Things to Remember While Planning Your Wedding
Stress and Excitement
Understand that this will be both stressful and exciting at the same time. There will be days of complete joy, and days where you want to cancel the entire thing. Believe me, at this rate, I have had plenty of both of those days. Scott and I are on our third idea for this wedding, and the first two failed ideas were entirely frustrating toward their end.
Give yourself plenty of time
The amount of time it takes to plan a wedding will differ from couple to couple. Eloping somewhere private with no guests will require less planning and be less time consuming, but traditional weddings and destination weddings will take more time and coordination, especially if you are planning this yourself instead of using a wedding planner.
If you are planning a traditional style wedding, give yourself at least a year. This allows you extra time to come up with money, fill in your guest list, locate supplies, find dresses and vendors, as well as ensuring that you don't feel rushed as you go through the process. It can be difficult to pick a date where each of your vendors are available, and they are often booked a year in advance.
If you are planning a destination wedding, one year is also a decent amount of time to allow yourself. Destination weddings also require a lot of planning for your guests, and giving them a year to make plans for their homes, family, and pets gives them enough time to try to gather the funds necessary to be with you on the big day as well. Consider using a wedding planner for destination weddings, as planners in the area will be more familiar with sights, vendors, and locations to take photos.
"It can be difficult to pick a date where each of your vendors are available, and they are often booked a year in advance."
Set a budget
Many couples become discouraged halfway through their wedding planning as they begin to see the total rise with each part of the wedding. Setting a budget before you begin planning can ease some of the tension, and allow you to figure out where you can save money
Budget the wedding and the honeymoon separately! Although the honeymoon begins the second the wedding is over, you don't want to muddle the expenses and forget to plan your budget for your first trip as a married couple. Keeping a separate budget means that you know exactly what your total for the entire event will be, but can plan accordingly for each.
Budget items for the wedding should include:
- outfits for bride and groom
- reception venue
- tips for the vendors
While budget items for the honeymoon should include:
- car rental/gas expense
Accept help where you can get it
Each bride typically has their bridezilla moment, and often we forget that there are so many people around us that are willing to help or who are expecting to help with the wedding. Parents, step parents, grandparents, and people in the wedding party are typically elated to be able to assist in the planning process, cake decisions, decorating, or formal wear decisions. Allowing others to assist you will relieve some of the stress that comes with planning a wedding. You do not have to do it all by yourself.
For my wedding, my future Mother in Law is decorating the reception. She has assisted in decorating for so many other weddings, that she already has most of the decorations that we wanted, which means the cost of the decorations will be minimal. My parents know a DJ who decided to provide music and announcements for our wedding at no cost as a favor to my parents and a gift to Scott and myself. I chose the color for the clothing coordination for the wedding party, but allowed the girls nearly complete control when it came to choosing their dresses.
"You do not have to do it all by yourself."
Decide how big your wedding will be
This is a conversation that many couples don't have until they sit down and talk about the guest list. While it might seem like an easy step, it can be easy to over invite, creating a much larger wedding than some intended to have.
If you are having a more private wedding, invite immediate family and your closest friends. This often results in a wedding that consists of thirty or less people, keeps food costs low, and allows for a smaller venue. Small private weddings can often be inexpensive.
If you want a traditional wedding with family, yet don't want it to be large, invite your immediate family, close friends, and some of your closer "distant" relatives. Aunts, uncles, cousins that you spend a lot of time with as you grew up, and friends that you feel close with. This can provide a wedding with a guest list of 100 people or less, still requires a decent sized venue, and has the effect and feel of a larger party without having hundreds of people on the guest list.
If you are looking to throw a large wedding, this will get expensive quickly. Vendors often charge per person or per plate, and the pricing on the cake will often be figured by how many people will be eating. Large weddings require very large venues and churches, hundreds of invitations, and a lot of food. Alcohol will become more expensive, and you may not be able to say hello to each of your guests. These weddings are where you would typically invite everyone you know, acquaintances, coworkers, teachers, neighbors, family, friends, distant relatives, etc.
Organization is key
Staying organized helps when planning a wedding. This is why paid planners carry large binders around, so they can keep track of every detail. While you don't need to carry a large binder or briefcase around during your big day, using a planner or organizing binder as you plan will help you keep track of forms, vendors, dress ideas, guests lists, music requests and more. You can often hand this binder over to a parent or member of the wedding party on the big day if you feel it necessary to keep the event in motion.
"You can often hand this binder over to a parent or member of the wedding party on the big day if you feel it necessary to keep the event in motion."
Remember to Have Fun
While wedding planning can definitely be stressful, don't forget to have fun as you go. Meet with your wedding party for updates, dresses, cake tastings and more to keep your friends close as you go through this journey. Take plenty of pictures, even when something goes wrong to keep the memory alive for years. You are planning your forever, have fun along the way!