Once the initial excitement of getting engaged wears off, the planning starts. With an average 16 month engagement in the US, there are certain key preliminary decisions to make that will get you started with the sequence of events to plan your wedding. Selecting key vendors such as your venue, entertainment, photographer/videographer, flowers, wedding dress, tuxedo, etc. Doing these steps first will get you on your way.
Come up with a tentative guest list to help determine and narrow down the venues that you may want to consider that will cater to your number of guests. Start off with the most important guests like immediate family and friends. Continue with extended family, then coworkers, neighbors, parents friends, etc. Then narrow down from the bottom up.
Come up with a budget and figure from where (savings, salaries, credit, etc) and possibly from whom (parents, grandparents, close friends). Funds will be coming to help pay for the venue and all the related costs of a wedding reception. Knowing and narrowing down the number of guests, as discussed above, will help determine your budget.
Next step, choose the locations of the ceremony and reception. Will both be at your venue or will the ceremony be in a different location? If in separate locations, you will have to account for travel time and accommodations for you and your guests. If you’re considering a destination wedding it is even more logistically challenging. Consider the extended travel, accommodations, and comfort for you and all invited guests. You’ll possibly have to deal with your vendors via email, phone calls, FaceTime/Skype and forego the comfort level of dealing with many of your vendors face to face.
Choose a theme, season, and day of the week for your wedding day based on your personal preferences. Season & day of the week can dramatically affect your budget. It will help your budget if you chose off peak months such as January & February. Also, considering a Sunday, Friday, or weekday can also significantly reduce your overall budget. The same venues and vendors you would be considering will cost much more on a Saturday and during peak wedding season. The theme or season you choose will affect your choice of decor and floral arrangements/centerpieces as well.
Hiring a wedding planner is an extra expense up front, but, for those couples with busy career schedules, can save you money & time throughout the whole planning process. By pointing you in the right direction and suggesting the sequence of events to plan your wedding. This also means recommending vendors who fit your personality, style, & budget. They can handle a lot of the grunt work to make it a less stressful & enjoyable experience as you plan your wedding and the smaller celebrations leading up to your wedding with close family & friends.
The Right Vendors
Hire vendors who book up quickly such as DJ/Band, photographers, & videographers so you can book someone who fits your style, personality, and budget. Higher quality & reputable vendors book up quickly and earlier in the planning process so don’t procrastinate and continue to check off items on your checklist.
Start shopping for your wedding dress. Finding the one that captures your heart and fits just right may take a lot of trial & error and many higher end gowns take many months to be delivered once ordered. You want to get it at least several weeks before the big day in case minor fitting adjustments need to be made.