It is time to choose a date, select a venue, establish your budget and vision for the first day of your married life.
How do you begin planning for your wedding day?
In 36-years of event planning, I have found that putting one foot in front of the other and taking your wedding journey one step at a time will ensure the budget is adhered to and the vision mastered. These first three steps will begin the journey to the perfect wedding.
Step 1 – Choose a Date
- Saturday Only – it is guaranteed that a Saturday date will cost the most and, in some cases, become a budget-buster.
- Friday is just another Saturday – do not be intimidated by guests not attending on a Friday date. Know that the single biggest reason to take a day off is to celebrate a wedding. What guest would turn down free food and drink and a chance to dance with the bride (and groom) on their wedding day?
- Sunday Celebration – seek out ‘value-adds’. Most venues will offer special incentives for Sunday dates, so don’t be afraid to ask. Some have special packages; others offer wedding day enhancements like beverage stations for guest arrival or added desserts. Make it your business to seek value for choosing a Sunday date. FYI – holiday Sunday dates do not usually qualify for significant discounts.
- Weekday Weddings – are not just because it might be more cost-effective. Choose to get married during the quiet, more relaxed atmosphere that a weekday brings. Certainly, the availability of services will be more significant; resort venues will have fewer guests vying for the amenities, or because the day has a personal and emotional connection, and there are many more advantages and reasons to marry mid-week. If none of those mentioned above sway you from choosing the traditional Saturday wedding, then think of the day you met, the feeling that day created and decide to marry in the newness of a Monday, the grace of a Tuesday, the warmth of a Wednesday, or look forward to the future together on a Thursday. Every day is a beautiful day for a wedding, so choose the one that speaks to your hearts!
Step 2 – Estimate the Budget
- Count guests – is the first step to establishing the budget.
- Pick the dress – this is a big part of the budget and the beginning of a wedding theme. We call it the “Drama of the Dress.” While much less than the bride’s, the groom’s attire plays into the calculations. Maids and Men are usually responsible for their ensembles but choose wisely and cost-effectively to ensure standing up for you is an option they can afford.
- Decide on Vendors – Band vs. DJ, Still Photography or Studio Photos and a Wedding#, photo booth or photo ops, Hair/Makeup Salon Stylist, video or cinematography, special effects and lighting all play into the budget. Start with the services most important to you, and add additional items if the budget will allow. Remember to plan for the wedding party and parents’ gifts.
- Ceremony to Reception – budgeting for the wedding should include the officiate, church, cathedral, or venue ceremony site. Food and Beverage du jour choices next. Lodging, transportation, and host gifts may or may not be a necessary inclusion. But, always remember the flowers of the day!
- Décor – speaking of flowers, the décor elements will also play a big role in your wedding day and budget. My best advice is to choose wisely by selecting season-friendly elements and using any features provided by your venue.
Step 3 – Venue Selection
- Research – pick ten and dive deep into their online and consumable information.
- Meet the Venue – arrange a phone conference or virtual visit before an in-person tour. Know the planner and the services provided before falling in love with the venue
- Make the Cut – reduce the choices from 10 venues to 3, schedule tours on days one, two, and three. Touring venues all on the same day will limit one’s scope, jumble the information and make heads spin. Note to self: Be sure the top three on the list have the preferred and backup dates available before scheduling the tour.
- The Chosen One – when all elements align, hearts will fill with joy, and it will say “this is the one place on earth we would like to celebrate our marriage.” Now is the time to reserve a date, submit a deposit, and sign a contract. More to come on contract signing in the future!