So, you’re engaged — congratulations! Now the only thing between you and happily ever after is planning the big day. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the different pieces of the wedding puzzle, but these tips will be sure to save you some stress!
In addition to setting an overall amount that you’re willing to spend on the wedding, you need to break the budget down so you know how much you can afford to spend on individual pieces like the reception or the venue. A good rule of thumb is to allot half of your budget to the reception and another 10 percent each for flowers, attire, music and entertainment, photographs, and invitations and gifts. Also, be sure to leave some leeway for extra expenses that could pop up unexpectedly along the way.
Whether you decide to use a wedding planning application, track everything through Google spreadsheets, or go old school and store your notes and plans together in one big binder, you need to keep track of everything you plan and store the information in one central location. This is good for your sake when you want to double check how many invitations you ordered or exactly when you told the caterers to show up, and it also means that you have proof of any agreements just in case.
Once you’ve figured out a budget and a method for tracking your expenses and plans, you’re ready to start laying out a timeline of events. Save yourself the headache of having too much to decide too close to the wedding by setting smaller deadlines along the way for things like hiring your caterer or booking the band.
When determining who to include on your guest list, prioritization is key. Create a list with most important family members and closest friends at the top and neighbors, coworkers, and other less crucial people at the bottom. Then cross names off starting at the bottom of the list until you’ve reached a comfortable number. And remember, often a quarter to a third of the guests you invite won’t be able to come anyway.
But don’t worry too much if the final number ends up a little higher than you were hoping — at least you can be happy knowing how many of your friends and family cared enough to make your big day a priority!
When it comes time to choose vendors, be sure you’re paying attention to the people you’re hiring, not just the product. If you find a caterer who cooks amazing food but who is totally unwilling to budge on small details, don’t hire them! You want people who you can trust to have your back and help make your wedding go smoothly.
If you’re like many brides, you’ve been imagining your wedding dress for ages. Don’t let that perfect image in your mind keep you from shopping around in reality, though. Try on a lot of dresses and visit a lot of stores. You never know what you’ll find — the perfect dress may end up being something totally different from what you were picturing initially.
The gift registry is an important way to make sure your guests know what to get you so that you get things you actually want and need, but not everybody wants new kitchen appliances or household items. If that’s you — don’t worry! There are plenty of less traditional gift registries out there, from honeymoon funds to charitable donation plans. Search around a bit to make sure you find a way to get gifts that you’ll appreciate and that your guests will feel good about giving.
You want your honeymoon to be exciting, relaxing, and special, but with all of the wedding planning to take care of beforehand, you might feel overwhelmed trying to plan the honeymoon, too. One increasingly popular way to get around this problem is to postpone your honeymoon by a few months to give yourself time to recuperate and focus on the honeymoon itself. Definitely consider this option if your nerves or your finances are feeling the strain of wedding planning.
9. The Day-of
Even after all of the details you’ve taken care of in advance, from arranging vendors to booking hotel rooms to putting together gift bags, there are still a number of things you simply can’t take care of until the big day arrives. From doing your hair and makeup to greeting your guests, you’ll have your hands full from dawn ‘til dusk on your big day. To ensure that you have time for everything, schedule the whole day in advance and make sure to hand off any responsibilities you can to a trusted member of the wedding team.
Even if you’ve only just gotten engaged and haven’t really started the planning process, the mere thought of all the pieces you somehow have to put together to make this wedding happen could be getting to you. Don’t worry! Really, this is supposed to be a special day celebrating your happy union. Whenever the stress starts getting to you, focus on that and let the little details zoom back into perspective. No matter what, at the end of the big day you’ll be happily married and surrounded by friends and family.
There are a million different ways to plan a wedding, from a tiny ceremony to a giant, fancy party to an exotic destination. When you’re planning yours, don’t feel like you have to conform to anyone else’s expectations. Stay true to what you want and that will make all of the effort way more fun and worthwhile.
Featured photo credit: fotomelia via fotomelia.com