First of all, we are super excited for you. It's one of the most wonderful experiences and we want you to enjoy every minute of it! There's a lot to do, but with a little help you will sail smoothly through the whole process and have a gorgeous wedding day that you've always dreamt of. Below are a few suggestions that we recommend for keeping things running on time, on the budget, and stress-free.
This is going to be the number one selection you need to make. It drives every other decision. Why? Because the venue you select may not be available on the date you initially want to get married and you may have to choose an alternate date or even an alternate venue. Pick one you love, one that fits your guest list. Ask around to friends and read reviews. It may look gorgeous but if they are hard to work with it can make your wedding day less than enjoyable.
Once you've found your perfect venue, act face to secure the date. The wedding world is a fast-paced animal that waits for no-one and dates are gone in a flash. This holds true for almost every vendor as well.
Once you've secured your venue (meaning, paid your deposit and signed a contract, otherwise it's not secure) you can put that date on the calendar and start sharing it with friends and family, vendors, wedding party members, and anyone else you feel should know. Share as far in advance as you can because you want to make sure they aren't making other plans on your big day.
Use Google docs to start your wedding list and all details. Google has a great starter spreadsheet made just for planning weddings. It's a cloud-based document that you can share with others.
Probably one of the more difficult tasks for folks and one of the most important. People are often scared to see that number and reluctant to share it. But once you get comfortable with the idea of how much you feel comfortable spending, you'll feel a sense of relief. What you need to do is get with everyone involved who is contributing to your wedding and see what you have to work with, then create the budget.
Every single vendor you will work with will need to know what your budget is and it's best to be upfront about it with them all. It will save you time and you can get to the vendors who are more in line with your budget quicker.
As a floral designer, I can't even work with you until I know what your budget is. Not that I only work with certain budgets, but more that flowers vary in price so much, it's impossible to give you pricing if I have no idea where to start.
Start creating your budget with The Knot. There are many others, but they offer a lot of great resources for engaged couples.
As I mentioned about the venue, dates go quickly so time is of the essence when hiring pros. You'll need to narrow down the help you need and then contact them as soon as possible to secure the date with them once you know that they are a good fit.
If you hire a planner, then you can mark the heavy lifting off your list because the planner will do the searching and initial contact for you once they understand your style and presences. They will prepare a list of preferred vendors, check their availability and arrange a meeting or gather pricing for you. Then you just need to say yes or no.
If you go the DIY route, then you'll need to be prepared to choose which of these vendors you'll need to carry out your plans:
Day Of Coordinator
DJ & Entertainment
Hair & Makeup Artist
To book, most require at least a non-refundable deposit to hold your date and a signed contract. You aren't booked, in most cases, until this is done. Don't let a little paperwork stand in the way of your dream wedding day!