So there is a chance that I have been slacking on the writing part of this wedding planning, but I can assure you I have not been slacking on the planning part.
As I expected, planning a wedding has been the easiest thing that I have ever done in my life. There has never been a reason to stress, every vendor is below budget and readily available for our date—this thing is practically planning itself! NOT.
Welcome back to crazy land!
The books lie to you. The next thing you have to do is figure out some sort of guest list. You have to bite the bullet and begin here so that you can figure out what sort of venue you can have based on the amount of people you will be hosting.
THIS IS NOT THE FINAL GUEST LIST. This is the first guest list of many.
Just elope already.
Actually book your venue.
So hopefully you’ve sat down with your significant other during this crazy time and discussed what you both want for your wedding day. Take out your paper and pretend to write down his/her ideas—because, hey, it’s their day too!
Then you go on Pinterest and get some inspiration for what you really want, because you are not actually entertaining the idea of a virtual arcade for the reception. End of story.
Don’t forget to decide on the month you want the shenanigans to take place during (don’t decide on a weekend because the venue will probably not be available on the day you actually want).
Send some emails to the venues in your area that you like so you can get a realistic idea of what they cost, and what sort of catering service they offer (What?! I thought the venue already included the food!?!), where they are located and how many guests they seat.
Go to some venue visits. Don’t get overwhelmed, do not book too many venue visits because it will get confusing. Only go to the ones that are in you budget, and that are in the area you want to get married in.
We only went to one venue visit because it was exactly what we wanted, it was in our price range, and if we didn’t book asap, there would have been no fall dates left.
For us we were looking for a rustic chic venue that would cater to around 200 guests. We booked:
Keep in mind that getting married on a day that isn’t Saturday will save you a few bucks.
You have to figure out if you want to have the ceremony at the same place as the reception—and if the venue offers this service. A lot of people get married in a different location which means that you have to book the ceremony separately, and you have to make sure that the locations for the ceremony and the venue are available for the same date. Start with the venue as ceremonies are shorter and easier to book. Better yet—do everything at the same place and you won’t have this problem.
Assuming that you have booked your venue based on what your budget says, find out what they usually do for catering services. Most venues do their own food etc., but some do not. This can be great because you are able to shop around for the best food prices. Realistically, it means one more vendor that you have to book and remember to pay.
The venue will likely send you a list of “preferred vendors”, basically vendors in the area that most people have used. A vendor is the word used for all the different people/services you hire for the wedding (photographer, caterer, DJ etc.). Go through this list. If you like all of the vendors, book them all and you have planned your wedding… I chose to do things the hard way…sans list.
Book your caterer. Have an idea of menu, but don’t worry about choosing that until a little later. The caterer will tell you the time frame that they usually work in, and when you can have a taste testing. YUM!
FIND A PHOTOGRAPHER. Your wedding lasts one day….your photographs will last a lifetime whether you like them or not. These are the photos your future 10-year-old daughter will look at and admire or look at and laugh.
Start looking up photographers that you like and try not to faint at the prices.
BEST SECRET EVER
Email the photographers you like and ask who their assistants and second shooters are. Then look up these people and see what their prices are like. Often the names that pop up on google first are the more expensive, and yes more popular photographers—however they usually have assistants who are incredibly experienced and way more affordable. This way you might, in fact, stay on budget.
I am so excited to work with Martina Wendland from: http://martinawendland.com/
Book quickly because they are reasonably priced, and will get scheduled really fast.
Decorations. This is what my mind immediately jumps to when I think “wedding”. Mainly because scrolling through Pinterest gives you the best ideas ever, albeit not always the cheapest.
I will admit to you that I spent last summer thinking that I will have paper flowers made of old book pages. I started making them, and sure they looked great—but they were not real flowers and they never would compare to real flowers.
Really truly think about how much you do want to decorate and how you are going to go about doing this. The vintage chic decorations are really in style and there are a bunch of fun things you can do yourself.
Do you want bouquets/flower decorations at your wedding?
Then you need a florist. Try and think of what you are thinking re flower decorations before you start contacting any florists, because they will need to know what you want, and if you are unclear or uncertain you will start paying through the roof for flowers that you are likely allergic to.
Think of ways you can minimize costs—flowers that can be both decorations for the ceremony and the reception. Things like that will help keep costs down. If you all have bouquets, you won’t need flowers for the head table—just keep some water vases/jars at the head table so you can put the bouquets in.
Now you may start contacting florists. One thing I hated about this part was that all of their websites looked the same and I could get no sense of who they were, or what they would be like to work with…until I found Robyn:
She’s the best. She has great ideas, great prices and is very original. If you can use her, or find someone like her—I would recommend it!
Say yes to the dress!
This is it! The moment you have always dreamed about. Finding your dress. Don’t worry you WILL have that magical feeling that apparently everyone gets when they find the perfect dress, you WILL stick in your price range because the T.V show you watch religiously is absurd with budgets, you WILL NOT find this experience stressful in any way because shopping for something so perfect has ALWAYS been easy.
Unless…you find the perfect dress on one of your first dress shopping experiences and you get stressed because you feel like it’s too soon to commit, and there might be something better. Plus you didn’t exactly feel like you had that magical moment that everyone always has on TV. ,and it’s a lot of money to spend on one outfit that you are only ever going to where once…
Okay so it’s harder than it sounds. But you’ve already committed to the most important thing… now just pick a dress and stop looking.
Other than staying in your budget (and remember that has to include alterations as well!), and making sure you have some fun on you excursions—once you find your dress STOP LOOKING AT DRESSES. You will make yourself crazy if you do. And lets face it, you already are crazy…focus on planning the rest of your wedding…not re-planning something that is already planned.
I leave you with these steps for now. Good Luck!