Wedding Planning - Like a PRO!
Congratulations on this next step in you and your partner's journey!
1. Determine a Budget: The financial comfort zone for your wedding can be a daunting experience at the very beginning. Formulating a number for your budget out of thin air can prove to be unrealistic if you've never purchased a wedding and don't know how much vendors who provide the results you want actually cost. However, all of the money does not need to be paid upfront. Many of your vendors will require a final payment closer to the date of the wedding. Depending on the length of your planning process, you could potentially have a year or more to pay for your wedding.
Beginning with a Priority Checklist is a good start!
One of the easiest ways to decrease (or increase) the amount of money spent lies in the number of guests you invite. Invitations, chairs, tables, food/beverage, party favors, etc. will cost per guest. So, if a large guest count is a major priority, expect to see a larger bottom line.
According to The Knot, more than half of all couples who get married spend over budget (on average around $7k more than planned). An average wedding in South Carolina costs around $28,000. Keep in mind extra cost (such a gratuities for your vendors).
2. Pick a Venue and Date - FAST: This will be one gigantic stress off of your shoulders! When you find a venue you like, its best to book as quickly as possible. In order to secure the vendors you want, you will need to give them plenty of notice. Otherwise you will find yourself close to your wedding date having to pick a less desirable vendor - potentially less experienced and not the value you were hoping to receive.
To move this along quickly, make sure when you go to tour a venue that you bring all deciding parties with you...and payment! If a parent is a deciding factor in a venue, make sure they are there so that you don't have to do a second tour. Many venues will give multiple tours on a day - don't let the next tour book the date you want because you weren't ready to pay!
3. Create a Guest List: This goes back to your budget. How many people do you want to have at your wedding... and why? A percentage of guests will leave just after the cake cutting and before the big dance party begins. If you don't mind feeding people and having them leave early - that's on you!
However, if you're trying to be budget friendly - invite the people who really want to be with you and enjoy your entire wedding so that you aren't spending unnecessary money for people to leave early.
Most couples see 70-80% of their invited guests actually RSVP and attend. There are people you may feel obligated to invite but you should not feel pressured into spending money and inviting someone to your big day out of obligation.
On the note of guest lists...seating charts. If you opt to use a seating chart for dinner, it is easier to organize name alphabetically and place their table number next to their name. Otherwise you will have guests gathered around the chart looking over each other's shoulders trying to look at each table, hangrily.
4. Choose Your Vendors:
Venue - Planner - Designer - Catering - Music - Photographer - Videographer - Cake - Hair - Make-up - Rentals/Decorations - Florist - Planner - Officiant - Transportation - Attire - Live Painter - Bartending
WHERE TO BEGIN?
Go back to the checklist!
Many couples make the mistake of choosing a venue that fits their budget but become "venue broke" which essentially hurts the experience for you and your guests. So, while choosing the venue first is essential, have an idea of which vendors are most important. (Shameless plug...even though this is our website... we bundle planning, DJing, photography, decorations and beer/wine into our packages).
It's common for every vendor to think they play a huge part of your day.
"The cake is the centerpiece"
"The photos last forever"
"The video lets moments be relived"
"Everyone only remembers how fun the dancing was"
"The photos are nothing without beautiful florals"
"Etc. etc. etc."
What matters to you? What do you remember most from weddings or events you have attended?
5. Plan Ceremony and Reception: What time will you be arriving and departing on your wedding day? You will want to have enough time to relax, eat and get ready prior to the ceremony. You also will want to gather up your belongings prior to the ceremony so that you don't have to do it at the end of the night when you are on a "wedding day high" mixed with being tired and ready to leave.
Keep in mind the time of day (and the time of year) when setting your ceremony start time. March and November weddings are subject to daylight savings time.
How long will your ceremony be? Will there be a commute to the reception? These details are important for your vendors to know as well as being on your invitations to your guests.
Using a planner who has previously worked with your venue will help relieve the day-of planning stress. They can help relay these details and transitions to your vendors to make sure everything runs smoothly.
6. Send Invitations: It is recommended to first send a "Save the Date" before the formal invitation. Typically, these are sent 6 to 8 months in advance. This is a good rule of thumb so that guests can make work/travel arrangements if needed but not too far off that they forget about the wedding. Not a lot of information needs to be provided to the guests on the Save the Date - simply your names, the date and location will work.
4 months out from the wedding date you can look into sending a formal invitation with additional information regarding times, location of the ceremony and reception, how you would like your guests to dress and include an RSVP card.
You may also be interested in starting a wedding website that can be included with your Save the Date or formal invitation. This can be updated with information you may have forgot or if things change. Links to a wedding registry for gifts can also easily be added here.
Congratulations on planning your wedding!
For more information or if you're ready for a tour please contact us!