… From a wedding planner who’s been there, seen that… and got the travel mug
If there’s one thing most people know about me, it’s that I’ve been planning weddings and events for a long time. A looonnng time. So, it should come as no surprise that I’ve picked up a few little tricks along the way!
When I sit down with a new couple for our first consultation, one of the first questions I’m always asked is, “what are your top tips for couples just getting started in their planning?” And so, I thought it was only fitting to start my shiny new blog off the way I’d start a consultation – by sharing some of the best tricks up my sleeve to help make your planning – and wedding day – go off without a hitch.
Start by setting your priorities… and planning your budget around them
As excited as I know you are to start shopping for venues and booking your dream team, there’s one thing that has to come first: the budget. I know, I know…budgeting sucks, especially when you’re trying to plan your dream day! And I’m not trying to rain on your parade, but the last thing I want for you is for you to get halfway through your wedding planning and realize that your entire budget is spoken for before you’ve even finished booking your must-haves.
The obvious way to cut down on wedding day costs? Trimming down your guest list, of course! But if you just can’t imagine celebrating without everyone on your list, consider a brunch, cocktail-style, or Sunday afternoon reception to help save some serious dollars. No matter what style of reception you choose, just don’t shy away from investing in the things that really count, such as your photos and video (if you choose to have one.) Remember that these things are all you’ll have left when the wedding day has come and gone, so you want them to be amazing!
Your wedding will be one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make in your life together, but never fear – there are always ways to save. And the number one rule to remember: you don’t want to start the next chapter of your life together in debt! By taking note of what’s most important to you for your wedding day before you start booking anything, not only will you have better control of your finances throughout your planning process, but you’ll also find that all of your wedding planning decisions will be so much easier to make with a solid plan and priority list in mind.
Hire a wedding planner, and hire them early… even if it’s “just” for wedding management or coordination
You’re probably thinking, “you’re a wedding planner, so of course, you’re going to say that!” But hear me out!
I’m not saying to hire me specifically (though if you’re in the market, of course, I’d love to chat!) but even if you’re gung-ho about planning your day yourselves, there will… I repeat, there WILL be times throughout your planning when you will have questions that your friends, family, and even *gasp* Google won’t be able to answer for you. Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone in your back pocket who you can reach out to when you need it?
Hiring a wedding planner, even for the most essential wedding management service (also known as month-of coordination) means that you’ll have someone in your corner who will happily refer you to vetted local pros, review contracts before you sign the dotted line, and help make sure everything is well-in-order long before your wedding day.
And we haven’t even gotten to the actual wedding day yet!
It goes without saying that after all of the hours (and dollars!) that you’ve dedicated to planning the PERFECT day, having someone there to make sure it goes off without a hitch is an absolute must! If and when the unexpected happens, you don’t want yourselves and your loved ones getting down deep in the trenches. Having someone you trust to take the reins – someone who’s taken the time to get to know you and your vision for your day – will make all the difference so you and your loved ones can enjoy every moment of your celebration without having to worry about what’s going on behind the scenes.
You get what you pay for, so always hire quality pros
You wouldn’t expect a steak dinner that you purchased from McDonald’s for $7.99 to be nearly as good as the sirloin you’d have at The Keg for $50.00, would you?
The world of wedding vendors can be an overwhelming one to navigate, especially nowadays when there are just. so. many. options! But if there’s one thing I can tell you, it’s that if you meet a vendor whose price seems too good to be true – it definitely is.
Quality professionals know their worth and charge accordingly. And believe me when I say that these are the people you want to have present on your special day! The money you’ll save by hiring the “cheaper” options will end up costing you just as much (maybe even more!) in stress, time, and money as you get closer and closer to your wedding day.
Remember – even though this may only be your first time planning a wedding, seasoned professionals do this every weekend and know their work inside out and backward. Their passion is to make things as sweet and simple as possible for their clients because they know that your time is valuable and want to make things easy for YOU! Taking the time to seek out quality, professional wedding vendors who you genuinely connect with will make your planning and wedding day so much smoother. You’ll never have to worry about whether they’ll show up on time or deliver what they’ve promised, and more often than not, they’ll go above and beyond to make sure your day is even better than you’ve dreamed of.
Make time in the schedule for some one-on-one time with your new spouse
Your wedding day will be both the longest and the fastest day of your lives, and if I had a dollar for every couple I’d worked with at the beginning of my career who said, “we barely saw each other the entire day!” I’d be a very rich lady!
Take my advice, and don’t just say you’ll take some time to be together – actually build it into your wedding day schedule, and make sure you use it. Don’t be afraid to disappear together and toast to your newly-married status, indulge in the delicious cocktail hour hors d’oeuvres, and share just a few sweet moments of alone time…believe me when I tell you, you’ll be so glad you did!
When I sit down with my couples to build their wedding day schedule, this is one of the things I always build in. No photographers, no wedding party, no family – just the two of them. Even if it’s just fifteen minutes out of the day, it gives you a chance to connect with your new (or soon-to-be) spouse and truly take in what is happening around you.
So, when are some of the best times of the day to carve some time out to be alone with your love?
- After your first look photos, before the ceremony begins (while guests are arriving)
- Right after your ceremony, as guests are filtering out and before you begin family photos
- Upon your arrival to your reception venue, before joining in cocktail hour or beginning your receiving line
And most importantly…
Yes, planning your wedding is important, and yes, it’s a big investment. But (and imagine me yelling this from a mountain high!) your wedding does not define your marriage! Always remember why you’re planning this special day – to celebrate the love story you’ve written with your one and only and to share it with the world! And so, my number one piece of advice to all of you who’ve stuck with me to the very end is this:
Don’t lose sight of what your day is really about
It’s all-too-easy to get swept away in the never-ending sea of Pinspiration and trying to make sure that everything is “perfect.” After all, we keep being reminded that we only get one wedding day, right?! But the thing we need to remember is that above all else is this: your day doesn’t need to be perfect. It just needs to be perfect for the two of you.
If you can look back on your wedding photos five, ten, and fifty years from now and your heart still flutters and you think to yourself… “I wouldn’t have changed a thing,” then, my friend, you did it. You planned your perfect day. And that is something that no Pinterest board will ever tell you.