You’ve been waiting for this amazing time in your life for months or maybe even years! You’ve found the man of your dreams, he popped the question, and you’re ready to begin the wedding planning. First, you went out looking for amazing wedding magazines or are looking at the many fabulous wedding blogs to help you begin the wedding planning process…but you quickly became overwhelmed with options! Here are some tips to help you through the beginning stages of your planning and *hopefully* make this process easier for you!
1) Bask in the enjoyment and the glow of this amazing time in your life! Many times brides get so overwhelmed and motivated to start their wedding planning immediately that they forget the real reason that they said “YES” and reflecting on the most important journey you are going to be a part of; starting your life with the man of your dreams!
2) Once you’ve had time to bask in your engagement “glow”, have the, what most think is uncomfortable, wedding budget discussion with all of those involved. Many times what we experience in wedding planning and with our clients is that many people are contributing to the budget; bride’s parents, groom’s parents, and the bride and groom themselves. Knowing up front what your final number is, and everyone has a final number, will help you in all of the planning decisions from this point forward. This will also impact the number of wedding guests that you have on your guest list! ***Remember, head’s mean $$$.*** The greater number of guests that you have, the greater your budget *may* need to be, depending on your priorities/choices. Putting your guest list on paper can be a task in itself, so take time in putting this together. Knowing a round-about number is important in determining the size needed for your venue.
3) What is your time worth? Decide if you have the time to plan a wedding, which let’s face it is a full.time.job., or if you want to rely on the assistance of a wedding planner. Many wedding planners offer a variety of services whether you feel full wedding planning assistance fits you best, partial planning which is a collaboration of plans and the time that is put into them with you and your planner, to month of coordination where you handle the wedding planning reigns on your own and a wedding coordinator executes. They can help you with vendor recommendations that fit your budget best and depending on your services chosen can help you through the selection and contract process to make things easier for you! As you’re in the process of selecting a planner consider a variety of things; is this their full time job? do they have references that you can check, and DO check? what is their reputation in town? what are your expectations of them, do you voice these, and are they able to meet those? Do your homework to make sure that the planner you choose fits you and your fiance’ best, not only for their professional abilities, knowledge and skills, but also how you mesh with them! You’re going to be working side by side for many months!
4) Number 3 and 4 may swap depending on your date. Talk with your **new fiance’** (you’ll love saying that!) and decide on any dates/months that conflict with work/school/family commitments, do other friends have wedding dates set, and do be open minded, if you can be, to consider a couple of different dates. But, narrowing down the times/month that you’re interested in will make the process easier. For Nashville weddings, many brides are booking as early as 12-18 months in advance for the highly coveted wedding venues in Nashville.
5) Once date considerations have been decided upon, begin looking at venue selections and their dates of availability. Your wedding planner can help you through this process by making venue suggestions, helping you weight their pros and cons, and keeping you on track with your budget based on the costs of the venue and what is involved. This will help set THE BIG DATE!
6) From here, sit down with your planner, or just you and your fiance’, and discuss priorities. What is important to you both for your wedding day? This may even coincide with your venue selection process. Do you want to have amazing photography? Is having a cinematographer document your day a must? Are you fashion forward and want to have THE dress of the year? Are your guests a fun crowd and you want to entertain them with THE best band in town or do you like the flexibility of a DJ? Do you want to offer alcohol? What type of meal is important to you to serve, plated or buffet?
Hiring a planner will help you from this point forward, and even in navigating the beginning stages, and make this process much simpler! Remember, we do this full time with many happy brides each year and want to make this process enjoyable and fun, and at the end of the day it is the love between you and your fiance’ that we want to shine through! Don’t you want to enjoy the process, your day, and have this giant smile on your face?!
~ Mary Alice