Helpful Wedding Planning Tips
So for those of you out there just starting the wedding planning process, I know you are excited and probably a little bit scared. Trust me, even as a seasoned designer, I struggled in those initial steps of my wedding. Of course you are going to feel an immense amount of pressure. It’s something you have dreamed about your whole life and probably a lot more since meeting Mr. Right. While I know it can feel overwhelming, I can see to the other side where it will all works out exactly as it should. Be gracious with yourself in the first few steps until you get your bearing’s. Trying something new will always be a little hard at first, so accept the little learning curve ahead…. and lean on me for a little help!
Know your Numbers!
Starting right where it’s hard I know, but the initial budget and estimated guest count will be very important tools to get you underway. These figures can of course change as you go along, but it will help you to narrow down options based on what you need. You don’t want to fall in love with a venue that is 50% of your budget or visit a quaint church that cannot accommodate the large family your future hubby will have to invite.
Guest Count: For your estimated guest count, you will typically see a 70%-80% rate of return on an invitation. So if you are inviting 100 people, expect about 75 to be in attendance on the big day. If you don’t want more than 150 people to show up, try to keep the list closer to 200 total.
Budget: I think an easy to understand number and a middle range of the market I see is $500 per person. So a wedding for 150 guests might cost around $75,000. Of course, this could be lower or higher, but that should at least help generate the initial conversation with whoever is hosting. I know wedding budgets have certainly grown over the last 25 years since our parents were married, but I think the only role has also changed a little bit as well. People are moving farther from home and living across the country from one another. A wedding becomes an opportunity to unite and gather everyone you love sometimes for the first time. It’s understandable to want to host something that feels beautiful and also enjoyable for everyone.
Ranked Top 3
Marriage is built on compromise and communication, so a great first step for newly engaged couples (and their families) will be to identify the most important aspects to include on the big day. Is it the food? Band? The design? The guest experience? The answers might differ from person to person, but you will find a way to comprise on a few that appeal to all. From there, let that be your guide. Meaning, You can probably spend the money you want on the top 3, but you might have to scale back on the rest.
Condition Your Mindset
I promise you anyone that has any type of budget is making a few concessions, so go ahead and condition yourself to accept that mindset. I say that because I think it’s important to soften the way to talk with yourself about these things. You have thought about this day for a long time and having to let go of the way you thought some things would look is an adjustment. And you know what? That’s perfectly okay! In my eyes, I’d rather be prepared to accept the and then nestle into the bigger picture!
Be informed but not the informant
The amount of minute knowledge a planner/designer has on what is ahead of you is unfathomable at this point. It is years of clients, vendor knowledge, and experiences all wrapped into one. And I promise you, it’s worth every penny. If you are able to hire a planner, find someone that can navigate the terrain for you and with you. Your designer/planner will help you with the venue search, fine tune the budget, select great vendors, and execute the logistics with ease. If you are unable to do so for budgetary reasons, try and give your vendors the confidence they deserve. As important as the day is for you, it’s equally important to them. It is their livelihood, so they will take it seriously.
Let the process organically unfold
The best example I can give here is my own wedding. Our most important aspects were 1. to be able to invite all the people that mattered most 2. have a venue(s) that was significant to us 3. have beautiful design elements. We chose a church we attend here in town for the ceremony with a reception at a restaurant/inn where we had our first date. To accommodate the larger guest count we wanted into the broken up old home, we chose to have the wedding in the afternoon with a small band and chef stations for more room and guest ease. Once those pieces fell into place, I got really excited with the idea of a day time wedding. I chose a cotton lace dress with floral appliqué detail by Rue de Siene, and designed the wedding with a garden party motif full of spring time colors and pattern. If you had asked me how I saw my wedding four years ago I would have told you I wanted a black tie sit down dinner with a long sleeved dress and buttoned up hair. Now, I cannot imagine loving our actual wedding day any more than I already do, because we created it together as a couple.
So let the process unfold naturally from the things that matter most. Be open to it looking a little different than it did when you were 10 years old playing dress up. Approach it with grace and gratitude. Find time to enjoy!