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A Beginners Guide To Wedding Planning

Updated on March 4, 2015
linfcor profile image

Online wedding planner for over 10 years. My goal has been to show everyone the best way to plan their wedding without breaking the bank !

Create The Wedding Of Your Dreams

Every couple wants to have the most memorable wedding ! We all have the fantasy of what our wedding should be. Creating that fantasy into reality can seem like a daunting task. But it doesn't have to be at all. It just takes a little planning, a little love and a few ideas. That's jusy what we are here to do, provide you with the inspiration, information and ideas to get you going.

Start by thinking about the most important "must have's" for your wedding. What are the three most important things you must have for your wedding. Is it a designer dress? Is the reception the most important part? Is having great music a big deal?

Getting it right from the day of your engagement means that you involve your groom in every aspect of the planning

Getting Started

Staying organized and focused is a big part of your wedding planning. I really like the published planning books. For the price and the planning guides, they are well worth the money. But you can also use the resources of the internet to find all kinds of free forms and timetables. I suggest that you get a loose leaf binder. Add some pocket dividers so that you can store notes and receipts. Tab your sections and you are ready to get your planning started

The Building Blocks Of Your Wedding - Breaking It Down For Easier Planning

So, now you are planning a wedding. It seems overwealming trying to get all of it done , But thinking about your wedding in small chunks takes the stress away. Here is an easy way to get your planning done without the stress ! The two main elements of your wedding are the ceremony and your reception.This is the foundation of everything you are planning. So using these as your two main catagories where everything else falls into place makes it much easier. Wedding apparel is a separate category, we'll cover later.

  1. Your Ceremony I know that many people prefer to have their ceremony at a church or synagogue, but if you can, and need to save money, then I highly recommend having your ceremony at your recepetion venue. You can save lots of money. You won't need to hire a limo.Your guests won't have to travel from another location to your venue. Generally you can save monry by using one location. Having said that, either way , the elements of your ceremony includes procession, the wedding ceremony, unity or additional ceremonies that you want, a recessional ,a reception line. After that pictures will be taken before the reception.The additional things to consider include any church décor, any music, the officient, any programs.
  2. Your ReceptionThis is the second element to your wedding. The basics for this event include the intorduction of the wedding party, a bridal dance, a blessing of the meal-if desired, the toasts, the actual meal, entertainment, and the cake cutting. The things to consider here are what the meal will be,the dj or band, the reception décor. That's as easy as it is. Don't fuss with details right now, just focus on these two elements as you start thinking about the process

Setting Your Budget

he First Step In Your Planning

Before you can start anything, you need to know how much you have to work with. Between you, your husband to be and your parents , you need to set a realistic amount of money that you have to work with. Why do this as the first step? Well, if you don't you could easily go over your budget within the first month of your planning. You need to have that figure in front of you ! My 2011 wedding with all the bells and whistles came in at under $11,0000 and that was for 125 people at a local country club with a full service buffet, a dj, a photographer, full bar service, cake and all the trimmings. You have to know what finnancial resources are available to you first. Like every other couple, you will go a little over that amount on average by 15% .

Everything will not be due all at once, but most vendors will require a down payment of some type for their services. They will tell you when payment in full will be expected. That is usually closer to the wedding date. You can set a realistic budget without going into debt for your wedding.

Wedding Budget Breakdown

Are you wondering how to breakdown your budget? Here are the essentials that you should be considering on your wedding budget, no matter what the total amount of your budget is ! Remember, keeping in your budget is an essential goal to all your planning. These are a guideline on what you can expect. How much you decide to spend in each area is up to you !

  • Reception- 48.5 % This is the largest part of your budget. It makes sense that it would be with the food, room ect. Of that budget, you could expect that the food would be about 30 % (that would also include tax and gratuities), The bar tab would be 8 % and the cake would be about 2.5% (that would include a fee for setting up and serving the cake. Always go for a package deal whenever possible- you will get more for your money
  • Ceremony 2.6% This is an average amount that varies depending on how many extras you decide to have. The location will come in at about 1%. The officient is about 1 % also. There may be a few extras at about .6% for set up and clean up
  • Attire-9.9% This would include the bridal gown and everything that goes with it. Bridal gown accounts for about 6% of that amount. The veil would be at about 1 % Accessories amount to 1% Hair ,make up and extras fill in the rest of the budget here
  • Flowers and Décor-8% This amount can vary greatly depending on how many and how big your arrangements will be at the ceremony and reception. The bridal bouquet amounts to about .75% Depending on how many bridesmaids you have the amount would add up to about 1 % . Flowers for the males in your bridal party amount to .2%. For any flower girls, you could expect to add .15% Additional flowers for other attendants, parents, ect would add another .4% Centerpieces add another 4%.And ceremony flowers come in at 1.4 %
  • Rings-2 % Adding lots of bling to your rings can raise the costs of your budget
  • Transportation -3 % You can cut this out completely by either having your reception at the same location as the reception or using your own cars
  • Gifts-3% These would be gifts to your bridal party and or parents. It could also include gifts to each other.
  • Music-8% Either a DJ or a band will be an essential part of your budget. Ceremony is at 1 % Reception is at 6% (watch out for overtime fees and set up extras) Packages can include some lighting. Want more ? Extras can quickly add up, Negotiate with your musicians or Djs, especially if your ceremony and reception is on the same location. Skip the pre-reception music to save some money.
  • Video and Photography -12 % This is an important part of your wedding, but the extras in this part of your budget can add up quickly
  • Stationary-3% This would include your invitations, save the dates, postage and programs

Your Bridal Gown

Thoughts About It's Significance

Every Bride wants to see herself as a princess on her wedding day. She sees a vision of tulle and lace. But as a reality check, it's time to really think about that dress and it's significance to you. This is a dress that you will wear for maybe -6 hours of your life. As you plan your wedding and think about your budget, you have to think about what is most important. If you have the $5,000-$10,000 dollars to spend , then go for it. But more and more, brides are considering the investment in a weak economy. Remember, no matter what you spend on that dress, after the wedding, it's going into a closet somewhere. You have to make that decision where your money is best spent.

Formal Or Casual

Do you see your wedding as a formal event or a more casual party? This is one of the first questions to answer between you and your groom to be

What Was Or Is Your Wedding Gown Budget?

What have you or did you spend on your wedding gown

See results

Setting Your Theme

The next step in your planning is to set your theme. Your theme can be a color or color based theme or some common interest you both share ! It can be a season or a holiday. It can be just about anything you can think of ! Setting your theme saves you money and coordinates all your décor to make a professional and pleasing event

Your Wedding Reception

How To Get Started With Your Wedding Reception

The second part of your wedding day is your reception. This takes more planning than all the rest. You are holding a very special party for your family and friends, and you sure want your party to be successful.What is to be considered? Décor, music, food and drink. Within the framework of those four catagories you will be making decisions about what and how you want your party to be. All of this happens within the framework of your budget !

What kind of things do you need to consider for your reception?

  • The number of guests that you would like as well as what your budget will carry
  • The type of meal you would like to have
  • What kind of liquor service you want to carry
  • Where you will purchase the cake, what kind of cake and how big a cake
  • What kind of favors you will want
  • What type of entertainment- DJ or live band
  • What type of centerpieces
  • What kind of decorations for your reception room
  • What time of day and what day you would like to hold your reception
  • The color and theme of your reception

Wedding Planning Tools - Free Charts, Guides and Planning Tools For Your Wedding

Every great event needs lots of preparation and planning. Your wedding is no different. There are lots of details to attend to, but they don't have to drive you crazy. Staying organized from the first day of your planning is the key. Here is my favorite collection of free online resources for all your wedding planning needs. The best part about them is that they don't have to cost you a cent-they are all free !

Setting A Timetable

An important step to your wedding planning includes setting a timetable. This is like a calendar for all the planning and days that lead up to your wedding day. Time tables are usually included in planning books or you can create your own time table with a number of forms that can be found on the internet

What should you include in your wedding timetable?

  • Your wedding date, time and location, once that information is set
  • Any meetings with vendors, any dates where money is due to vendors
  • The time, location and date for any bridal showers or pre wedding dinners
  • Any appointments for dress fittings
  • Any appointments for photographers
  • Any appointments for hairdressers, nails, facials, ect

We'd Love To Hear From You

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