I get this statement almost every call with a newly engaged bride to be …”I don’t even know where to start”. I have also been here myself so I thought I would give anyone reading my personal advice on where to start!
deep breaths: enjoy the celebration. Don’t be so caught up in the “I have so much to do” mentality. BE IN THE MOMENT. What is meant to be will be, with proper planning and prioritizing you will get everything you want in the end so no need for a fire drill!
guest list. This is something that is crucial in figuring out where to begin on your venue hunt. For example: if you had a guest list of 75 you wouldn't be looking for a ballroom venue that fits 350. When you determine your guest count it allows you to have a more condensed venue hunt. this also helps in creating a realistic budget. your guest list determines EVERYTHING. For every person attending plan on spending X amount for that person (depends on venue chosen, style, etc.).
wedding planner: after you have compiled your guest list is when I would call on a planner. obviously I am partial to myself, but if you are searching for one do your research! set up phone calls, meet with them and make sure it is a good fit. you will spend a large amount of time with this person and if you do not like them from the beginning you will really not like them in the end. This relationship matters and I really feel it should be mutual. I have a super personal relationship with my brides/ families. some I still text on a regular basis. I wouldn’t want it any other way! this is such a personal day + it is SO IMPORTANT to hire who is right for you…
-if you are not hiring a wedding planner (bless you brave soul) but determining the venue is how you “set the date”. I suggest making a list based on what you want in a wedding. if you want a city focused wedding then search for all the downtown venues, gather information on how they work, their average budget per wedding, and any limitations the venue may have. From there go visit them, make sure you love it, and make sure your budget aligns with all of the costs.
-if you have hired a wedding planner: tell them what you want in a venue, tell them your vision, if you have no idea then let them bring you ideas. a bonus in a creative wedding planner is they may know of things either newly on the market + creative “non venue” alternatives that may be a great fit.
big vendor items: so you have the date, the venue, the man/ woman. now its time the set the other important vendors… band / dj , photographer , and florist
-photographer: much like your relationship being important with a planner…your photographer is the other person you must like. you must like their style, their shots, their personality. you spend 10 hours of your wedding day with this person! make sure its a good fit. do your research again! go through their website, their social media and set up a phone call or meeting with them to get to know them a little better.
-band/ dj /florist: this is either something that is important to you or not so much. explain to your planner what you want in a band. They will be able to gather information from there and make sure it fits within your budget.
-florist: this is where instagram is a great tool. sift through photos of things you like, don’t like and tell your planner. if you have found someone who you think is perfect hire them. what you see is what you get from a florist …so my biggest advice here is don’t hire them thinking they will make yours look different than what you see on their platforms. once a florist has a “style” they stick with it!
paper goods: if you are sending out save the dates: this is to you. I think its so important to have a cohesive style in your paper goods. So I start this process early with brides! I like to sit down and pick out every item of your “suite” from the start that way you have a story with your selections.
take a minute: if you have a engagement longer than 6 months I always tell people to push pause after these big ticket items are complete. wedding planning can be incredibly consuming and I think its important to have balance. if you find yourself only talking to friends about your wedding its probably time to pause.
I hope this is helpful to anyone needing it! Please let me know if you want to connect. I also offer initial consultations to help people start wedding planning with no strings attached.