So… you’re engaged. First of all, CONGRATS to you and your partner! This is such a special time in your relationship, take every little moment to celebrate!
On social media and with my friends in real life, I see the excitement of this new chapter fade into the anxiety and stress of actually planning a wedding. For most people, this is the largest event that they have and will ever plan – you’re not supposed to be a wedding planning expert! This is why most of our couples come to us – to have someone that will keep them on track throughout the planning process. Whether your guest count is 30 or 300, having a professional in your corner will help relieve that overwhelm that starts to sink in!
But WHERE do you start? Below I’ve broken down the first three things you should do when you are planning your wedding. These steps will help lay the foundation for a smooth a wedding planning experience!
Before you start booking any vendors, choose your date, or even pick your bridal party – set your planning budget! Sit down with your parents, your partner, and anyone else who is planning to contribute to your big day and talk numbers. This is such an important first step because it will indicate how much money can be allocated to each vendor. For example, if you are book your dream venue for $7,000 and then set a budget at $20,000, you are eating up a ton of your budget before you are even feeding or entertaining your guests! Be realistic. Choose what vendors are most important to you, and allocate your money accordingly. Don’t forget to factor in expenses such as alterations for that beautiful dress or dapper tux you’ll wear, and any tips you plan on giving to your outstanding vendor team. You can find budget allocation charts on Pinterest, but a local planner would be able to help you figure out what the local average is for vendors such as florists and caterers if you would like to get extra specific! Creating a budget is the best way to start your planning process on the right foot!
Once you know how much you would like to spend on a venue, take some time to research ones that meet all of your needs! Find ones that can hold your ideal guest count, suits your style, and is in your desired location. Tour a handful that stick out to you – when you go over the pros and cons of each, you may end up surprising yourself with your choice! Learn about any extra fees like a room flip or cake cutting charge. In Minnesota, many of the popular venues book over a year in advance. If you are set on a certain aesthetic, I recommend touring those venues and choosing from the dates they are available! Picking a date in advance can vastly limit your venue choices, and potentially could change your guest count or cause you to nix the floral installation of your dreams.
After picking your ideal venue, go over their dates available. Find one that works best for you and your loved ones! For example, if you have a family reunion every year over Labor Day weekend, that might not be the best weekend to pick. If you are planning on having your ceremony at a place of worship, make sure they are available for your date as well. If you are dead set on getting married on a date that is meaningful to you and your partner, that’s totally okay too! Like I mentioned above this may limit your choice of venue, but at the end of the day you’ll be happy you went with your gut.
And just like that, you have your budget, your wedding date, and your location picked out! Bonus tip: hire a wedding planner. I know I’m biased, but I think it’s the best decision you’ll make – besides saying “I Do” of course 🙂