A wedding is one of the most memorable times of one’s life. Yet, planning one can be extremely time consuming, stressful, and expensive.
“Planning a wedding can be a full time job,” explains Samantha Potter, wedding consultant and co-owner of Villa Incanta Entertainment. “However, with careful planning, organization, research, and an eye for detail, a dream wedding will become a reality.”
Here are Potter’s 10 tips for planning a perfect wedding:
1. Determine a budget – Financial stress can cause marital stress. Don’t start a life together with unexpected debts and subsequent marital problems. As a couple, determine how expensive of a wedding can be afforded. Talk to family. Are they willing to contribute and if so, how much? Total costs can range from under $1000 to over $30,000 (with the average wedding of 200 guests costing $25,000). Expenses can arise from selecting a venue…booking transportation…hiring a wedding team, entertainment, and officiant…purchasing food, beverages, cake, decorations, flowers, attire, accessories, invitations, gifts, jewelry, beauty services, and marriage license…as well as unexpected costs and tips. Set a budget and stick to it.
2. Consider hiring a wedding planner – Planning a wedding is exciting, yet stressful, time consuming, and expensive. Be realistic. Is the time and capability available to plan and manage ever little detail of a wedding (including for the wedding day)? If there’s any doubt, consider hiring a wedding planner/coordinator. A good one has the experience, knowledge, and industry relationships to create a dream wedding within budget.
3. Paste the dream wedding on paper – While a dream wedding can be a clear vision in the mind, for it to become a reality, it must also be a clear vision for the planner and vendors. Research wedding magazine/sites and cut out what is liked and not liked. Create a scrapbook of ideas to communicate the vision with the wedding team.
4. Select and book location – A wedding venue can take up to a year in advance to book. Select and reserve the location as early as possible, as this may also influence the resulting wedding date.
5. Create the guest list – The larger the guest list, the more expensive the wedding. Therefore, once budget is determined and location is selected, identify the maximum number of guests that can be afforded and permitted at the venue. Once the number is established, create the list. Keep in mind that if parents are contributing to the wedding, they will probably expect to invite guests as well.
6. Announce the date – In the early planning stages, formal invitations are not required to be sent. Instead, send out inexpensive and informal “save the date” cards.
7. Research and select vendors – Begin researching for wedding vendors (i.e. caterers, photographers, videographers, entertainers, florists, etc.) early to have enough time to find vendors of quality and within budget. If working with a wedding planner, they usually have vendors they can recommend and receive special deals with to meet budget requirements.
8. Select wedding party – Select family members and friends to fill the roles of best man, maid of honor, bridesmaid, groomsmen, train bearer, flower girl, and a few to assist during wedding festivities (i.e. usher, mind the guest book, pass out programs, read a poem, etc).
9. Finalize everything – As the magical day quickly approaches, all wedding details must be finalized, including obtaining the marriage license and fitted wedding rings.
10. Enjoy the big day – Too often brides recall their wedding day as a big blur. Step back, relax, and enjoy the day. If a wedding planner/coordinator is hired, they should handle all event details.