Oh the joys of wedding planning! While it is such an exciting season, it can also feel a bit daunting. It is easy to feel overwhelmed by all the decisions that need to be made and by the abundance of available choices about everything! Where to even begin the planning process? Our photographers are also friends of ours and they were enjoying the newly married life when we got engaged. Having just gone through the wedding planning season themselves, they shared many tips with us, including their wedding planning spreadsheet and it was truly priceless in helping to kick-start our planning process! If you are newly engaged, I have outlined 7 Tips to help you get going in the planning process! Good luck!
1. Set the Budget
Let’s face it, this topic is a tough one for several reasons. First, simply talking about money can be SO uncomfortable. Second, weddings are expensive and the costs can add up faster than a teenager can text in class! I mean, according to the Knot, the average cost of a wedding in the U.S. in 2019 was… $33,900!! Whoa. When we got engaged, our newly married friends gave this advice… Set your budget and then double it. I may not have believed them at first, but very quickly came to find out their sentiment was quite true. Third, there are limits to most people’s budgets and it can be so disheartening to realize that a dress, venue, photographer or some other vendor doesn’t fit your budget. Along with this, I would highly recommend creating a list of your priorities… Do you value the food the most? Or do you have a dream venue in mind? Is there a particular dress you have been dreaming of? Is the photographer a priority for you? (I hope this is on the list!). Prioritizing will be very helpful when making decisions about how to allocate the budget.
2. Pick the Date
This is another important early task that will influence most every decision thereafter. The season of the year will influence the overall look of the wedding but also, vendors are booked up more quickly on popular wedding months. According to the Wedding Wire, October, September and June are the most popular weddings months so it means that if you’re dreaming of a wedding on one of these months, you definitely want to get going with booking the vendors!
3. Decide on a Ceremony and Reception Location(s)
Booking the venue is one of the important early tasks. Once you have picked the venue for your ceremony/reception and have settled on the date, two big tasks can be crossed off your to-do list and other vendors can now be booked! Be mindful that many vendors will be booked months in advance. For example, it is recommended that engaged couples book their wedding photographer about 9 to 12 months prior to their wedding. I’ve had couples book me as far as a year and a half ahead of time!
4. Start the Guest List
This task goes hand in hand with setting the budget and this can be a tough one! If you are on a tighter budget, keeping the number realistic will help avoid headaches down the road. My biggest piece of advice here is to make a clear criteria you both agree on as to who gets invited – and then sticking with it! To help avoid awkward discussions with people who won’t be on the guest list but who will assume they will receive invite, it is so helpful to have a response ready! There were instances I had to tell people that while we would love to have them, we had decided to keep the wedding very small and simply couldn’t invite everyone.
5. Pick your Color Palette
The color palette will influence your choice of invitations, bridesmaids’ dresses, décor, flowers…. If you LOVE the light and airy look, the wedding day color choices must reflect that as well. Colors that photograph well in this style include neutrals such as blush, light pinks, faint blues and teals.
6. Insure Your Ring
If the ring wasn’t insured at the time of the purchase now is a good time to cross this task off your to-do list! Insuring the ring can easily be done by adding it to your current homeowner’s or renter’s insurance and protecting this valuable investment is highly encouraged!
7. Stay Focused on the Things that Truly Matter
Wedding planning is both exciting and time-consuming. When I think back to this time in our lives, I have many fond memories. We turned the meeting with our officiant into a day trip to Annapolis. We still chuckle about our cake tasting because I was advised by our cake lady that calla lilies on a cake are simply a bad idea because… well, turns out they are poisonous. Have fun with the planning! But also, my last tip is not to let the planning completely take over your life. Make time for other things, too – the things you enjoyed before becoming engaged – your hobbies and friends – and each other, of course, during the wedding planning season. Ultimately the day isn’t about the pretty dress or most elaborate décor or wedding favors, but about a commitment and the beginning of a beautiful journey through life together.
Do you have other helpful tips for couples in the early stages of planning? Please share them below!
Planner and Designer – Taylor’d Southern Events
Venue – The Mackey House
Flowers – Harvey Designs
Rentals – Amazing Event Rentals
Cake Artist -Wicked Cakes of Savannah
Candles & Candlesticks – Creative Candles