Congratulations are in order because YOU’RE ENGAGED!! The fun part of planning your wedding will now begin. . . but first we wanted to give you some advice on where to start!
- Hire a Wedding Planner. Typically, a wedding planner can help you set goals for your style and budget before you even start looking at places, dates, and vendors. We often find that brides start the process and hire the most expensive items (venue, photographer, music) right off the bat and seem stressed when they realize they can’t fit much else in. Wedding planner fees should be approximately 10% of your overall budget but can save you so much money and time in the end by giving realistic and attainable steps to hiring vendors for the wedding. Not to mention all the other things we can do for you to save you time, stress and energy.
- Establish a Budget. Speaking of budget… it is important establish how much you are comfortable spending on a wedding. We speak to so many families that just have no idea what a wedding costs and therefore it is best take it one step at a time. For most people this can get dangerous. Even if you do not hire a wedding planner, there are so many resources out there whether it be on the web, in magazines or books that can help you work this out.
- Establish a Guest List. It is almost impossible to figure out a good working budget and book a venue without knowing the number of people you are planning on hosting. Work on making a guest list based on people you think are 100% attending, those you hope to attend, and even marking those that you think will not attend. Of course, be prepared to see some of those you think will be there not attend and those you think will not come for the weekend. We typically suggest percentages based on if they are local or traveling out of town. Keep in mind things like holidays and spring break when choosing a date and figuring out how many people can come.
- Start Looking at Fun Stuff! Of course the best part of a wedding is getting married to the one you love, but the second best part is throwing the party! Pinterest is a great tool for this. As are magazines (national ones like Brides and local ones like Phoenix Bride and Groom) and of course blogs. Wedding blogs have made a place for themselves as a source of design inspiration in the past years – some of our favorites are Style Me Pretty, Wedding Chicks, Junebug Weddings, Carats and Cake, Grey Likes Weddings and Elizabeth Anne Designs.
- Breathe and Enjoy…. Many times the wedding planning process can get overwhelming and too much to handle. This is more true in the beginning stages. So take a deep breath. Take in the moments that surrounds your newly adorned ring finger and spend some time talking to the one you love. Get on the same page with what you two want the wedding to be like – and really focus on how that can be a celebration of your lives separate and now together. Focusing on this at the beginning will help ground you when the planning can feel like it is getting out of control. We want you to enjoy your wedding of course, but it is also just as important to enjoy being engaged. Which bring us back to number one. . . hire a wedding planner!