With a new year in view many people begin thinking about life changes, getting engaged is right up there with the big ones. Believe it our not, Christmas trumps Valentines Day for number of engagements that take place. In the wedding industry it is a time of the year that is comparable to tax season for an accountant…but way more fun! Basically November to January, aka Engagement Season, in our world.
There is no one we love more than newly engaged couples. They are so excited and full of love! But, far too quickly the excitement can fade as the reality of planning hits them. They have never planned a wedding before. For heaven’s sakes, all they want to do is get married! So many decisions to be made and the options seem infinite, not to mention the endless advise from friends. Who? What? Where? What colors? With this being fired at couples the question we get asked most is “How do we get started?” Yes, it can seem a bit overwhelming but weddings happen every day and you can plan your perfect day too!
All you need is a little thoughtful planning and organization. The No Regrets Events team has come up with five tips to help you get started and make good decisions so that you can avoid some common wedding planning pitfalls.
- Set a wedding budget – We can’t tell you how often we sit down with couples and they have amazing Pinterest boards, know how many guests will be invited and a great grasp on the overall style for their marriage celebration, some have even hired a wedding vendors or two, but have given no thought to what their wedding might cost. Picking out color and finding inspiration pieces is far more fun than talking dollars and cents, but you shouldn’t do anything until a budget has been sorted out…not even hire that wedding vendor! Whether the wedding is being paid for by the two of you, your families or other means it is imperative that you figure this out before you move on to the fun stuff.
- Some fun stuff!!! Determine your wedding style – In the wedding business this is the whole “which came first the chicken or the egg?” Should you choose your wedding style before finding a venue or should your venue drive your wedding style? Here is where we stand…you and your fiancée have likes and dislikes, places where you are comfortable, colors that make you happy, and you have distinct personality traits. Why shouldn’t you look for a location to share one of the biggest days in your life that is a reflection of you and your special love story?
- Determine your wedding date and venue – These two have been listed together because they really go hand in hand. Do you want an outdoor wedding in North Carolina…then some of your winter months may be out. What about a fall wedding in the south…then you may need to take a close look at a college football schedule. Would you want to have a beach wedding during a peak summer vacation month when travel will be the most expensive? Work schedules, holidays, school schedules all come into play. Make your first date choice and have a 2nd and 3rd for back up. If you are determined to have your wedding and reception at a popular venue then you may need to have some flexibility with your date selection. Some venues will book up to 18 months in advance.
- Work on your guest list – You have made some very important decisions, so now you can decide on the number of guests to invite. This can be another really difficult task because you want to invite everyone you know to your wedding, but as my friend Dianne would say, “Let it be told…” the more people you invite the more money you will spend. Your guest count will drive the other decisions you make related to your wedding, so spend time with your fiancée and even with your families to create your guest list.
- If you haven’t already, get support – Couples do not plan their wedding alone…they get help. Help can come in many forms, wedding professionals, respected publications, or trusted friends who have planned their own weddings. For many hiring a professional wedding planner may not seem necessary (see our article http://noregretsevents.com/why-hire-a-wedding-planner/) or you may not think they will fit into your overall wedding budget, but there are professional wedding planners out there for every bride and every budget. If you completely rule out hiring a planner then seek out as much information as you can. There are volumes of checklist and tools available online.
By making these decisions you have laid a solid foundation for your wedding. Now it is time to get down to the fun stuff like wedding gowns, flowers, music, and paper goods.
We always tell our clients that the process should be as memorable as the wedding day, so we will leave you with these final tips: do your research, ask questions, laugh a lot and breath! Not only are you planning your wedding day, but you are planning your future.