Ten Wedding Planning Tips Every Couple Should Know
1. Start planning as early as possible.
Don’t let yourself be surprised by how much it takes to plan your wedding and end up disappointed or emotionally fried. Most experts advise to start planning a year or more in advance, and unless you're choosing an elopement package, anything less than 6 months will be less than ideal.
2. Be clear about your budget and what matters most.
First, establish whether or not you’re footing the bill yourself or if your parents or other family members are pitching in. If they are, ask for clarity on how much others are contributing and if that money will be given to you or used to pay for certain things. Once you know your total budget, allocate it according to your priorities. Expect to run 10% over so start by allocating only 90% to begin with. Remember that coordinators and designers often receive a percentage of what you spend, so you’ll need to factor that in if you’re planning on hiring one.
3. Decide who will influence your choices and put the two of you at the top of your list.
Wedding planning can spark long held dreams of your family members and closest friends. Before your wedding turns into someone else’s event, discuss how much the two of you are willing to let go and let others make decisions. If you have a clear vision and want to be in control, kindly tell your parents and siblings you have the planning covered and you’re looking forward to them being honored guests at your wedding.
4. Hire your venue and wedding planner right after your book your photographer.
Yes, we did say to hire your photographer first, and if you want 5 good reasons why check out our blog post on that subject. If you are thinking of doing all the planning yourselves we suggest you get a day-of coordinator to be sure things run smoothly, and if you’re having over 100 guests we suggest you go with full wedding planning. A wedding is so much more than a party and even if you are incredibly organized and stylish, you’ll still need help with dozens of little things you may not have anticipated.
5. Choose a location that’s beautiful without redecorating.
Creating a reception and ceremony atmosphere from a blank slate can be incredibly expensive, so we suggest booking a venue that is already decorated to fit your style. With locations of all kinds from historical mansions and villas to rustic barns and beautiful gardens, there is bound to be a place that makes the perfect background and every item that is already in place will be one less thing you have to purchase.
6. Plan based on your values, family and friendships.
Make a list of the most important things about your day other than the details. Think about each person you love and want to acknowledge and discuss ways to include them in your ceremony. Choose your best man and maid of honor based on love and trust. Plan a toast to your parents and be sure they have special corsages and boutonnieres. Weddings are a wonderful way to bring families together so seat both sides of your families at the same table.
7. Get your save the dates out at least 4 months in advance.
Getting ready for a wedding may require guests to travel and it will definitely include planning their outfits and gifts. Give people plenty of time to prepare and notify employers of needed time off. Invitations go out 4 to 8 weeks before your wedding date.
8. Make your ceremony as important as the celebration.
It is easy to get wrapped up in what to wear and what to serve but the ceremony is what makes your wedding significant. If you want a religious ceremony, you will need to work with the leaders at your house of worship to understand their requirements. Don’t wait on this as they may require pre-wedding counseling or have other stipulations. If you’re planning a more secular ceremony, you’ll want to discuss how to make it meaningful to both of you. Either way, start a list of all the reasons you love your fiancé or fiancée and let it spark ideas for your vows.
9. Prioritize your wedding photography.
You’ve heard it before and it bears repeating. The only items that will be important after your wedding are your pictures, and if done right they will be among your most valuable possessions. Be cautious about hiring an inexperienced or “cheap” photographer who can miss important moments and leave you feeling let down for years to come. We only recommend talented artists with a minimum of 3 years shooting full time and at least 50 weddings under their belts to ensure you get the photos you’ll be proud to share with family and friends.
10. Enjoy yourselves and stay in the moment!
Once your wedding day rolls around, be ready to let the details go and enjoy the moments with the people you love. If you have hired an experienced professional team, they will take care of everything while you laugh, dance and say “I do.” With guests to attend to and tons of big and small transitions throughout the day, your enjoyment will revolve around your ability to stay focused on the moments as they unfold.
Best wishes! May your lives together be long and filled with joy!