Like many brides-to-be, you've probably envisioned your wedding day or at least thought about it at some point in your life. Then it happens. You get engaged! You are likely filled with excitement and are overjoyed with words of congratulations from family and friends. Soon after people get word of the news, they start asking you when you'll be tying the knot. Suddenly, you realize you haven't thought about it. That's when it hits you. You have so much to do. Planning a wedding can seem overwhelming at first but with these tips, you'll soon be on your way to planning the wedding of your dreams!
1. Make the Announcement!
Let your family and friends know. They'll likely be just as excited as you are! Your parents and close family might want to find out from you before seeing the news on social media, but of course, every family dynamic is different. Relax and enjoy the moment for a little while. You may even want to celebrate the special occasion with a night out with friends or a weekend get-away with your new fiancé.
2. Pick a Date
You may already have an idea of when you want to get married, or maybe you have no idea at all. Most engagements last from 6 to 18 months. The first thing you'll want to consider is the season. Depending on where you live or where you plan to get married, season can be a big deciding factor when choosing your wedding date. Consider the weather during different times of the year, especially if any portion of your wedding is going to be outdoors. You'll also want to consider your schedules, as well as the schedules of close family and friends. Like many couples, you'll likely want to leave for your Honeymoon shortly after getting married so consider work and other obligations when choosing your wedding date. If you are on a budget, consider getting married off-season, or on a day other than Saturday. Often times wedding vendors will have reduced rates during these times. Once you've decided on a date, consider having an engagement session so you'll have some great images for your save-the dates. It's a great idea to start looking for a photographer early for this reason.
3. Consider Budget
Now is the time to draft up a wedding budget. Consider your personal monetary contribution, as well as contributions from family members. Once you have an estimate of the total budget, start breaking that number down into different categories. Since the reception takes up the largest portion of a wedding budget, you'll want to create a guest list to get an idea of how many people you plan to invite. That way, you'll be able to choose a venue that can accommodate the number of guests you'll have and you'll have a starting point for your caterer. It's also a good time to choose your wedding party. Below are percentages that the average wedding budget breaks down into:
Reception (Venue fees, catering, rentals, cake): 48%
Photography (Photography coverage, photographic prints, wedding albums, etc.): 12%
Apparel/Beauty (dress, tux rentals, accessories, shoes, jewelry, hair, make-up): 10%
Music (Band, DJ or other entertainment): 8%
Flowers (Bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages, ceremony décor, table centerpieces): 8%
Ceremony (Officiant, marriage license, other fees): 3%
Rings (Wedding bands): 3%
Gifts (Gifts for your wedding party and parents): 3%
Stationary (Save-the-dates, invitations, postage, guestbook, thank you cards): 3%
Transportation (Limo, guest shuttle, etc.): 2%
4. Research, Interview and Book Your Wedding Vendors
It's no surprise that the best wedding professionals book up quickly, often more than a year in advance! The first thing you should do is start visiting wedding venues and locations. Once you have a location secured, you'll want to book your wedding photographer soon after. For tips, visit our blog posts: Tips on How to Choose Your Wedding Photographer and Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer
In conclusion, wedding planning can seems stressful, but it doesn't have to be. Tackle one task at a time and you'll soon have planned the wedding of your dreams!