Now that you have made the basic decisions about your wedding and you are both in agreement about the big picture it’s time to make your big announcement. When you receive all those “helpful” suggestions from friends and family be ready to reply, “Thank you very much for the ideas. Actually, we have already decided that we want to….”. You can fill in the blanks with as much or as little information about your plans as you want to share at that time. Having your big picture plan in mind will keep you from becoming confused and overwhelmed by the number and variety of well-meaning suggestions your will receive.
Planning a wedding can seem like a daunting task, but anyone can do it if you take it one step at a time and stay organized. Most of all, have fun with this planning process. Let your imagination flow and you’ll be amazed by the creative ideas that will seem to come from nowhere.
The first question many brides and grooms have is, “There is so much to do; where do we start?!’ Yes, there is a lot to think about and a lot to do. The larger and more elegant the wedding, the more details there are to take care of. Regardless how large or small, how simple or how elegant, wedding planning should always start with the basics: who, what, when, where and how much.
Who – One of your first wedding-planning tasks is to come up with a preliminary guest list. Many decisions you will make about your wedding will depend on the number of guests you expect to attend. This is your special day and you likely want to share it with the world, or at least with all your family members and everyone you know or ever knew. However, the number of guests you decide to invite may well depend largely on your wedding budget. Inviting fewer guests is one of your best cost-savings strategies. Maybe it really isn’t necessary to invite the neighbor who babysat for you when you were 3 years old or your cousin 3 times removed that you haven’t seen since 4th grade. Be prepared that your preliminary guest list will need lots of pruning before you get to the final list.
What – The style you selected for your wedding and reception will have a lot of influence on the specifics of your planning process. The more elegant and formal the wedding, the more details there are to be thought of, arranged for and planned. A simple, informal wedding will not only save many dollars, but will also be much simpler and easier to plan. Your wedding budget will also influence your choices. Do not be discouraged though if your budget is small. With some creativity you will be able to create the style you want even on a small budget.
When – You most likely think you already know the date you will be married. However, you may find it necessary to choose a different date in order to meet other requirements. The most popular wedding sites and reception centers are booked as far as one to two years in advance. The most popular photographers, officiants and other wedding vendors are often booked solid for months. Be sure to do some preliminary research and interviewing before making a final decision on your wedding date.
If you want a particular wedding date for some reason, and the facilities you prefer for the wedding or reception are already booked, consider having an afternoon or even a morning wedding. Popular sites are far more likely to be available during the day than at night when you’re trying to book on short notice.
Where – The number of guests, the style you want for your dream wedding will affect your choices for both wedding ceremony and reception location. The locations need to be reserved as soon as possible as they affect everything else about your planning process. Your next most important task after creating your preliminary guest list is to choose and reserve your wedding and reception locations.
How Much – Most couples have a wedding budget. Some are larger, some are smaller but only a few couples are lucky enough to have unlimited resources. Your wedding budget is something you will have to keep in mind throughout your entire wedding planning process; it will affect all of your planning decisions. Planning your wedding while sticking to your budget does not mean that you will have to give up anything. It simply means that you make wise and thoughtful decisions, not impulsive ones that can lead to budget disaster. One of the first steps for working within your budget is to set general guidelines for how much you will spend for each item.