I wanted to start a series on this blog that deals with the more practical side of planning a wedding or event. We all know I love the pretty but I am also a very organized person. Who says we can’t have the practical with the pretty, anyway?
Where better to start than at the very beginning? After the initial excitement, glee, shock of getting engaged starts to die down the pressures of actually planning can creep up and take over. Though there are a lot of factors involved with planning a wedding – some of them fun and some of the infuriating – it doesn’t have to be SO hard. Here is my advice from a planner and a bride’s point of view.
Focus on the How and not the What
Instead of diving right into what you want your wedding to look like start to think about how you want your wedding to feel. This is a great piece of advice that I found over at 2000 Dollar Wedding.
Start backwards -
“1. What do you want to think and feel about your wedding when it’s all said and done?
2. What do you want your guests to think and feel about your wedding when it’s all said and done?
3. What are the smaller details that align with creating those feelings?”
Keep the goals you come up with here in mind while deciding what elements to incorporate. It will help keep you sane and grounded.
No one likes to think or talk about money but this has to be one of the first conversations you have with your partner and with anyone else you feel should be involved (parents, grandparents, etc.). Don’t assume someone wants or doesn’t want to contribute. You don’t want to be stuck the day before the wedding with no money to pay the caterer because you thought someone else was taking care of it.
Unless you have helped plan a wedding, you will be surprised by how much things cost when planning a wedding. Check the average cost of a wedding in your area. Most likely this price tag is not for the platinum wedding like you might believe. Remember your goals and visions. Make a list of the most important elements for you as a couple (not the elements that magazines or TV shows tell you are important) and handle these obstacles first. Do a lot of research and come up with a realistic number. Know that most likely you will go over this number but hopefully by sticking to your goals it won’t be by much.
There are some (not all) vendors that hear the word “wedding” and suddenly bounce you to a whole new price bracket. If you do your research and find a team of professionals that you trust most likely they will give you a price that is fair to you and to them.
Make some Connections
Though you don’t need to book EVERY vendor right away there are a few that you might want to get out of the way first just for peace of mind. The big one that comes to mind is the venue. Some venues book faster than others depending on the type of space you decide works with your overall goal and vision. Once you check this off the list you can take a deep breath and relax for a little while.
Prioritize the next vendors by who needs to actually be present at the wedding. This would include the officiant. Also the caterer and photographer (if you choose to include these items into your vision) could be included in this list. Stationary designers, etc.
can be booked a little later on.
No matter when or how you decide to book vendors make sure you do your research and feel comfortable with each one. There are so many options out there now it would be difficult to find someone you didn’t feel a connection with and who didn’t support your vision. Ask friends for references before relying on some random blog or website. Do the research, ask a lot of questions and read the bottom lines. Make sure you talk about that nasty b-word. Most vendors will customize packages to fit your needs.
Let’s Get Organized
Figure out how you like to be organized. For me that meant starting a blog and a tumblr since most of my inspiration came from online. For you, that might mean a binder or a notebook. Whatever makes you feel the most calm.
If you come across something that you like on a website or in a magazine- vows, flowers, a project – stick it in the inspiration place. Don’t act upon any impulses right away as most likely your preferences will change slightly throughout the process. You will save money and your sanity by collecting images and ideas first and making decisions and purchases later on. At about 6 months away from the date, take everything you found and separate it into piles or groups depending on what it is (one group for bouquets, one group for table decor, etc.). You will probably find a cohesive theme through the images. Once you have figured out that theme write out what you will need in order to make it a reality.
But Most of All
Remember what this day is really all about. You are starting a new life with the person you have chosen above all others. The person you love and respect and care about. It isn’t about spending the most money or putting on the best show. There will be moments of panic but if you keep focused on the true meaning then it will help you through those (hopefully few and far between) occurrences.