You just got engaged! This is the most exciting time in your lives! Everyone is asking you a million questions and it can all seem so overwhelming. When is your wedding? Where is your wedding? Am I invited? What are your wedding colors? And the questions go on and on. It can seem daunting starting to plan your wedding day. This may be the day you’ve been waiting for your whole life, or maybe it’s the day you never dreamed of. Either way, planning a wedding can seem stressful. Below I have put together a list of 5 essential tips to get you started planning your special day! But the most important tip is to remember to try to relax and enjoy this special time. Your wedding day truly will be one of the best days of your lives together as a couple!
1. Determine the time of year you’d like to get married (summer, fall, winter, or spring)
Photo by: Alex W. Photography
Things to consider:
Seasons (cold v. warm – luckily in Southern California, our weather is mostly sunny and warm)
School or work schedule – Is your work slower during certain months? Or are summer months easier for you since school is out during that time?
Being “in wedding-season” v. “off-season” – It may sound silly, but this can affect pricing when considering holding your wedding in the wedding-season v. off-season. If you are on a tight budget, you may want to consider getting married in the off-season (for Southern California, generally November-March is considered off-season. Also, some venues consider a Sunday-Thursday wedding “off-season.”)
Family schedule – Are there family member’s schedules that may affect when you get married? Remember, it’s hard to please everyone when planning a wedding, but if you can make sure the important people can attend, they will be very appreciative of your consideration.
Time change – Remember the sun sets earlier between November-March, so it’s best to have an earlier wedding during those months.
Once you’ve considered the above questions, you can start thinking about the next tip
2. Decide Type of Venue
Photo by: La Vida Creations
Things to consider:
What style of wedding do you envision (rustic/ranch, modern/museum, beach, hotel, golf resort, club, etc)? This will help you with deciding where to begin looking for venues. The style of venue will impact the overall design of your wedding.
Do your prefer ceremony and reception to take place at the same venue? Not all venues offer both ceremony and reception sites, so it’s good to consider this when planning.
Do you prefer your wedding ceremony held at a church? If so, it may be a good idea to consider a venue for your reception somewhere close by to your church. Don’t forget, your guests will need to travel to each location.
Do you prefer your wedding held at a venue with accommodations? If you have a majority of out of town guests, it may be a good idea to hold your wedding at a hotel or resort with accommodations. If you end up a venue without accommodations, then it’s a good idea to think of hotels nearby where your guests would like to stay.
How late do you prefer your wedding to go until? If you envisioned your wedding going until midnight, you’ll want to consider this when looking into venues. Some locations have noise ordinances where you’ll need to be done by 9pm or 10pm. Also, most venues have a set amount of hours included in their packages, so this may affect when your wedding starts and ends.
Once you’ve decided your answers to the above questions, you can start pulling a list of venues that you may be interested in. When considering your venue, some venues have minimums you must meet in order to book that venue, so it’s good to keep that in mind and ask those questions up front. This leads us to the next tip.
3. Put together a budget (even if it’s an estimate)
Determining how much you’d like to spend on your wedding is so important when considering the above two tips (determining venue and time of year to get married). For most people, the budget is not an easy part of planning your wedding, but it will help you tremendously with determining how much you have to spend on the venue, and how much is remaining for each vendor category (Photographer, DJ/Live Musician, Wedding Planner, Florist, Etc). Typically, we suggest spending about 50% of your budget on your venue (which should include venue, catering, beverages, and rentals). The remaining 50% should be divided amongst the other vendors.
You may ask, how do I determine how much to spend on my wedding? This is the time when you have that awkward conversation with your parents, future in-laws, grandparents or anyone else who may be willing to donate. It’s also a good time to have a conversation with each other about how much you’re willing to contribute, if needed. Remember, this is a time where communication is crucial with successful wedding planning. For some couples, their wedding budget is the maximum amount to spend. And for others, it is a guide for where to begin searching for venues and vendors, but realize their day may go over the budget. In most of our packages, we include a customized budget spreadsheet for you to follow and help keep you on track.
4. Stay organized
I cannot overemphasize how important it will be for you to stay organized when planning your wedding. The best way to do this is to build a wedding day binder filled with Standard Sheet Paper Protectors and Big Tab Dividers for each category (venue, photographer, caterer, Music, Florist/Décor, Planner, etc). You can keep your venue and vendor contracts organized in this binder, as well as inspirational photos, email correspondence with vendors, color samples, invitation samples and the list goes on. Bring your binder with you to every wedding meeting so you can keep track of what is included in each contract with your vendors. You’ll also want to start a day planner or meeting organizer or phone calendar to keep track of all of your appointments.
One of our favorite organization tools is an online program called Aisle Planner. All of our clients have access to this tool which keeps everyone organized and on the same page. Once you’re organized, each meeting will go that much smoother. Plus, you’ll really feel like you’re making progress with your wedding planning. Trust me, planning your wedding can begin to feel like a full time job, so keeping organized will help alleviate any stress. In most of our packages, we will create a wedding day binder for you to get your started.
5. Hire a Wedding Planner
Photo by: Tim Otto Photography
I know this seems like an obvious tip (especially from someone like us) but I cannot tell you how important it is to hire someone professional to help with your wedding planning. Even if you don’t have the budget for a full-service planner, I highly recommend to at least bring someone onboard for the final month-of/day-of planning. Please don’t expect your Maid of Honor, friend, aunt, or even your Mom to help set-up and deal with all of your vendors on the day-of your wedding. They will want to be able to enjoy your special day as much as you’ll want to. I promise you when I tell you this, hiring a wedding planner will be one of the best gifts you’ll receive on your wedding day! I’ve had multiple clients of mine tell me those exact words! You’ll be able to enjoy each moment of that day without having to worry about all the little details. At Sweet Blossom Weddings, we have several wedding planning packages to offer to help you with each step of planning your special day.
We’d love to chat with you more about your wedding!
Give us a call or email us to set up your first consultation meeting!