The First 6 Things to do … Starting … NOW!
Love is in the air, what a magical time for you — being a fiancé! Whether you plan to get married right away or have a long engagement, you want to have a stress free planning experience. You don’t plan a wedding every day — but we do! All the talk of BEO’s, body flowers, first looks, food & beverage minimums, shot lists, free cell agreements, room blocks – can make anyone’s head spin.
Here are our first steps to start planning your wedding:
1.Envision your wedding.
Find a quiet moment where you won’t be distracted – grab a cup of coffee, glass of wine or take a walk – and talk with your fiancé about dreams and visions for the wedding. Make sure to discuss any “must have” religious and/or family traditions or expectations. Also decide if you would like to have your wedding in a special destination or keep it local, formal or informal, outdoor or indoor, big or small, overall style and determine the time of year you want it to take place.
2. Draw up your budget.
Agree on who is paying for the wedding and set a realistic budget. You don’t need to slice it up yet – but just know about how much you want to spend overall.
3. Assemble your planning team.
Consider hiring a wedding consultant! (Of course you knew this one was coming – right?) Not only can planners help recommend venues and vendors, but often they can negotiate discounts or added amenities on your behalf. At the very least, a good planner speaks the lingo and will make sure that your venue and vendor contracts are inclusive of all costs and you won’t end up with surprise charges after you have signed your contracts.
Don’t underestimate the value of your time. Planners are the local experts and work frequently with the other area wedding vendors – which creates efficiencies. Any good planner will listen to what you need and tailor their recommendations accordingly (i.e. budget, style) so you don’t spend countless hours researching a vendor that won’t be the best fit for you! Often your planner can take you on a tour of different venues based on your wedding vision and budget.
Identify if there is a specific venue or vendor that you must have.
4. Identify your wedding date, time and location.
Select several options if possible. If you have any “must have” venue or vendor preferences make sure to check their availability before finalizing your date. Also check with family and other important guests to make sure that date works for them.
5. Start thinking about your guest list.
We know, we know – guest lists can be the hardest part! Decide if you want a big gala event or small intimate family gathering – or something in the middle. Many ceremony and reception venues can only accommodate a certain number, so having a good idea about your general numbers is important to know before you finalize your venues.
6. Lock in your ceremony and reception venue.
These will be two of the most important check marks on your list. We find couples are booking their venue anywhere from eight to twelve months in advance. Securing these high-ticket items well in advance will help you be at ease throughout the rest of the planning process.
If you already have a good idea about any of these items you are ahead of the game! If not – it is time to get those creative juices flowing. Then sit back, relax and stay tuned for our next blog post – with Cara’s top 5 bits of advice for planning your wedding.
Thank you to to following photographers for the beautiful images used above: Kelly Mendoza/True Bliss Photography, Amanda McKinnon Photography, The Cookes Fine Photography, Joel St. Marie Photography, Vernon Wiley Photography.