How to Get Everything You Want for Your Big Day
So you just got engaged. You’ve called your family and friends, made the announcement on Facebook and generally basked in the glow for a while. But the reality of planning the event is starting to sink in. The list of decisions you have to make can seem endless. The options for aspects such as location, bakery, vendor, and other choices are in the hundreds. Whether you’ve dreamed of your wedding your entire life or never thought you would get married, the beginning phases of wedding planning can become truly overwhelming. With all of the wedding websites, bridal magazines, and even relatives with the best of intentions at heart, many brides and grooms struggle with where to start. Thankfully, we’re here to help.
Where to Start
Some couples prefer a long engagement; others want to get married right away. No matter the length of your engagement, the first steps to planning your wedding are the same. Before you can make any decisions concerning where your ceremony will be, what your cake will look like, who will be your entertainment, or any other decision for that matter you must first set your budget. Setting a budget from the start will help narrow your choices and spare you the disappointment of falling in love with a venue or dress that is too expensive.
Your budget will be a key point for every decision of your wedding, so having a realistic budget of what you can and cannot afford will make decision-making much easier. Once your budget is set, you need to create your guest list. This will make a difference in your venue choice, catering, and other decisions. It is recommended that you put together your guest list before letting family members weigh in. As harsh as this may sound, it will allow you to be certain of your priorities and avoid feeling pressured to invite more people than you want. Remember, this day is about you.
Now that your budget and guest list are set, you must make one more major decision. Your wedding date will be one of the most important days in your life, for your entire life. Setting a date is not a task that should be taken lightly. Choose the season that is right for you and set a date that works for you and your family. Setting your wedding date will determine whether or not some venues, caterers, entertainers and others will be available. Once you have set a date and given it to your vendors, you cannot change it. So be sure that the date you set is right for you.
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions
Now that you have your budget, guest list and date set you can begin looking into all the fun and exciting aspects of your wedding. The first major decision to make for your wedding is the venue. You want to begin seriously looking into venues a year ahead of your wedding date. When you begin looking at wedding venues, be sure that you narrow your search based on your budget and wedding size. Once you have found the venue that is perfect for you, put a deposit down on it. This will solidify your wedding date, give insight to other decisions such as how many flowers to order and help you picture your wedding as a whole.
After your venue is set in stone, your vendors must be your next focus. You should begin contacting your potential vendors at least 9 months ahead of your wedding. When you book early, you are more likely to get the vendors you want. During peak wedding seasons, vendors are booked for every day of the week. Waiting until the last minute to book your vendors could result in flower arrangements from your local Kroger and driving away from your wedding in a rental car. Vendors make your wedding exactly as you want it. Florists, caterers, entertainment, furniture and linen, hair and makeup, transportation, and your wedding cake are only a few of the parts that vendors will play in your wedding. Booking them well in advance will ensure that they are available and have the items you need on your wedding day.
Planning your wedding should be a fun and exciting experience. It will be one of the most important and memorable days of your life. Starting early will ensure that you will have exactly what you want on your big day without stressing you out in the process.
Photo Credit: Oleg Afonin
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