Congratulations on your engagement! You’re going into such an amazing season of life that can easily turn into one of the most challenging seasons of your life. Expectations from family & friends as well as the overwhelming “to do” list that comes along with the “I do” can make that vision of your dream wedding into a distant memory. The most important things to do during wedding planning are: staying ahead and have a concise game plan in place and maintain clear communication between all parties involved (no matter HOW awful that sounds). After 5 years of photographing weddings (and planning one of my own!) I can tell you confidently what the best way to start planning your dream day is.
So.. where do even begin?!
Establish your budget FIRST….
Take a realistic look at your overall budget and set your priorities. Which aspect of your wedding do you want to splurge on, and which parts of your wedding aren’t as important? For me, it was photography. Out of my budget of $7,000 for my wedding, I spent almost HALF of it on my photographer because that was the most important thing for us. We knew that out of everything, photos were the only thing we’d be able to walk away with to remember every aspect of our day. From there, my fiancé and I chose to make our wedding in the afternoon to save money elsewhere (i.e. we served our favorite apps instead of a dinner).
Then book your venue & set your date.
The first vendor you should book is your venue, because it 1) sets the date for your wedding and 2) establishes the general location, which are two of the some of the most important pieces to booking other vendors for your wedding. Choose a venue that is in alignment with the tone and vibe that you’re looking for, which helps everything else fall into place more simply. Some venues even have a short list of preferred vendors they work with, which cuts your research time down considerably! Jessica’s on Main Bridal Boutique suggests finding your venue first even before finding your dress because your dress should compliment not only your style, but the venue’s (i.e. you wouldn’t buy a sleek, modern gown for a barn wedding).
Hire vendors that you trust.
Notice the key word TRUST. This is an important key to stress-free wedding planning because once you’ve found vendors that you trust to make your dream wedding a reality, you won’t be feeling the need to watch over and monitor them and they can do exactly what you’ve hired them to do. Again, clear communication plays a big role here. Listen to what your vendors have to say and clearly convey your wants and needs. More than likely your vendors will be able to give you advice on how to make every aspect of your wedding planning more simple. Give your vendors the creative freedom to do their jobs and you’ll be shocked at how much your stress level drops.
Make your wedding YOURS.
Forget about all of the traditions and expectations about what you’re SUPPOSED to do on your wedding. Make it yours and it will instantly be 100000% more exciting for both YOU and your guests. Pinterest is a great source of information but it’s also a huge culprit for killing creativity and creating seemingly duplicate weddings. Incorporate what you and your fiancé love in your day. Don’t like cake? Fine! Eat Little Debbie cakes or whatever in the world makes you two happy.
Make the most of it.
Sure, it’s stressful. It can be unpleasant at times. But the reality is that planning your wedding is a once in a lifetime opportunity and you need to try to keep a positive attitude about it, or fake it ’til you make it. It’s a much more enjoyable experience and it’s easier to stay upbeat if you come into it with the expectation that it’s going to be the greatest season of your life!
Those are the big pieces of advice that I can give any person planning their big day! Past Brides, what piece of advice was most helpful to you when you were planning your wedding, and which parts were difficult to balance?