Happy Wedding Wednesday my loves!
As we mentioned a few weeks ago, we are collaborating with the gorgeous Miss Lluvia Con Sol as she plans her dream wedding. As soon as Melissa got engaged the first thing she asked me was, "What do I do now?!?". I said "Don't panic, there is lots do to, but there are 5 things you must accomplish before anything else!" Wedding planning can be super fun, but at the same time stressful at times. So, to keep her (and you) on track, here are the first 5 things every girl should do, once he puts a ring on it!
Before you make any decisions, you and your fiancé need to be on the same page when it comes to vision, priorities and budget. So, before you start deciding on a date, sit down and discuss these three things.
You might be surprised to know that girls aren't the only ones that think about their wedding, guys have a few things in mind as well. It's important that you discuss what you want and what you don't. Do you want a big or small wedding? Outside or Indoors? DJ or Band? These will be crucial in figuring out every other part of your big day, from the budget to the venue!
Your Non Negotiable's
I have always said a bride has three non negotiable's, three things she MUST have at her wedding. Do you dream of fireworks at the end of the night? Your favorite food truck as a midnight snack? Figure out what does are and make sure you are both ok with them. Keep these in mind when setting up your budget!
Gone are the days when the brides parents were responsible for paying for a wedding. Today's modern couple is known to cover the cost themselves or divided the bill. Make sure to have a family discussion as to who will be covering the expenses and how much can be spent. This is crucial as most fights over wedding planning come down to budget. The last thing you want is to plan a dream wedding that will leave you in debt!
Decide on a Guest List
Your head count will impact everything from the venue to the favors, so figure it out ASAP. With your fiancé, create a list in Excel of everyone who must be there. Subtract that number from the total you envision for your wedding, then split the difference between his parents and yours. Build in a cushion and let them pick whomever they want. If your “must” list is bigger than your goal, you’ll need to cut names or make peace with a bigger wedding (and find the funds). Note: If your parents are footing most of the bill, they may want to invite more guests than you’d like and you may have to let them.
Once you have had the money talk, decided your non negotiable's and your head count, its time to breakdown your budget. Your biggest ticket items will be your venue, food and drinks. After that it's your main vendors: photo/video, music, decor and attire. Every wedding and budget is different, but use these percentages as a starting point to figuring out how much to spend per category according to your budget:
Venue (including food and drinks) 45% | Photo/Video 10% | Flowers and Decor 10% | Attire 9% | Music 6% | Rings 6% | Transportation 4% | Favors 3% | Stationary 3% | Cake 2% | Misc
Hire a Wedding Planner
A planner can save you both time and money. They are experienced in dealing with vendors, negotiating and keeping you on track and in budget. Depending on your budget you might not be able to hire a full service planner, but you might consider a day-of coordinator.
You plan your own wedding but hire her one to two months out to manage vendors, review contracts, create a wedding-day timeline, and be there during the event to help set up and keep things on schedule
Services vary, but this is a day-of coordinator with a few extra perks. They work with you in the final months to offer design consultations, seating chart organization, create your favors and take over vendor communicate.
Full Service Planner
They’re with you from start to finish, helping you draft a budget, lining up venue visits, recommending vendors, and coordinating just about everything. Some also double as designers, handling stationery, tabletop decor, and more.
Pick a Venue
You can't starting figuring out any vendors or even a wedding date for that matter without a venue! If you are planning on having your ceremony at a church start there. Decide on the church and find out their available dates, according to the time of year you want to do the wedding. Once you have that settled start looking into venues for your reception. Do you want a hotel, museum, hacienda? I would suggest narrowing it down to your top three locations. Once you have narrowed it down visit the venues, get a price quote and make sure they have the same dates available as the church. Once you have all your research done, choose the space that best suites your vision and budget! Take your time with this decision, I always tell brides choosing a venue is the most difficult and time consuming part, after that, all the fun begins!
To read all about Melissa's amazing engagement story (trust me you will need a box of kleenex!), head to her blog now.