The Five Most Important Things You Need To Know When Planning Your Own Wedding!
1. - Get Organized!
Keep your work and private emails separate from your wedding planning. An email address dedicated just to bridal stuff will keep you more organized throughout the planning process. Try Gmail or Yahoo to create another email account. Only direct wedding vendors, family with great ideas, and any other wedding business to this address. Once you and your fiance are married you can use this email address for other purposes if you wish. Stay on track with your daily responsibilities by using a checklist. You can see an example of one by clicking the button below. Every month enter each task you need to do on a calendar on your phone, computer, etc. to stay on track and avoid feeling overwhelmed.
2. - Choose two wedding dates, your first choice + an alternate date!
The wedding date is very important as it drives a lot of factors. The season you get married in and even down to which day of the week can effect your budget. Weddings held on Saturdays or major holidays typically incur premium charges when booking. The day of the week could also effect the number of guests that attend. Usually there is better attendance when a wedding is held on a weekend vs. a weekday, summer vs. winter, or on a holiday, etc. You should choose an alternate date because the venue you want may be booked up for the entire month. Especially if your wedding is planned on short notice, so it helps to have two dates chosen in separate months.
3. - Adhere to the budget!
Use financial software and wedding checklists to stay on track with your spending. Before you begin planning your wedding decide which is more important quantity or quality? For example, your budget is $60,000 and you plan to invite 300 guests to your event. Then you find out that the cost of the venue of your dreams would be around $50,000 or 90% of your total budget. Now you have to decide to either reduce your your guest list to about a third or find another venue all together! To avoid the shock of having to compromise on the quality of your wedding, stick to realistic numbers and look for quality substitutions during the planning process whenever possible. Other things to consider that will effect your budget are:
- If your wedding has a theme.
- The time of year your wedding is held such as Christmas, New Years Eve or Valentine's Day.
- Any Luxury items that you wish to include.
- If your wedding will be a destination wedding.
- The number of guests that you invite.
4. - Review all vendor contracts BEFORE signing them!
I have spoken to so many brides that thought that they had a specific service included in their package from a vendor. When in fact upon reading the contract in its' entirety, that clearly wasn't the case! After negotiating a price for a vendors' service they should provide you with a contract. The contract should always include what I refer to as CCS:
Before signing a contract read the entire document and verify that these three pieces of information are included. Verify that the price (Cost) that both parties agreed to is clearly stated and that no unnecessary items or services have been added by the vendor that wasn't agreed to. Also, if there is a payment schedule make sure that you understand it before signing the contract. Payment schedules should be clearly outlined and verify if there are any penalties for late payments. Make sure that the Cancellation Policy is clearly stated and you understand the terms. Review with the vendor all Services that are to be rendered including all details of what will be provided and in some cases what's not included! For example, lets' say the vendor is a caterer and your reception venue is an art gallery. It is a must to have this stated in your contract if the caterer will be providing wait staff, dishes, glasses, linens, and a staff for setup and cleanup. It would be an absolute disaster if you just assumed that since it's a catering business that a setup staff would automatically show up and they don't!
5. - Here are a list of things to consider when choosing a wedding venue:
*Find a space that aligns with your vision (rustic, modern, indoor or outdoor, etc).
*View real wedding photos of that space if possible.
*Obtain referrals if possible.
*Find out about contingencies for bad weather.
*Ask if there are full service options and what does that include?
*Find out about catering and vendor restrictions.
*Check and see if you have exclusive use of the property on your wedding date.
*Some venues such as art galleries, museums etc. require you to have insurance so check and see if you need this and how much it costs before booking.
*How will the venue take care of your guests as far as on site lodging, parking and so on?
*Always set up a food tasting when booking a caterer or a venue with food included.
BONUS: For tips about wedding dress shopping read our blog post "What Should Every Woman Do Before She Shops For Her Wedding Dress". In this post, learn about what should be done before the day of your appointment in order to make the most out of your time when you arrive to the dress shop!