get married so our answer was simply "within the next couple of years or so!" After discussing with our families, we made the decision to get married September of 2018, which at the time of our engagement was about 1 1/2 years away. If you are like me and my family and need to save in order to pay for a nice wedding then 1 1/2 years should give plenty of time.

Top Ten Things to Plan

  • Wedding venues
  • Caterers
  • Photographers
  • Wedding dress
  • Wedding cake bakeries
  • Dj's
  • Bouquet's
  • Purchasing wedding bands
  • Purchasing wedding gifts for wedding party
  • Decorations

Picking a Wedding Venue

Something to think about if you are crunching your pennies is where you would like to get married. Nice rustic barn weddings can cost a fortune depending on where you get married. The same thing goes for waterfront weddings. All beautiful places to get married and to capture in photos, but you have to keep in mind that this is just one day. When I started the process of looking at venues in Maine, I was shocked at how much you can spend on just the venue alone! I wanted a rustic barn wedding but had a hard time finding one that was affordable for me and my family. I couldn't see spending $10,000 on just the venue without the cost of food. We ended up finding The Inn at Fogg Farm, located in Gray, Maine. The cost to rent the barn for just the day was only $3,000 compared to $10,000 that others were charging. We fell in love with the venue!

My advice to other upcoming brides that are searching for an inexpensive venue but still a nice venue is simple: Do your research! Ask friends and family members if they know of any decent inexpensive venues they have been to. Search on social media websites. Think about areas where you wouldn't have typically thought of at first. Our venue is next to a golf course, which wasn't my typical barn wedding I dreamed of, but after looking past that small detail, I realized I would rather put my money towards other things like food and decor!

Planning an Affordable Dinner Menu

The dinner menu is another huge expense when wedding planning! After getting quotes from countless caterers, I realized we needed to do something a little more affordable. We decided to do a pig roast, which still can get pricey depending on how many sides you do. There are other options for saving the huge expense in food by doing pot lucks with your family and friends bringing their favorite dishes. You can also look into hiring a couple of food trucks that serve simple yet tasty food for your guests and it adds to the rustic appeal of a rustic wedding. If you decide to go with a caterer or a pig roast type of dinner, you can also have your wedding party provide your own sides so that the cost can be a little more affordable. There are ways to cut costs and if you are on a budget like me, you will want to cut costs wherever you can! Yes it is great to have fancy hors d'oeuvre's served at your reception but you can also create your own platters of appetizers for guests to enjoy and not spend the crazy caterer fees! Yes, you will need to do the clean up and it will take more time out of your planning to prepare all of the extra dishes for your special day but in the end, your wallet will thank you!

Meet with Photographers

Do your research online or ask friends and family who they used on their special day. Plan meetings with more than one photographer and get quotes. Figure out your budget and what you are willing to spend. Your photographer, to some people, is one of the most important things at your wedding. They are capturing your special day so that you can hold onto the memories forever. Some people also choose to have a videographer so that they can watch their ceremony and cherish that memory. If you have the budget for it, this is where I would try to invest more of my money for your big day.

Say Yes to the Dress

Plan a fun girls day with your friends and mother. Go to more than one bridal shop and try on as many dresses as you want. You don't need to feel pressured to buy a dress that day but you may just find the one. I recommend going to multiple places because you may think you love a dress at one shop but a different shop might have a dress you like even more. It's always nice to keep your options open and also keep in mind to stay in budget. There are hidden costs when purchasing a wedding gown. If you want to wear a veil, that is an additional cost. If you want to wear a nice beaded belt, that is another added cost. Also keep in mind that you will need to get your dress fitted, which can be pricey depending on if your dress has a lot of detail. Just remember to try to stay under budget when buying your actual dress because of the additional costs involved with it.

Choosing a Wedding Cake

If you know what style you are looking for in a wedding cake that is the first step! Cake tasting is one of the best parts of wedding planning. It is usually free and you get to try all kinds of cake samples! The hardest part is picking the right flavor for both the cake and the frosting. Once you make those decisions you are in the clear! Wedding cakes can also be pretty pricey so again, do your research. Instead of getting a 3 or 4 tiered cake, sometimes it is best to do a smaller tiered cake and have a sheet cake or cup cakes for your guests.

Finding a DJ

Finding a good DJ is another thing you will need to research. You can research online in your area or ask friends who have recently gotten married in your area. Sometimes it is easier using someone that another person has already used because they can tell you first hand how well they did.

Picking your Flowers

The floral arrangements for the bouquets is another big decision to make for your wedding day. If you want to try and cut costs, you can do this by making your own. Places like Sams Club often have a large variety of flowers that you can purchase at a lower cost than at a floral shop and then you can style them yourself.

Purchasing your Wedding Bands

Wedding bands are often times forgotten about in the wedding planning process. These can be expensive, especially for the woman's wedding band. There are places where you can buy less expensive wedding bands online instead of spending top dollar. You can also purchase more simple rings for the ceremony and later down the road once you have more money, you can purchase the rings that you wanted if the budget isn't quite there.

Wedding Gifts for the Wedding Party

Another thing not to forget is the wedding gifts for your wedding party. This includes both sets of parents and the groomsman / bridesmaids. This can be expensive or it can be affordable depending on what you decide for gifts and how many people you have to buy for. Try to be realistic and get them something nice and thoughtful but not something that will break your bank either! Do your research on gifts that are affordable online.


Wedding decorations can be expensive or less expensive if you make them yourself. Have a craft night with the girls and create your own decor for the wedding! It can be a fun bonding time between the wedding party and it will save you in the long run.

In Conclusion

All and all, as long as you are happy and doing things the way that you want them to be on your special day that is all that truly matters! Saving as much money as you can in the process should be one of your main focuses throughout. Getting advice from friends and family is also very helpful but keep in mind that you are the main duo in the planning process and what you and your fiance want for your day is what you will get! Don't get me wrong, tips and ideas from your family and friends can very well put you in the right direction and you might find ideas that you didn't even think of yourself!

Just keep planning and do all of the research that you can to make your special day one that you will never forget!


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