Getting Started Planning Your Wedding
So, you've said yes. You've picked a date (maybe.) NOW WHAT?
Planning a wedding is such a long process with so many details, it can be difficult to know where to start.
Your first steps are clear. You must set the boundaries for the path you are about to walk. Those boundaries are the parameters you will use to define what you want from your wedding day.
All weddings, from the small and intimate to the large and elaborate, must know three things. To ensure your planning is the easiest possible process, take the time to determine those three things before you get to far into your plans.
What you must know:
1 - Guest Count
No, you don't need addresses or even for certain who will make the 'final cut.' However, you do need a basic idea of the size of your potential reception guest list. You don't want to put too few people in too big of a space for many reasons. Figuring out how to decorate or disguise all that extra space is one reason. More importantly, you do not want to put too many people in too small of a space! Back to back chairs where no one can navigate at your reception, crowded dance floor, no room for any of those little extras you have in mind are all large problems. Most of the time there is a solution for any wedding day problem, but, the size of your venue is not something you can change once the contracts are signed. Take the time to determine your approximate space needs now and you won't have to scramble to find impossible solutions later.
2 - Budget
Yes, it is difficult to know how much to budget for a wedding when you've never had to plan a wedding before. Many a couple finds themselves surprised to find just exactly how much things can cost. However, you do have a basic idea of how much is 'too much.' Start by learning how much the average wedding costs in your area (here in Sedgwick County, $22,000) and the definition of an 'average' wedding (125-150 guests, buffet dinner, DJ not band, some type of limit on the bar.) Then, figure out what you're comfortable spending. Now, average means some weddings happen for more and others happen for less. If you fail to set a basic framework for your budget at the beginning, I assure you that you will find you've spent more than you intended when all is said and done. There are very many real life stories of brides that secured services or vendors because they thought the fee for that particular item was reasonable before they realized what else was still needed. Avoid trying to find an extra $5,000 less than a month before your wedding by setting a realistic budget at the start.
3 - Priorities
Even high budget weddings at some point have to stop and say, "Well...I do love that. But, do I want to spend that much money on it?" If you figure out what is truly important to you before you begin its easy to calculate where you are willing to cut corners and what is simply non-negotiable. I suggest that the Bride and the Groom each set three most important priorities (yes, only three....not every detail can be a top priority unless you truly do have an unlimited budget) and if there are financial contributors like parents have them set three also. Do this separately, then, get together and share. After that, each choice and decision can be weighed against your budget and your vision.
Almost any type of wedding is attainable at almost any budget if you set the above boundaries before you begin.
Like many things in life, getting a solid foundation is the key to a succesful outcome.