12 wedding planning tips for a smoother wedding day
Congratulations on your engagement! He proposed and you said "Yes"! An exciting time is ahead of you!
When it comes down to wedding planning, it is all about to getting it done right. A lot of couples struggle because most of us have never planned a wedding before. Yes, you need to create a budget and yes, you need to know how much every segment is going to cost you. Also do not forget all the small details which might add up during your planning.
The 12 tips below may seem basic but they will cover almost every aspect of the wedding planning process which will help you plan and calculate wedding costs more efficiently. The article also provides tools and websites to help keep you on track during the process. It gives examples on how to use those tools and offers advice during the planning period. In the end it is your day and you should enjoy it as much as possible!
Tip 1 - Create a Budget
Wedding planning does not happen every day in our lives. It might only happen once in lifetime. A realistic budget is key for a successful and smooth wedding day. It is recommended to start early in planning the wedding budget. The most costly part will be the venue. You also do not want to forget the small details like invitations, favors and so on which may add up during the planning process.
To have at a better idea on how much a wedding will approximately cost in your area, there is a great wedding tool you can use to calculate costs. Just follow the link to find out more about wedding costs. Cost Of Wedding breaks down the price into different categories and you can customize them according to your needs.
First- enter your information on where the wedding is going to take place, how many guests you are going to invite and how far away the wedding is going to be. Select your wedding style and check if you are planning to hire a professional for your wedding like a photographer/videographer.
Second- customize the different items you have to purchase for the wedding day. Items you do not want or that you have already purchased should be de-selected from the list.
Cost of Wedding will give you a ball park number of the wedding cost depending on your criteria and what items you have selected. The idea behind this tool is to help you have a better idea of the wedding costs in total. From here on you can tweak the numbers by including or excluding items and start planning. You can also export the data sheet to Microsoft Excel for further use or print the estimate. While creating the budget for the wedding it is important to be reasonable in order to avoid overstretching your budget during the planning process.
Since the venue will be the most expensive part of your wedding Shane M. from Cost of Wedding suggests:
"You want to keep costs lower, keep the guest list lean."
Once you have an idea how much you can spend on a wedding it is very vital to keep track of the costs. Botanicalpaperworks provides a very useful tracking sheet allowing you to plan and track your spending.
Tip 2 - Create a Checklist
Keep track of the wedding planning progress, set milestones and check them off when they are done. This way you will not lose track of every planning aspect.
Here Comes The Guide offers a free printable checklist with additional lines for personal preferences. It breaks down the wedding in different planning stages and guides you through the wedding process. You can download the full list here.
Colene H. from Here Comes The Guide says:
"My #1 Tip: Get it In Writing! Read all contracts between you and the vendors and your venue carefully, including all fine print and contingencies. If you don’t understand something, ask. In fact, it’s a good idea to ask a trusted friend or relative to review all contracts with you. They’re not as caught up in the emotion of the planning process, and might be able to think a bit more pragmatically than you at this stressed-out time. And if there’s something specific about the place or service that is a “must have,” don’t be afraid to ask the vendor to specify it in your contract. Otherwise, you might be surprised to find your reception was moved to the smaller ballroom or that your wedding bouquet has dahlias instead of peonies!"
Tip 3 - Do not Skimp on wedding photography
Your wedding photos will be the most valuable items you will keep after the wedding day. The chocolate fountain might impress for a moment, the music will fade but the pictures will last a lifetime. After 30 or 40 years, they will still be as valuable as the first day or even more.
Use as much for photography as the budget will allow you. If you have a friend with a camera do not let him/her take your wedding pictures, unless he or she is a professional wedding photographer.
Tip 4 - Do not plan Every Day
Your whole life once engaged should not be around the wedding planning. Just do normal things you would do when you were not engaged. If you need to set up a reminder besides the wedding checklist, Google Calendar offers a good set of tools. Just sign up with Google+. It will grant you access to different apps.
One of them is Google Calendar. Just select a due date or an appointment and create an event. If you edit it, you can set up reminders and also set up a time and date when it will pop-up. Very handy when it gets closer to the wedding day or a bakery appointment.
Set up an appointment date, enter the location, enter the description and add an optional notification.
Tip 5 - Give Edible Favors
Food wedding favors can be a creative way to say thank you to your wedding guests and it can save you money if you plan to bake some cookies or other treats yourself. A lot of bakeries offer customized cookies, cake pops and different sweets as wedding favors. Print a personal tag (Staples or Michaels provides ready to print tag templates) and you will make a personal favor which also tastes good rather than a glass with a laser imprint.
Instructables and Pinterest offer a variety of ideas for wedding favors!
Tip 6 - Do Things You Want to Do
Do not do things you do not want to do and do not get pushed to do them. It is your wedding day, no one elses, and your ideas and only your ideas count. If you want a specific wedding color then you pick it. If you want specific flowers in your bouquet, have them. It is your big day. If someone else is paying for the wedding, ask for their input but let them not influence you and drive your decisions. You should consider their input but the last decision should be yours.
Tip 7 - Book Fast
Once you start planning, set up a wedding date and create a budget. After that you should start looking for venues in your area. Once you found the one you like, call them up and ask if they are available. Since it is early in the planning phase, dates can be shifted. That is why it is important to book in the following order to not get disappointed later.
1. Wedding Venue
2. Wedding Dress
3. Wedding Photography / Videography
Venue, Dress and Wedding Photography/Videography always book way in advance, that is why it is important to check early in the planning process and book them as early as possible.
Tip 8 - Dress Shopping
Take only a maximum of two people which whom you value the most to dress shop with you. Too many opinions on your wedding dress may get you stressed out and push you into the wrong direction. Take your mother and/or maid of honor with you. As with all wedding planning, you should have the last decision. It is very important to know that ordering a wedding dress can take up to 9 months to arrive and up to 6 weeks for alterations. Make sure you shop for a dress early enough so it can get altered and re-fitted in time.
Tip 9 - Try some DIY
Crafts can be fun and a lot of small details which can end up costing a lot can be done by hand. Although it takes a little bit longer to complete you can involve your family and friends for a DIY session. Offer them some drinks and snacks and who knows you may discover the craft person in you.
Print websites often offer you the possibility to create your own template or upload you own pictures and add text to it. Upload your engagement or your wedding invitation pictures and add your text and print them. Crafts stores also offer templates for wedding programs and invitations.
Tip 10 - Take some time away
During the wedding day just take a couple minutes away from the hectic and have some time with your other half. Reflect the whole wedding planning process and rethink everything what lead to this special day. The day will fly by very fast. Just take some time for yourself and enjoy your day!
Tip 11 - Hire a Wedding Planner
If the wedding planning gets too busy and too much for you to handle- a wedding planner can take some stress away from the planning process. The wedding planner communicates with the wedding vendors, making sure they deliver on time and execute your vision. He or she will make sure that your wedding day runs as smooth as possible. Some planners even offer to be present the day of the wedding as well to check if everything runs as you want it to be. It is important to make sure that the wedding planner you hired is also available during your wedding day and not an assistant.
Tip 12 - Have Fun
In the end it is YOUR wedding day. Forget all the planning and stress. Have a drink, enjoy your family and friends and a new chapter in your life!
About Alexander Zacharov
Alex is a Michigan wedding photographer based in Clawson. He specializes in wedding, portrait and event photography. He photographs weddings and events throughout the year. For more updates and information please visit the social media links below. Check in frequently for blog and site updates.