First of all, congratulations on your engagement! Getting engaged is very exciting, but after the excitement has settled – the initial steps of wedding planning can be a bit confusing, even overwhelming to some. So what are your first steps of wedding planning? I’ve compiled a short list of easy steps couples can take to get the ball rolling.
1. Set a realistic, affordable budget. Before I was a wedding planner, I was a bride who completely underestimated the cost of a wedding. To set a realistic budget, I suggest you and your groom sit down together and discuss your wedding “must haves” (i.e. an awesome gown) and things that you’d like but can live without (i.e. expensive wedding favors). This will give you a general idea of how to allocate wedding funds. Below you can see The Knot’s “The True Cost of a Wedding” survey results from 2011 (the 2012 results won’t be released for a few more months). This will help give you an idea of what an “average” wedding costs.
*Keep in mind that variables such as time time of year/day of the week, guest count, and food selection can have a large influence on the cost of your wedding.
2.) Choose a date or location/venue. I list these two options together because some couples are set on tying the knot on a certain date, while others may be flexible on the date as long as they can get married at their dream venue. This is extremely important to consider if you want to get married on a Saturday, which is the most popular day of the week to get married (for obvious reasons). If you are set on a particular date you may need to identify a handful of potential ceremony/reception venues, while vice-versa if you are dead set on a specific wedding location.
3.) Decide on your bridal party. This step is one of the more fun steps to wedding planning. I recommend doing this step earlier than later to allow your bridal party to begin saving for wedding related expenses, such as buying wedding attire, or travel expenses if they live out of state.
4.) Begin a guest list. Your guest list will be directly related to your budget – the correlation is simple. The more guests you have, the more expensive your wedding will be. One option you have to make sure your guest list is in check with your budget is to create an “A-list” for people that must attend (i.e. close relatives and friends), a “B-list” for people you’d like to attend (i.e. your college room mate), and a “C-list” for people that can attend if there is room (i.e. your cousin’s best friends’ boyfriend). This will help keep your budget on track.
5.) Book your wedding planner. The earlier you book your planner – the better. Booking a planner early allows your planner time to get to know you and your groom (and your wedding preferences) well before your wedding. This will also allow them to be there for you in all aspects of wedding guidance. If you choose not to book a wedding planner, I highly suggest investing in a wedding planning binder to keep all of your wedding planning pieces in one spot.
If anyone has any questions, I would be happy to answer them! Just a reminder that Love Marks the Spot San Diego Wedding Planner is currently offering 50% off all of our wedding planning packages:) If you have any questions at all, please contact us. Happy planning!