To some, planning any event feels like a race against time. Is it possible to plan peacefully, calmly and beautifully? Yes! Here are some tips to get you on the right path.
1) Before dreaming of your wedding, Set Your Budget.
I have written about the importance of a budget before. It cannot be over emphasized. The word "budget" seems to carry this negative connotation in the wedding world. As if a wedding budget were some type of straight jacket inhibiting a bride from fulfilling some long awaited fantasy. That's all wrong! A budget is your safety net. It keeps you from getting caught up in the moment. Every vendor you interview will tell you that their service IS the most important part of your wedding. Your budget will keep you on track. It will help you not go into a marriage with wedding debt. Todd Outcalt introduced his book, Debt Free Wedding, with these words, "Every year millions of people get married. And among this number, over half incur some debt from the wedding...All of this debt, of course, can quickly add up to trouble in paradise. And when married couples talk about the factors that bring stress into the relationship, financial troubles or disagreements top the list." So, Budget! It's a good thing.
Brides.com has a great wedding budget maker. It's a good place to start. Their suggested breakdown isn't exactly NYC/Long Island accurate, but you can edit it to a certain extent to make it work for you. In my experience, 50 percent of your budget goes to the venue (which includes food and beverage). Doing a bit of research will give you an idea of what specific types of vendors will charge. Get those numbers in mind before you start meeting vendors. Include extra things in your budget that may not be listed in a traditional form such as lighting and wedding dress alterations (which are upwards of $500). And remember, to allocate your money to the aspects of the wedding that are important to you and your fiancé.
2) Make Your List, Check it Twice.
Being organized through out the wedding planning process is very important. Create or organize your Pinterests boards into more than "my dream wedding" categories. Create specific boards for the ideas you want to incorporate. Create an account on a wedding website. This will help you find vendors and get ideas. Purchase a wedding planner binder to keep track of the paperwork. Even in today's electronically modern world, you will still have a paper trail which will include wedding lists, business cards and contracts. So keep it all in one place. You will find endless to-do lists in every wedding magazine or wedding websites. (I like this one because it's interactive.) Make yourself a schedule so that you don't become overwhelmed.
Wedding planning shouldn't take over your life. It does take time, but it shouldn't be the only thing you and your fiancé do together or talk about. Or worse yet, planning the wedding shouldn't detach you from the one you are marrying. If it is starting to overwhelm you, partial wedding planning assistance is a service that most wedding planners offer. You can outsource certain parts of the planning to a professional to give yourself a break.
3) Ask Around.
Networking with your friends may save you time and energy in looking for wedding vendors. Friends and family members who recently were married may have great tips to share. When asking friends and family for recommendations, ask the right questions. Find out what they liked and didn't like about the vendor. What type of event was the vendor contracted to work? What qualities made them stand out? How much did they charge? What services did they provide?
Once you reach out to the vendor, let them know that you were recommended. Very often this will help you negotiate a better deal, bigger package or a price discount.
If you are planning a wedding, what is stressing you out? I would love to help.
Wishing you a....Happy Wedding!
For the Love of Weddings...
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