Or you’re doing some preliminary research and saving this to your wedding Pinterest board so you’re ready for when you do have that ring on your finger (it’s ok, we’ve all done it).
Once you’ve celebrated, taken half a dozen pictures of your left hand to get that one perfect picture, you need to move on to the next step, which is getting married! You know that phrase “you don’t know what you don’t know”? Well there are so many things to consider when planning a wedding, and I’m here to give you a jump start.
Start with an amount you are comfortable spending–if you aren’t familiar with typical wedding expenses, do some research for average weddings in your area as well as specific vendors (venues are typically where most of your budget goes). Keep in mind that unplanned expenses always pop up, so plan on it costing at least 10% more than your estimates.
Things outside of your personal tastes and preferences that will impact your budget: what time of year you have the wedding, what day of the week, and how many people you invite.
Next, figure out your priorities. I recommend you choose 3-5 things of the most importance to you on your wedding day, like the venue, photographer, and food–those get booked first. Do you have a venue or vendor you’ve been dreaming of working with? (Think Bride Wars when they both wanted the Plaza Hotel and that particular wedding planner) Contact them AS SOON AS YOU ARE ENGAGED or if you’re crazy kids like me and my husband, and already have a date in mind BEFORE you get engaged–especially if it’s a short engagement–but make sure you communicate clearly that you both know you’re getting married soon and have a timeframe in mind and aren’t just an overactive Pinterest Planner.
Remember it is totally ok to not spend the amount the wedding industry says you should spend on a certain vendors. It is your wedding and your money should go where it’s most important to you. I know of brides who have spent $5,000 on their wedding-foregoing things like centerpieces for their reception–so they could spend $10,000 on their photographer because they had to have THAT photographer. Emphasize what’s important to you via your budget and keep in mind you may have to get creative with other aspects of your day.
Do you need extra help?
Early on in planning process, it’s good to consider if you’d like to have the services of a planner or coordinator (check out our Q&A with Nobleman+Grace to learn more)–this might save you some headaches and stress down the line knowing you have someone else to handle things. Also keep in mind that they have connections and resources at their disposal that can make them well worth the money, not to mention a great person to turn to if you’re struggle to determine your budget.
Who to book first?
Apart from a planner (which depending on how involved you want them, can be booked at several different stages of your wedding planning process), a venue is really the first vendor to book. Now there is a little wiggle room to this, but ultimately a venue determines your wedding date which effects whether or not people like photographers, videographers, etc. are available for your date; now if you have a specific vendor in mine, there is no harm reaching out and seeing what dates they have available in the time period you’d like to have your wedding, that way you have those dates in mind when booking your venue.
The venue also affects, to a degree, a lot of your other wedding decisions–attire, decor, etc. It’s a lot easier to visualize your wedding day once you know where it’s happening.
So figure out your budget, book your venue, and then give me a call *wink wink*