Don’t let wedding planning drain your creative juices dry! Here’s how you can stay organized and on track to get everything done, even if your wedding is in only six months!
Nail Down Your Venue As Soon As Possible
To take a huge weight off of your shoulders, figure out the rough timeframe of when you want to have your wedding and pick a location for your wedding as soon as possible. Venues sometimes book out two years in advance. If you’re dead set on a date, you may find many venues are already booked, especially if you’re looking for a Saturday wedding.
You’ll have to be somewhat flexible when it comes to dates and locations if you’re planning on a short time frame. The good news is some venues discount dates that are 6 months out because the changes of booking them are slim.
The fun part begins once you have your venue and date selected! You’ll be able to think of styles, theme, and overall feel for the reception.
Budget, Budget, Budget
When you’re glowing with excitement over being newly engaged, it can be tempting to go all out and book every single vendor you love. But until you sit down with your fiancé and any family members who are helping to fund the wedding, you really won’t know where you stand.
Resist the urge – and even sometimes the pressure from your friends – to go look at anything (even dresses!) before you have your budget set. Here’s how to assess your budget without any drama:
1. Figure out who is financing the wedding. Remember: if you two are paying for everything yourself, YOU have absolute say over everything. If you are accepting money from friends, family, and even parents, you need to make sure the money is a gift to be used however you and your fiancé want. Sometimes there are conditions – be aware of them before you accept.
2. Create an overall budget. Set a maximum monetary number in writing that you will not, under any circumstances, cross. A large number of weddings go over budget because they don’t analyze their spending closely enough. If you’re projecting you’ll be able to save enough money to pay for the wedding, you better be really sure.
3. Divide your overall budget into a pie chart. You can look at as many suggestions online on what to spend for what, but really, it comes down to this: YOU need to decide what is priority. Maybe you’re both big foodies, but pictures aren’t that important. Make sure your budget reflects your priorities.
4. Create an Emergency Wedding Fund. No one wants to think they’ll be laid off from their job, but it happens, and it happens to people sometimes who are right in the middle of planning their wedding. If you’re absolute max is $30,000 for your wedding, keep $5,000 of that back, just in case money were to become tight.
5. Seek advice. When in doubt, seek out a wedding planner that knows the ins and outs of the industry. While you’re spending money on a planner, if you hire right, he or she may be able to actually save you money and pay for their services completely. If you’re not digging the idea of hiring a planner, ask some of your close friends what they spent on certain vendors so you have a rough idea of what services and goods sell for in your market.
Delegate Duties To Trusted Individuals
You can go it alone, but it will be a lonely road. Wedding planning is made for friends and family! You’ll find there are many people who would love to help you with planning or decorating on the day of your wedding.
If you have some friends who are expert crafters, hold a craft night once or twice a month. You provide the wine and snacks, and you and your friends can DIY to make some killer creations – no Pinterest fails here!
Be smart about who you allow to help with big tasks – while your aunt might have a big heart, she may not be the most dependable. Try to give her small tasks that won’t ruin your wedding day if they aren’t completed on time.
Don’t Neglect Other Duties
When you’re so busy dress shopping and picking out a menu for your wedding, it may never cross your mind that there is a list of other wedding to-dos completely unrelated to the wedding day itself! If you have a bridal party, normally the bridal shower and bachelorette party are planned by the maid or matron of honor and your best girls.
You’ll still have the task of planning a great rehearsal dinner and potentially organizing a brunch the day after the wedding for out of town guests.
Pick Vendors Who Match Your Style (And Budget)
Being a bride in the 21st century is a combination of feeling both blessed and overwhelmed. With technology, vendors from all over the country are at your disposal. And while having variety is good, it can also be difficult to narrow down who you’d like to book.
For vendors you’ll have to deal with face-to-face on the day of the wedding – your florist, caterer, dj, photographer, wedding planner, etc. – meet with them in person or over Skype. You’ll be able to gauge their personality better and see if they’re a good fit. Take your fiancé or a friend along to get another take on their personality and the services they provide.
This phase is where your pie chart budget will come in handy. If you find a photographer that’s $1,000 over your allotment for that category, you either will have to pass them by or find where you can deduct $1,000 from another vendor or expense category. Stick with the budget!
Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you’re meeting with wedding professionals. Vendors won’t be shocked if you come in with a full-page list!
The biggest thing to remember when planning your wedding is 90% of the planning is for the party, not the ceremony. Keep your eyes on the prize: you’re marrying your sweetheart that day regardless of how much money you have to spend or what you’ll be eating that day at your reception. Try to keep some perspective when planning – and if you can’t, your friends can certainly help with that!