Hooray, you’re engaged!! You have a sparkly new ring on your finger, you’re practicing saying “my fiance” instead of “my boyfriend/girlfriend” and you’re getting a flood of happy messages from family & friends.
And then the questions begin: When’s the big day? Where are you getting married? What are your colors?
Cue the frantic googling/Pinteresting/spreadsheets.
Before you dive into the wild and overwhelming world of wedding planning sit down with your fiance and make a few key decisions first. This will keep you focused and lead you towards the day you envision.
THE 5 WEDDING PLANNING BASICS: WHAT, WHO, HOW, WHERE, WHEN:
First create a shell of what you want your day to look like. Have you always dreamed of a tented wedding? Do you want to get married in your family’s church? Do you have a lot of family/friends that would have to travel and find lodging?
Think about the general flow of the day and how you want it to feel. If you have the ceremony and reception on the same property there’s less rushing around and more time to hang out with your loved ones. If your ceremony and reception sites are in different locations you’ll have to allot time for travel. Make a basic outline of how you want the day to flow and build on that.
2. THE WHO
The next step is to list out all the people you want to invite. Having a rough idea of your guest count will help you set a budget and choose a venue. Start making a list within a wedding planning app or google spreadsheet (use something that you can add addresses to and keep track of yes/no’s later) Start with immediate family and work outwards to friends, work friends, parent friends, etc.
3. THE HOW
Time to talk about the budget. Have an honest conversation with your families and ask them what they’re comfortable contributing. Everyone’s financial situation is different and it’s important that everyone feels good about the budget. I would also recommend using a site that allows you to create a budget and manage communication with vendors. It’s sooo much easier to have everything in one place and be able to see where your money is going and how much is left.
Be prepared for some sticker shock when researching vendors. Weddings are a one time event and there’s a lot of work that vendors have to do to make sure your details are perfect. Pick 2-3 areas of your wedding that are a priority and adjust the rest of your budget accordingly. For example, you might decide that food, photography, and florals are a priority so you may have to adjust your expectations in other areas.
4. THE WHERE
What kind of venue do you want to get married at? Are you dreaming of a seaside reception on the cape? A rustic barn in New Hampshire? A historic home with beautiful gardens? Once you narrow down the feel of your venue start looking for places that fit the bill. Set up a few site visits and ask what’s included and what you’ll have to supply on your own. A lot of venues charge substantially more for a Saturday evening wedding. Do you have your heart set on a Saturday or would a Friday date work just as well?
5. THE WHEN
It’s time to set a date! Some things to consider. Summer and fall are popular times to get married. Many venues book up a few years in advance. If you’re flexible with your date it’s a good idea to visit a few venues and see what they have available. Once you get that locked down you can start booking other vendors.
6. VENDORS TO BOOK FIRST
Venue: Many book up years in advance and a lot of other vendors won’t let you book them unless you have a date and venue.
Ceremony Location: If you’re not getting married at your reception venue it’s also important to find and book a ceremony location early on.
Planner: Some couples like to hire a planner before they go venue hunting. A planner can help you look for a venue and they can help you with all your other vendors. Many times a planner can help you save money, as they have experience working within a budget and know the ins and outs of planning.
Photographer/Videographer: Photographers and Videographers also book up a year or 2 in advance!
Happy wedding planning! Above all remember that while this is a special day the only thing that really matters is that you marry the love of your life. All the other details are just extras.
Are you looking for a wedding photographer in the New England area? If so I’d love to chat!