5 Tips to Start Planning Your Wedding
I get it! Planning a wedding is not easy. And it is hard to figure out where to start. When I got engaged I felt at a total loss because I wasn't sure what to do first. After planning a wedding, helping friends and family plan their weddings, and being a wedding photographer I have seen that these five steps are the best place to start when it comes to your wedding planning journey.
1. Figure out your budget.
The best place to start in the wedding planning journey is to figure out what your budget is going to be. This will involve conversations with your fiancé, parents, and maybe a few others. Ask how much they would be willing to contribute. This includes both the brides parents and the grooms parents. Whether you have a large, average, or small budget, you can make it work.
2. Put together a guest list.
Your venue and budget depend on the amount of guests that will be attending your wedding. Put together a first draft of your guest list and try to get an estimate for the amount of people you want to invite. According to The Knot, around 48-50% of your budget will go to the reception. This includes a lot of different things but a big one is food. If you know how many people you want to have you can figure out an estimate on how much food will cost you.
3. Find a venue.
Now that you have a budget and an estimated guest count you can look at different venues. Do not let these venues pressure you into booking the second you get there. Make sure to ask a lot of questions. There are small fees that venues will tack on that they may not let you know up front. You cannot let them leave one single thing blank on the contract. If they don’t know an exact number then you need them to fill in an estimate. You may want to ask if there is a sample budget that you can see from another bride and how much they spent. Things can get a lot pricier than you expect when you start to add small charges that you didn’t know about from the beginning. Make sure to ask if they are going to charge tax and gratuity and an estimate on this.
If you are planning on getting married outside you need to think from day one that it will rain on your wedding day. This is always a possibility and you need to prepare yourself for that. You also need to have a rain plan. Does this mean a tent? Does the venue have a rain plan?
- What do you need to rent?
- What do they have that you can use?
- What is their maximum seating capacity?
- Are there bathrooms?
- Do you have enough outlets or do you need to rent a generator?
- What is their policy about catering / alcohol?
- Is there a set up / tear down charge?
- Is there a cleaning charge?
- Can you use candles?
- How many decorations can you use?
- Can you put things on the walls?
- When can you start setting up?
- How much time do you get for the rehearsal?
- Where can you get ready on the day of?
4. Decide on feel/aesthetic.
We live in the world of Pinterest and Instagram. I mean come on, I had my Pintrest wedding board for years before my wedding. I had been slowly collecting ideas of things I wanted for my wedding before I even started dating my husband! This can be extremely overwhelming when you are starting to plan your wedding. We want to do it all but the real truth is that you cant DIY everything. Start a new Pintrest board with only things you want to implement in your wedding. Narrow down the colors and the feel of the wedding. Create your own mood board to work off of. I promise this will save you so much time and headache in the long run.
5. Contact photographers.
Photographers tend to book out pretty far in advance. Once you have a list of photographers you want to contact, send them all emails and ask for their pricing guide. Typically eight hours is a great amount of time to have a photographer with you on your wedding day. After looking these over, decide who you want to choose based not only on their price, but also who will do the best job at making you feel calm and cared for on your wedding day. Your photographer will be with you during your whole day and you want to make sure it is someone you feel comfortable with. This may mean you go on a couple coffee dates or have a Skype call. After your wonderful wedding is over you will have the photographs to look back on.
I promise you can do this! It may seem a bit overwhelming now but it will all be worth it. Remember, you are planning a wedding to start your marriage. Focus of taking time away and dating your fiancé without any talk of the wedding. This is just as much planning as anything else! Happy planning friends!