Joe Mac Creative Photography

How to plan a wedding…you’d be surprised how little information there is out there.  Welcome back to my “Wedding Wednesday” series!  Ekk I’m about 8 months out til my wedding and time is flying by!  This post is dedicated to all my soon-to-be brides (and grooms).  Something that most people don’t talk about or tell you about or you just learn it on your own.  Hopefully this post helps you through your planning process.  Let’s dive in.

He finally proposes, everyone is congratulating the happy couple.  You go to the bars and the celebrations continue.  People are buying you drinks and everyone is so happy.  Questions start to arise like “When’s the wedding?” or “Why are you waiting so long?”  A week or two later it hits you, “OMG I’m getting married!”  You start to research venues and then the panic sets in…”I have no money!”  Sound familiar?

Money Money Money…Figure out what you can afford

First things first, weddings cost money.  If no one else is footing your bill (which usually they are not) their opinions are not relevant.  Yes you will soon learn this very quickly in your planning process.  I never realized this but more times than not, people have “long engagements” with a date in mind because they want/need time to pay off their venue.   Personally speaking, I couldn’t pull off a 6 month engagement because I don’t have money on hand to just spend like that.  At the same token, maybe you are a bride that has been “expecting” her engagement.  Maybe you already had a good chunk of money set aside if it just so happened to happen.   Whatever your financial situation, your first important convo to have with your soon to be spouse is your budget.  Yes it’s an uncomfortable topic but once it’s out in the open you know where you stand.

Research venues

Once you have that uncomfortable money and budget talk, it’s time to research some venues.  Just throwing it out there, realize that you are going to pay at least $10,000 for your venue.   What type of wedding are you looking to have?  Is it indoor or outdoor?  Are you getting married in a church and having your reception somewhere else after the ceremony?  Will the venue accommodate your wedding size?  Are you having a destination wedding or staying local?  Is open bar included in the price or extra?  These are the next things and questions you should be thinking about in terms of finding your venue.

Go to Bridal Expos

I can’t tell you how helpful Bridal expos are.   All you have to do is google search “Bridal expos near me” and they will pop up.  They are pretty frequent and always happening (at least in the tri state area).  I went to a huge bride expo at the Pennsylvania Convention Center back in January and it was so overwhelming but super helpful.  If you are interested in going to that one it comes back again in January and here is a link to sign up.  At bridal expos, expect to meet and see every vendor possible to do with the wedding industry.  My takeaway from the expo was that I ended up booking the one venue vendor that I saw there.

Download a wedding app

Omg I can’t tell you how helpful these apps are!  There are two big ones and honestly the only ones that I know of.  First is “The Knot” and the other is “WeddingWire”.   I will say that I am a bit biased because I currently use the WeddingWire app and I’m obsessed!  Since I have personal experience I’ll share a little about the WeddingWire app.  It helps you stay on top of things by giving you a checklist.  The checklist tells you what things you should be doing or have done for each month leading up to and after the day of your wedding.  There are also resources for finding venues, wedding attire, hotels and more!

Create a rough draft of your guest list

Yikes, a tough topic and probably the hardest next to figuring out your budget.  Unfortunately at the end of the day the amount of people on your guest list comes back to money.  Once you find out the price per plate for your venue, you will come up with your amount of guests.  Is this person really worth spending $135 on (or more) for their plate?  So you wanted 200 guests?  Well that will probably cost you a good $30,000 or more just for your venue.  Don’t 100% quote me on those prices but it’s pretty close.  Just being honest.  Make your guest list who you and your partner could not have your special day without.   So your cousin or play uncle aren’t on the list and you are feeling bad.  When is the last time y’all spoke?  Have you seen this person in person lately?  Do they even know your soon-to-be spouse?   Your wedding day is about the both of you.  I’m just saying choose your guest list wisely.

Plan ahead

As much as you can help it, stay on top of things. I said this above but I have the WeddingWire app on my phone and it helps me keep track of things.  There is a monthly checklist that tells you what you should have accomplished by each time of the month.  Some things on the checklist may not pertain to your wedding so you can just delete them.  I can’t tell you how satisfying it is to check things off my list.  It’s all one step closer to marrying my favorite person!

Remember, other people’s opinion don’t matter

Not to sound like a jerk but it’s true. There will be so many opinions in your wedding planning process.  I myself am still working on this but those opinions do not matter.  As long as you and your soon-to-be spouse are on the same page with everything then you are good.  I’m also convinced that people’s feelings don’t get hurt in the wedding planning process but that their egos do.   If you don’t invite someone and they feel “slighted” or wanna cut you off, maybe it’s for the best.

Have fun, enjoy the ride, and stay positive

I’m sorry but negative people that say “Wedding planning is stressful” or “weddings are expensive” and all that other stuff just stay away.   Honestly telling a happily, newly engaged and slightly stressed out couple that doesn’t help.   Yes we know weddings are expensive….thank you for reiterating that.   Just come up with your budget plan, try your very best to stick to it and plan ahead.  Many things may and will come your way but you can get through it, I promise.  Plus, you get the biggest reward at the end of all of this planning.   You get to spend your life and build a family with a pretty awesome person.

Thanks for reading!